First district on island of Cyprus created

NICOSIA, Cyprus — At a historic, all-island conference held on Sunday, Sept. 30, the Nicosia Cyprus District was formed under the direction of President John Galanos of the Greece Athens Mission.

This is the first district to be formed on the island and is made up of four branches.

Cyprus lies in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, squeezed between Turkey and the coast of Syria. It is mentioned in the Bible as the place to where early saints fled to avoid persecution. The Apostle Paul traveled through Cyprus on his first missionary journey, as did Barnabus and Mark.

More than 70 faithful members and missionaries from the branches gathered for the formation of the district. President Galanos explained that this "was in fact a stake in embryo" and he encouraged all to record in their journals this impressive event and "to look forward to the day when stakes and wards would dot the land."

With the creation of the district came another significant event: calling of priesthood holders living in Cyprus to preside over branches in the district, a first for the island.

Jabon Ting from Nepal was called as the branch president in Nicosia while Nicholas Shaw from England was called as the branch president in Laranca. Tony Kosifou and Gordon Milton continue to serve as branch presidents in Limassol and Paphos respectively.

Called to serve as the Nicosia Cyprus District president was R. Wayne Johnson with William Carlson, first counselor, and Dean Janes as second counselor. Music was provided by an island Relief Society choir bringing together members from many nations including the Philippines, China, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, England, Nepal, Bangladesh and the United States of America. — Elder Jerald Nelson and Sister Zeta Nelson