Cyprus Church head tells anti-Pope clerics to hush

Nicosia, Cyprus - The leader of Cyprus' Greek Orthodox Church is warning senior clerics opposed to Pope Benedict's visit here next month to either join in welcoming the pontiff or to keep quiet behind closed doors.

It will be the pope's first visit to the east Mediterranean island. He is coming, at the invitation of Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias, to retrace the steps of the Apostle Paul, who preached here in the 1st century A.D.

Influential Limassol Bishop Athanasios has said the Pope would do better not to come because it would provoke Orthodox Christians who view him as a heretic.

But Archbishop Chrisostomos II admonished the Bishop, saying he and other like-minded clerics "can stay at home" if they don't like the pope's visit.