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NICOSIA, June 8 (Itar-Tass) — Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes that relations between the two parts of Cyprus must be based on respect for religious traditions of each other and a restored dialogue on the official level and also between ordinary people.
The patriarch said this at Larnaca airport. He arrived in Cyprus on Friday for a four-day visit.
The level of confrontation should be lowered, he noted.
A cultural and spiritual atmosphere should be prepared to restore the unity of Cyprus in accordance with the U.N. principles, the Russian Orthodox Church head said.
The destroyed holy sites in the northern part of Cyprus are not restored, and there is no pastor care for those who reside there, he noted with sadness.
The Russian Orthodox Church always expressed support for Cyprian people who have found themselves in the divided territory, where the two ethnic communities lived peacefully not too long ago, he said.
Head of the Cyprian Orthodox Church Archbishop Chrysostomos emphasized that the Russian patriarch's visit was of great importance for Cyprian people. The Russian Church always supported Cypriots during all the 38 years of the occupation, he said, adding that Russia and Cyprus had centuries-old ties. Every time when Russian pilgrims visit the Holy Land, they also visit Cyprus to worship the Virgin May Icon.
During the four days, Patriarch Kirill will visit seven cities on the island, including residential sites located near the border of the occupied territory. He will visit the holy Kykkos Monastery, where the Virgin Mary Icon is placed. The patriarch will also visit the site of St. Lazarus's service.