Papal Aide: Cyprus Is Key in Evangelization History

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Paphos was an "optimal" place to begin Benedict XVI's visit to Cyprus, said a Vatican spokesman, because Paul and Barnabas arrived here on one of their first evangelization missions. "It is an extremely significant place in the history of evangelization," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, in a Vatican Radio interview on Saturday.

"The Pope also came here truly as a pilgrim to continue the itinerary that he followed in the Holy Land and that he also followed in Malta on the Pauline anniversary," he added.

"So," the priest said, "it is a place of great suggestiveness and density of inspiration for all the themes of evangelization in the world, because the world that Paul evangelized was not a Christian world; it was a pagan world."

Even in the current world, he pointed out, "we feel in many ways the need to return to the root of the spirit of evangelization, for a world that truly does not accept or does not know the Gospel's message well and to which we must still bring it."...

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