Vatican confirms Pope's Mediterranean tour
The Vatican confirmed earlier this week that Pope John Paul II will travel to Greece, Syria and Malta in May, stressing the trip is one of his pilgrimages to Biblical sites.
Official confirmation had been awaiting approval by the Greek Orthodox church, which came last week. Historic hostility toward the Vatican from the church in Greece had put that stop in doubt.
The Holy Father will fly to Athens on 4 May and leave the following day for Damascus. He will spend three nights in Syria, then fly to Malta for an overnight stay before returning to Rome on 9 May.
He will visit the stops as part of a Biblical pilgrimage following the footsteps of the Apostle Paul.
It will be the first foreign tour since his trip to the Holy Land a year ago. Foreign travel had been put on hold because of commitments at the Vatican during the 2000 Holy Year.