Pope in Cyprus calls for dialogue between faiths

Pope in Cyprus calls for dialogue between faiths Nicosia: Pope Benedict XVI called on Saturday for dialogue between Christians and people of other faiths on the second day of his landmark visit to Cyprus, an island divided between Christian and Muslim communities.

Benedict, who is on his first trip to an Orthodox country, also stressed the need for closer cooperation among other Christian churches, particularly in the Middle East, where they are in a minority and struggling to survive.

"Much still needs to be done throughout the world," the 83-year-old pontiff said of inter-religious dialogue.

"Only by patient work can mutual trust be built, the burden of history overcome and the political and cultural differences between peoples become a motive to work for deeper understanding," he said.

Benedict was speaking at a primary school near Nicosia of the Maronites, a worldwide church with roots in Lebanon and Syria that is in communion with Rome and has been present in Cyprus for centuries, mostly in what is now the Turkish-held north of the island.

While the pope did not specifically mention Islam, he is known to be keen for closer dialogue with Muslims.

Yesterday, on his flight to Cyprus, he told journalists "we must be able to talk to our Muslim brothers and pursue this dialogue toward a more fruitful co-existence."