Forty religious leaders crosses the last wall that divides an European capital and the President of Cyprus announces the dialogue with the leader of the Turkish part: it is a good news in the first day of the Intenational Meeting Peoples and Religions, promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio and, for the first time, by the Orthodox Archdiocese of Cyprus.
The XXII Meeting gathers more than 200 religious leaders from more than 60 countries. About a quart of century since John Paul II invited in Assisi the leaders of the World Faiths to pray together for the peace.
According to Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, that gesture was not neither the utopia of a mystical pope nor the consolatory dream facing the power of two empires in the cold war.
It was a prophetic gesture: the Pope spoke about the workshop of peace. Opening the Meeting, Andrea Riccardi said«This is our workshop, we work in this workshop since 22 years». Today this workshop produced two important signs for the islands divided in two parts since 1974, when a coup organized by the greek regime of the colonels against the Cyprus government gave to Turkey the occasion to invade the North part of the island.
Today, for the first time, a delegation of 40 leaders belonging to different religions crossed the Lidras Street check-point: it is one of the two passages from the greek zone to the turkish zone. The island is crossed from the last wall of Europe.
The delegation met at the Lidras Street check-point at 12.00 and then went to the turkish part of Nicosia showing the passport to the authorities of the self-proclaimed republic to have the visa to enter.Procedures were carried out fast and very politely.
The multicolor procession went to the bazar immediately beyond the check-point in the North zone of Nicosia and arrived to the Selimiye Mosque, the ancient Catholic Catedral of Saint Sophia, one of the most important examples of gothic art in Cyprus. The Catedral was founded in 1209 from the reigning dynasty of Lusignano, and was transformed in a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of the town in 1570.