Roman Catholicism in Cyprus
The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 in Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 and curia
A curia in early Roman times was a subdivision of the people, i.e. more or less a tribe, and with a metonymy it came to mean also the meeting place where the tribe discussed its affairs...

 in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...


There are around 10,000 Catholic faithful in Cyprus, corresponding to just over 1% of the total population. Most Catholic worshippers are either Maronites
Maronite Church
The Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch is an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See of Rome . It traces its heritage back to the community founded by Maron, a 4th-century Syriac monk venerated as a saint. The first Maronite Patriarch, John Maron, was elected in the late 7th...

 under their Archbishop, or Latins, under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is the title possessed by the Latin Rite Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem. The Archdiocese of Jerusalem has jurisdiction for all Latin Rite Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Cyprus...

, with a Patriarchal Vicar General. The Latin Catholic Church of Cyprus has four parishes:

  • The Sisters of St. Bruno and Bethlehem have a small convent at Mesa Chorio served by the parish priest of Paphos. A recently constructed hospice for palliative care, regardless of nationality or religious persuasion extends the works of charity of the Catholics in Cyprus, providing a valuable witness to the Culture of Life as the European Union enters a new phase of growth and development.
  • British Sovereign Base Areas There is also a Catholic presence by chaplains serving British military personnel, staff and dependents in the sovereign base areas of the island that were excluded from the territory taken over by the Republic of Cyprus at its independence from the UK in 1960. Permanent Catholic chapels exists and public masses are celebrated in English.

Sacred sites in Cyprus

Many of the religious sites in Cyprus can be traced to early Byzantine foundations, built before the Christian schism between the Latins and New Rome in the 11th century. Their architecture and iconography reveal a profound influence on ecclesial building traditions still in use in modern times, further examples are listed under Cypriot Orthodox Church. In the Middle Ages, Cyprus was ruled by a Frankish aristocracy, the Lusignan
The Lusignan family originated in Poitou near Lusignan in western France in the early 10th century. By the end of the 11th century, they had risen to become the most prominent petty lords in the region from their castle at Lusignan...

 dynasty. They favored the Gothic style when establishing cathedrals and monasteries. The former Roman Catholic Augustinian Cloister named Bellepais near Kyrenia was transferred to Orthodox Church authorities when the Ottomans conquered Cyprus at the close of the 16th century. Other Gothic churches were converted to mosques, for example in Nicosia
Nicosia from , known locally as Lefkosia , is the capital and largest city in Cyprus, as well as its main business center. Nicosia is the only divided capital in the world, with the southern and the northern portions divided by a Green Line...

 and in Famagusta, now the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque
Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque
The Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque originally known as the Saint Nicolas Cathedral and later as the Ayasofya Mosque of Magusa, is the largest medieval building in Famagusta, North Cyprus. Built between 1298 and c.1400 it was consecrated as a Christian cathedral in 1328...


Religious freedom in Cyprus

The Catholic Near East Welfare Association
Catholic Near East Welfare Association
The Catholic Near East Welfare Association is an agency of the Holy See, founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926 to support the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Its first President was Edmund A. Walsh, S.J. The current President is the Reverend Monsignor...

 (CNEWA) reports that ecumenical collaboration holds signs of promise and hope for religious freedom in the northern Turkish occupied territory of this divided island, for example the 1994 celebration of the Eucharist at St. Andrew monastery on the Karpass peninsula
Karpass Peninsula
The Karpass Peninsula , also known as Karpasia or Kırpaşa is a long, finger-like peninsula that is one of the most prominent geographical features of the island of Cyprus. Its farthest extent is Cape Apostolos Andreas, and its major population centre is the town of Rizokarpaso...

, the first in 20 years. The Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the UN traces the political representation of Catholics in Cyprus to the conciliatory work of the last British Governor
Governor of Cyprus
This is a list of the British High Commissioners and Governors of Cyprus.Hitherto a territory of the Ottoman Empire, a British protectorate under Ottoman suzerainty was established over Cyprus by the Cyprus Convention of 4 June 1878. The United Kingdom declared war on the Ottoman Empire on 5...

, Sir Hugh Foot
Hugh Foot, Baron Caradon
Hugh Mackintosh Foot, Baron Caradon, GCMG KCVO OBE PC was a British colonial administrator and diplomat who oversaw moves to independence in various colonies and was UK representative to the United Nations....

, who brokered a conflict between Roman Catholics and Maronites by coining the term Latins for voter registration purposes during drafting of the Constitution of the newly-independent Republic.
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