This 35th apostolic journey will surely be the last of 2021.
The Holy See has confirmed the dates for Pope Francis’ visit to Cyprus and Greece, a trip he himself announced a few days ago. The Pontiff will visit Cyprus from December 2 to 4, and on December 4, will travel to Greece until December 6. This will be the Pope’s 35th trip out of Italy and his third in 2021.
Pope Francis will make five flights in all for this trip. On December 2, he will leave Rome to reach Larnaca airport on the island of Cyprus, a city located just over 50 km southeast of the capital Nicosia. He will leave on December 4 for Athens, capital of Greece.
On December 5, he will make a trip between Athens and Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, where he will visit a refugee camp, as he did in 2016. Finally, he will return on December 6 to Rome.
Pope Francis will celebrate his 85th birthday on December 17.
Details of the trip should be unveiled soon, the press office said.
After a trip to Iraq last March, then to Budapest (Hungary) and Slovakia in September, this will almost certainly be the Pontiff’s last international trip in 2021.
In Cyprus under the patronage of Saint Barnabas
The logo of the trip to Cyprus, in the yellow and gold colors of the Vatican, represents the map of the island, with Pope Francis and Saint Barnabas, the patron saint of the island and companion of Saint Paul, in the foreground. An olive branch and an ear of wheat tied together symbolize peace and fellowship.
The motto of the trip is “Comforting each other in the faith” (1Th 5, 11), which recalls the meaning of the name of Saint Barnabas, “son of consolation” (cf. Act 4,36).
Welcoming, meeting, and dialogue are salient features of life and history of the island.
In Greece, a ship rocked by crises
The logo of the trip to Greece depicts the Church as a ship in “rough waters,” with the cross of Christ on the mast and the Holy Spirit filling the sails. The general silhouette of the ship evokes the miter of the pontiff, who “comes as a friend of Greece.” The colors combine the white and gold of the Vatican and the blue of the Greek flag.
The motto of the trip comes from a quote from Pope Francis’ speech for the 36th World Youth Day, to be celebrated on November 21: “Let us open ourselves to the surprises of God, who wants to shine his light on our path.” The motto aims to express hope in a country marked by the 2008 financial crisis and the current health crisis.