On Thursday, Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus visited the Buffer Zone (or Green Line) in Nicosia.
He was accompanied by the Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Dimokritos Zervakis and the Head of Religious Enlightenment of the National Guard Protopresbyter Konstantinos Christodoulou.
At the outpost, the organised choir of soldiers sang contemporary hymns and carols to His Beatitude. Particularly moving was the performance of patriotic songs, which reminded all those present of the sad moments of the Turkish invasion.
The Archbishop wished the young soldiers a Merry Christmas and stressed that their service is not a waste of time, but on the contrary, offers them education and experience to cope with the difficulties of society.
“I served as a soldier in a more difficult army, that of monasticism. And the time when I was a probationary monk was very hard and the head of the Monastery even harder. But now I thank them and bless them. Because they taught me how to deal with life’s difficulties. And when I became Archbishop, journalists approached me to ask me how I was enjoying the most difficult day of my life. And I answered them that the experience and the efforts of my youth made me feel mature and this chair here, the Archdiocese, which carries centuries of a strong institution, will strengthen me even more.”
Archbishop Chrysostomos also told the soldiers that the door of the Archdiocese is always open for them. “I have given the order; poor people, patients and students will not be stopped by anyone to see me and ask for my help. I will always give to them, whatever our financial situation is.”
The “Green Line” separates Cyprus into two regions, the Republic of Cyprus and illegally occupied northern Cyprus. It is also called “Buffer zone”.
It was marked out in 1964 as a temporary measure to restore peace after a decade of inter-communal fighting in the fledgling independent nation of Cyprus. However, the “Green Line” has instead stood in place ever since.