Cyprus President to attend Pope's funeral
Nicosia, Apr 4 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos will attend the funeral of the late Pope John Paul II, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides announced here Monday, adding that Papadopoulos has sent his condolences to the Vatican expressing deep sympathy for the death of the Pontiff and paying tribute to the man who fought for world peace and understanding among the peoples and the religions of the world.
''The death of Pope John Paul II is a great loss not only for the Catholic Church but also for the entire humanity,'' President Papadopoulos said, as he signed earlier today the book of condolences at the church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia.
Papadopoulos said that the late Pope promoted through his work and teachings world peace, mutual understanding among the peoples and the religions of the world and love for the poor, respect for human rights and Christian love.
''I respectfully express the condolences of the government and the people of Cyprus as well as my personal condolences,'' he added.
President Papadopoulos has sent a letter of condolences to the prime minister of the Vatican on the death of ''a great leader of Christianity and the head of the state of the Vatican.''
''Cyprus, as the rest of the world, is in shock with sadness. Pope John Paul II takes the place he deserves near God,'' the letter notes, adding that the late Pontiff was ''deeply dedicated to the principles of freedom, democracy and justice and believed in man's dignity.''
''He dedicated his life to the promotion of human rights around the world and to the elimination of poverty. During his papacy and through his efforts we have seen the world change. Indeed the world now has the seal of Pope John Paul II,'' the letter concluded.
In a message to the Vatican, Papadopoulos said that Cyprus participates in the mourning of a leading figure in Christianity and he communicates his condolences to the Vatican and to the members of the Roman Catholic Church as well as to the religious groups in Cyprus who adhere to Catholicism.
The message recalls Papadopoulos' visit last October to the Vatican.
''The late Pope believed in deeds in the principles of freedom, democracy and justice and had dedicated his life to the promotion of human rights and the alleviation of poverty,'' it said, pointing out that the primate of the Roman Catholic Church undertook the responsibility of his predecessors and apologised in May 2001 to the Orthodox Church for mistakes of the past.
President Papadopoulos noted in his message that the late Pope was not deterred by the suicide attempt against him in 1981 nor was he limited in his activities by his illness.
''His loss leaves a gap that would be difficult to fill. His presence left indelible marks in the political and social life of the entire globe,'' the message concludes.