|Pope Benedict XVI to Cyprus constitutes a historical event because it is the first time the head of the Roman Catholic Church pays a visit to the island. As is known, the German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pontiff of the Holy Roman Church on 19 April 2005 and chose the name Benedict XVI.|
The visit of the Pope of the Rome to Cyprus takes place within the framework of his pilgrimage, following the steps of Apostle Paul, where Apostle Paul, accompanied by Apostle Barnabas and Marc the Evangelist, founded Christianity in A.D. 45, during his first journey.
There, in Nea Paphos, which was then the capital of Cyprus, tradition has it that Apostle Paul was tied to the pillar of an ancient temple and received "forty lashes minus one". This pillar is preserved and stands outside the church of Ayia Kyriaki in Paphos.
In Nea Paphos, Apostle Paul preached the new religion in front of the Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus and Elymas the sorcerer intervened to prevent the proconsul from embracing the new faith. Then Apostle Paul struck him blind (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13). As a result of this miracle Sergius Paulus converted to Christianity and became the first European Christian on European soil.
Text: Paschalis Eliopoulos, Nicosia
Source: Stamps and Philatelic Services, Cyprus Post