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Church service in occupied Morphou underway
2005-09-02 14:26:09

Nicosia, Sep 2 (CNA) -- Many Greek Cypriots, most of them from the Turkish occupied town of Morphou, gathered this morning in the church of Ayios Mamas, the patron saint, to participate in a service, the second such service since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

The service is officiated by Morphou Bishop Neofytos, who on Thursday also officiated the evening service, according to church tradition that calls for a service on the eve of a religious feast.

Addressing the congregation, the Bishop called for initiatives to solve the question of Cyprus, saying ''time is working against us. ''He said a lot of people on both sides have a vision for a united Cyprus, where both communities live in peace.

The regime did not allow two buses to get through the check point, which were not on the list handed to the regime for passage to the occupied north, even though passengers on the buses were willing to go through the routine procedure, showing their passports, to cross into the occupied areas.

Morphou mayor Charalambos Pitas was very critical of a decision by the regime not to allow five pilgrims to cross, without giving any reason, and said the decision was unwarranted and was reported to the UN.

Present at the church service was Russia's Ambassador Andrey Nesterenko who said the permission given by the regime to Greek Cypriots to attend a church service was ''an important step for the two communities to build communication bridges.''

There was a strong presence of so-called police officers from the Turkish Cypriot regime, who subjected Greek Cypriot pilgrims to stringent security checks.

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