February 17, 2018 – Please pray for Cyprus
Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, after the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Cyprus is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.
Sources alternatively place Cyprus in Europe, or Western Asia and the Middle East.
Cyprus has a subtropical climate with Mediterranean and semi-arid type (in the north-eastern part of the island), very mild winters (on the coast) and warm to hot summers. Snow is possible only in the Troodos Mountains in the central part of island. Rain occurs mainly in winter, with summer being generally dry.
The population of Cyprus is approximately 935,000. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean with an advanced, high-income economy.
Cyprus is at a strategic location in the Middle East. It was ruled by Assyria for a century starting in 708 BC, before a brief spell under Egyptian rule and eventually Persian rule in 545 BC. The island was conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 BC. Following his death and the subsequent division of his empire and wars among his successors, Cyprus became part of the Hellenistic empire of Ptolemaic Egypt. It was during this period that the island was fully Hellenized. In 58 BC Cyprus was acquired by the Roman Republic.
When the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western parts in 395, Cyprus became part of the East Roman, or Byzantine Empire, and would remain so until the Crusades some 800 years later. Under Byzantine rule, the Greek orientation that had been prominent since antiquity developed the strong Hellenistic-Christian character that continues to be a hallmark of the Greek Cypriot community.
Beginning in 649, Cyprus suffered from devastating raids launched by Muslim armies from the Levant, which continued for the next 300 years. Many were quick piratical raids, but others were large-scale attacks in which many Cypriots were slaughtered and great wealth carried off or destroyed.
There are no Byzantine churches which survive from this period; thousands of people were killed, and many cities – such as Salamis – were destroyed and never rebuilt. Byzantine rule was restored in 965, when Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas scored decisive victories on land and sea.
The majority of Greek Cypriots identify as Greek Orthodox, whereas most Turkish Cypriots are adherents of Sunni Islam.
According to the 2001 (rather old census), 94.8% of the population are Eastern Orthodox, 0.9% Armenians and Maronites, 1.5% Roman Catholics, 1.0% Church of England, and 0.6% Muslims. There is also a Jewish community on Cyprus. The remaining 1.3% adheres to other religious denominations or did not state their religion.
The above are from en.wikipedia.org. These statements have not been fact-checked and are only used here to help us gain a better understanding of this nation.
The Bible makes reference to this island in multiple books. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel refer to it in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, it is mentioned eight times in the Book of Acts. It is referenced as a location and a country of some of the early followers of Christ. Most noted is Barnabas, a Levite of the country of Cyprus, whom name was Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement) Acts 4:36.
Barnabas is the individual who introduced the Apostle Paul to the apostles in Jerusalem in the Book of Acts 9:26-28.
“And when Saul (later known as Paul) had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.”
A seeming small act by Barnabas, yet it opened the door for greater ministry of the great Apostle Paul. Barnabas was also a noted follower of Jesus with his own ministry, who joined with Paul in Paul’s early missionary journeys.
Often we fail to realize the link between a nation and some of the great giants of faith in past history. We should give the Lord thanks for giving us insight to how he uses ordinary people to fulfill His great plan upon the earth.
1. Pray for the churches of Cyprus and that their influence will impact the surrounding region with the Gospel.
2. Pray for the local pastors, missionaries working within the nation and national leaders of Cyprus.
3. Pray for God to guide us as we pray for Cyprus and for Him to use our prayers to bind the enemy who attempts to hinder the cause of Christ in every nation.