Pope Francis arrived in Cyprus on Thursday (December 2) with a focus on inter-faith dialogue and lending his support to a country on one of the frontlines of Europe's migration crisis.
Francis, who will travel on to Greece on Dec. 4, was to meet with Cyprus's president on Thursday as well as with the Maronite Church. On Friday (December 3) he is scheduled to perform mass at an open-air stadium and later hold an 'ecumenical prayer' with migrants at a Catholic Church in the divided capital.
Young children waving flags of Cyprus and the Vatican welcomed Francis at Larnaca airport, and three young girls in Cypriot traditional dress gave him bouquets of flowers.
Cyprus says it is struggling to cope with an influx of undocumented migrants, either through a dividing line splitting the island, or by boats from the neighbouring Middle East.
Francis, who has made the defence of migrants and refugees a cornerstone of his papacy, has arranged to have 50 migrants relocated to Italy after his trip this week.