The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has nominated Fra Bruno Varriano, a friar minor of the Custody of the Holy Land, as auxiliary bishop for the Patriarchal Diocese of Jerusalem of the Latins. At present Fra Bruno is Patriarchal Vicar for Cyprus and will continue in this office. All the confreres of the Custody of the Holy Land congratulate fra Bruno, with the wish that he can continue to serve the local Church of Cyprus with that ”new way of being present” that the Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa had emphasized when he was nominated Vicar.
A continuing mission
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has released a note expressing “gratitude and joy” for the appointment of the new auxiliary bishop. “Strengthened by the fullness of the priestly ministry, the Bishop-elect will continue in his mission as Patriarchal Vicar for the island of Cyprus”. All the faithful are then invited to pray for the new Bishop-elect: “Earthly Jerusalem and heavenly Jerusalem unite in prayer and celebration for this brother of ours elevated to episcopal dignity. On behalf of the entire Latin Patriarchate, I wish the Bishop-elect well and, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary Panaghia Kikotyssa, I invoke upon him the blessing of God Almighty.”
The first time
It is the first time that an auxiliary Bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem will live on the island of Cyprus. even though the island is historically linked to the Holy Land. The Latin Catholic presence on Cyprus has been uninterrupted since 1192. There has been a Latin archbishop in Nicosia, the present-day capital of Cyprus, since 1196, accompanied by three bishops who have their seats in the cities of Famagosta, Limassol and Paphos. The Ottoman invasion in 1571 led to the formal dissolution of the Church, even though faithful and members of the clergy were able to remain on the island.
In 1593, the Franciscans of the Holy Land obtained the right to return to Cyprus from the Sultan of the Sublime Porte. Since 1847, with the restoration of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, a Patriarchal Viucar has been present on Cyprus. The Vicariate comprises four parishes – in Nicosia, Paphos, Limmasol and Larnaca, served by eleven priests and two Catholic schools.
The appointment of an auxiliary Bishop for Cyprus was preceded by another “first time”: the establishment of an official residence for the Patriarchal Vicar, inaugurated on 29 September 2022 in Nicosia, the capital of the island. Thanks to an agreement between the Patriarchate and the Cypriot government, the Vicar today has an official and independent residence, from where he can oversee everything concerning the life of the Catholic Church on Cyprus.
Fra Bruno Varriano was born in São Paulo (Brazil) and was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Campobasso (Italy) on 30 August 1997. After entering the Custody of the Holy Land of the Franciscan Friars Minor, he made his Solemn Profession on 5 October 2003. He was awarded a Ph.D. ion Psychology from the Pontifical Salesian University and a Degree in Spiritual Theology from the Pontifical Antonianum University of Rome. He has held various positions in the Custody of the Holy Land, including Guardian of the Convent of Nazareth, Member of the Discretorium and of the Commission for ongoing formation. In August 2022 he was appointed Vicar of the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins for Cyprus.