News Local Cyprus leaders to decide fate of collapsed church in buffer zone, Technical...

Cyprus leaders to decide fate of collapsed church in buffer zone, Technical Committee Head tells CNA

The restoration of a recently collapsed church, located within Nicosia’s buffer zone, is a matter for the two leaders to decide, Takis Hadjidemetriou, the Greek Cypriot Head of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage  has told CNA.

Part of St. James church, which was in need for immediate restoration works, collapsed after recent heavy rainfall. The issue was raised during separate meetings, Hadjidemetriou and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Ali Tuncay, had recently with President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, respectively.

Replying to CNA questions on the matter, Hadjidemetriou said that the monument’s restoration was the only issue discussed during his meeting with President Anastasiades, last Wednesday.

The handling of this issue “goes beyond the capabilities of the Technical Committee” since the church is located within the buffer zone and the Turkish army is also involved, said Hadjidemetriou.

“I believe that the issue will be discussed by the leaders” he noted, pointing to a forthcoming meeting between President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, on February 26. “It is a matter for the leaders to handle” he said and expressed hope that they can find a point of convergence.

Asked about the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting, Hadjidemetriou said that President Anastasiades “is always supportive towards the Committee.” He also said that the Committee was promised support, worth half a million euros, that would be used for specific projects.

As for the reasons of St. James’ collapse, the Head of the Technical Committee pointed to the Turkish army, which delayed any restoration works asking for the area’s demining.

He added that the adjacent church of St. George, also within the buffer zone “shares the same fate with St. James” and is in dire need of restoration.

Religious leaders unite their voice

In a joint statement, the religious leaders of Cyprus note that they received the news of the collapse of part of the St. James church with deep pain “for our continuous joint efforts since 2014 did not avail this tragedy.”

Moreover, Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, the Mufti of Cyprus Talip Atalay, Maronite Archbishop Yousef Soueif, Armenian Archbishop Khoren Doghramadjian and Latin Patriarchal Vicar Jerzy Kraj renew their joint plea, aired since 2014 for the urgent need to appropriately reinforce and restore St. James as well as St. George.

According to an announcement by the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process, religious leaders express moreover hope that the upcoming meeting of the two political leaders on 26 February will provide an opportunity for them to discuss and resolve all obstacles to reinforce and restore both these historic monuments.

They ask for the full cooperation of all those involved and pray that the efforts of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, that has agreed to take over the responsibility of these two Byzantine monuments since March 2017, are renewed with urgency with the support of all stakeholders including the rightful owner.

“As leaders of the five main religious communities of Cyprus, we stand together as brothers committed to ensure that all sacred places for our faithful, all places of worship that are part of Cyprus religious and cultural heritage are respected as such, cared for, protected and restored” they conclude.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

(Cyprus News Agency)

Top Stories

127 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday

The Health Ministry announced 127 new COVID-19 cases on 21 October, out of 3,309 laboratory tests, taking confirmed infections to 2, 966. The break-down of...

Non-reversible damage to the sight of five patients operated for cataract

The damage to the sight of five out of the eight patients who were operated for cataract and presented serious complications due to infection...

Committee to prepare list of animals for pet shops; reactions

For the first time in Cyprus a list will be prepared with the animals that can be sold in pet shops, however, the issue...

Medical Association on Cyprus’ epidemiological situation

The Cyprus Medical Association is once again asking the public and businesses to make sure not to violate any protocols and to dutifully respect...

15-year-old missing since 20 October (PHOTO)

Police are looking for 15-year-old Antzel Ioannou, who has been reported missing from her place of residence in Nicosia since yesterday, 20 October. Ioannou is...


Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...


No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...