PAPHOS – In Cyprus there are four different parishes: Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia and Paphos. That of Paphos is the only parish to be under the direct jurisdiction of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the others being held by Franciscan friars. The parish of Paphos is particularly committed to helping people in difficulty through Caritas and a huge project of the parish: the hospice of Archangel Michael.
A recent parish…
In 1974, following the invasion of the North of the island by the Turks, the population of Paphos began to grow and welcomed many families. The real religious activities began later when in 1987, the church Agia Kyriaki was entrusted to the Latin parish by Bishop Chrysostomos, Greek Orthodox Bishop. This church is particularly known because it is built on the remains of the largest pre-Christian basilica of the island. On the archaeological site surrounding the church, there is the pillar of St. Paul where, according to tradition, he was scourged before the Roman governor Sergius Paulus converted to Christianity. This church has become a real place of pilgrimage. Some people come from very far to get married in this church. In 1992, the same bishop agreed to let Latin Catholics worship in the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. Two chapels and other churches also exist in Paphos such as the Dominican Church, the Augustinian Church and the Franciscan Church.
With more than five thousand Greek Cypriots in Paphos, the activities of the parish remain simple. The priest is in charge of all the sacraments. Four groups are dedicated to pastoral animation. The first is an oratory, named Saint John Paul II. The second is a biblical group led by the parish priest, where the participants gather and discuss the readings of the Sunday Mass. The other two groups are prayer groups: the El Shaddai group and the Divine Mercy group.
… which serves people in need
In addition to the Caritas Cyprus, which provides outstanding services on the island and in Paphos by feeding the poor, caring for the migrants and the elderly through medical, physical and educational programs, the parish’s huge project is the hospice of Archangel Michael which was inaugurated three years ago.
Located in Mesa Chorio, the hospice, with a capacity of ten places, offers a free high quality service for people with cancer, serious and incurable diseases, respiratory diseases and end-stage renal diseases. The facility welcomes all people in need regardless of origin, religion or sexual orientation.
Specialized in palliative care, the facility offers maximum comfort and facilities for patients. Spacious and personal, the rooms are equipped with removable electric beds and an oxygen connection. A special room for children has been arranged so that they can feel perfectly at home in a fun environment. It is also the only establishment in Cyprus offering such a device for the youngest. A team of doctors, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists and volunteers continually take turns to ensure the best service when needed.
Palliative care does not only meet medical needs but also emotional, social, practical, psychological and spiritual needs. This is why Christian patients have access to a chapel while those of other religions also have a prayer room dedicated to them. Even families of patients can stay several nights on site if ever they feel the need. Moreover, patients, families, doctors and volunteers can meet in a large room or on a large outdoor terrace. These two places are real places of life where everyone can play board games made available by the institution.
A project that has a cost
After several decades of reflection on this project, the establishment was inaugurated three years ago. More than two million euros have been invested, thanks to the generosity of donors, but the floor below him, is not yet finished. In terms of annual operation, the establishment pays between € 300,000 and € 350,000. For comparison, a room is 110 € / night.
But how to finance these services offered for free? Across the island there are six stores run by volunteers, mostly retired people. These stores are only supplied by goods – clothes, furniture, objects of all kinds – obtained thanks to the donations of the inhabitants of the island. Items in good condition or that can be restored are then offered for sale. The profits are donated to the hospice. In addition to this collaborative operation, the institution has a dozen sponsors who support it. It is also possible to directly support the project by making a donation on the site of the Archangel Michael Hospice.