By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Visiting Cyprus and Greece in early December, Pope Francis will have several meetings with the countries’ Orthodox leaders and with the migrants and refugees their nations host.
While Catholics account for only a small percentage of the Christians in both countries, the pontiff will hold meetings in both Nicosia and Athens with priests, religious and seminarians and will celebrate public Masses in both cities.
The Vatican Nov. 13 released the detailed schedule of the pontiff’s visit Dec. 2-4 to Cyprus and Dec. 4-6 to Greece, including a return visit to migrants and refugees on the island of Lesbos awaiting resettlement.
Here is the Holy Father’s schedule as released by the Vatican. Times listed are local, with Eastern Time in parentheses.
Thursday, Dec. 2 (Rome-Larnaca-Nicosia)
— 11 a.m. (5 a.m.) Departure by plane from Rome’s Fiumicino airport.
— 3 p.m. (8 a.m.) Arrival at Larnaca International Airport. Official welcoming ceremony.
— 4 p.m. (9 a.m.) Meeting with priests, religious, deacons, catechists and members of church groups and movements at the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace in Nicosia. Speech by Pope Francis.
— 5:15 p.m. (10:15 a.m.) Welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Nicosia and private meeting with the president.
— 6 p.m. (11 a.m.) Meeting with government authorities, civic leaders and members of the diplomatic corps in the Ceremonial Hall of the presidential palace. Speech by Pope Francis.
Friday, Dec. 3
8:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m.) Courtesy visit with Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus at the archbishopric in Nicosia.
— 9 a.m. (2 a.m.) Meeting with the Orthodox bishops who are members of the Holy Synod at the Orthodox cathedral in Nicosia. Speech by Pope Francis.
— 10 a.m. (3 a.m.) Mass at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia. by Pope Francis.
— 4 p.m. (9 a.m.) Ecumenical prayer with migrants in the Church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia. Speech by Pope Francis.
Saturday, Dec. 4 (Nicosia-Larnaca-Athens)
— 9:10 a.m. (2:10 a.m.) Farewell Ceremony at Larnaca International Airport and departure for Athens.
— 11:10 a.m. (4:10 a.m.) Arrival at Athens International Airport. Official welcome.
— Noon (5 a.m.) Welcome ceremony at the presidential palace in Athens and private meeting with the president.
— 12:30 p.m. (5:30 a.m.) Meeting with the prime minister at the presidential palace.
— 12:45 p.m. (5:45 a.m.) Meeting with government authorities, civic leaders and the diplomatic corps at the presidential palace. Speech by Pope Francis.
— 4 p.m. (9 a.m.) Courtesy visit to Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and all Greece at the archbishopric in Athens.
— 4:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m.) Meeting of the archbishop’s and the pontiff’s delegations in the Throne Room of the archbishopric. Speech by Pope Francis.
— 5:15 p.m. (10:15 a.m.) Meeting with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and catechists at the Cathedral of St. Dionysius in Athens. Speech by Pope Francis.
— 6:45 p.m. (11:45 a.m.) Private meeting with Jesuits at the apostolic nunciature in Athens.
Sunday, Dec. 5 (Athens-Mytilene-Athens)
— 9:15 a.m. (2:15 a.m.) Departure by plane from Athens to Mytilene on the island of Lesbos.
— 10:10 a.m. (3:10 a.m.) Arrival at Mytilene Airport.
— 10:45 a.m. (3:45 a.m.) Visit with the refugees at the government-run Reception and Identification Center in Mytilene. Speech by Pope Francis. Recitation of the Angelus prayer.
— 12:15 p.m. (5:15 a.m.) Departure by airplane for Athens.
— 1:10 p.m. (6:10 a.m.) Arrival at Athens International Airport.
— 4:45 p.m. (9:45 a.m.) Mass in the Megaron Concert Hall in Athens. Homily by pontiff
— 7 p.m. (noon) Courtesy visit of Archbishop Ieronymos II to the pontiff in the apostolic nunciature in Athens.
Monday, Dec. 6 (Athens-Rome)
— 8:15 a.m. (1:15 a.m.) Visit with the president of the Greek parliament in the Apostolic Nunciature in Athens.
— 9:45 a.m. (2:45 a.m.) Meeting with young people at the Ursuline Sisters’ St. Dionysius School in Maroussi, Athens. Speech by Pope Francis.
— 11:15 a.m. (4:15 a.m.) Farewell ceremony at Athens International Airport and departure for Rome.
— 12:35 p.m. (6:35 a.m.) Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport.