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The Vatican, EU, will help save Cyprus’ Turkish occupied heritage
2007-06-14 12:10:50

Nicosia, June 13 – The Secretary of State of the Vatican has assured the head of the Church of Cyprus that his state will support efforts by the Greek Orthodox Church to protect and restore the country’s cultural and religious heritage in the Turkish-occupied part of the island.

His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who met in the Vatican with the primate of the Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II and his entourage, said he would ask Holy See representatives in powerful states that shape the nations’ fate to exert pressure on Turkey and agree to help restore Turkish-occupied Greek Orthodox churches.

The Archbishop briefed His Eminence on the political situation in Cyprus, saying that Turkish troops continue to occupy the island’s northern part and the destruction and pillage of Christian churches continues ruthlessly. Moreover, the European Commission also intends to contribute to the preservation and restoration of Christian Churches and other religious and cultural monuments in occupied Cyprus, according to Cypriot European Parliament Member Yiannakis Matsis.

The Cypriot MEP, accompanied by Chairman of the Committee of Budgets of the European Parliament, Mr. Reimer Boege, met with Mr. Andrew Rasbash, who is the European Commission Head of Unit in charge of the Turkish Cypriot community, within the framework of Mr. Matsis’ and Mr. Boege’s efforts for the protection of the cultural heritage in that area.

“During the meeting, Matsis, Boege and Rasbash had a constructive exchange of views and it was also noted that the Commission has the intention to contribute to the preservation and restoration of Christian churches and other religious and cultural monuments which are found in the occupied part of Cyprus”, press release also said.

Ecclesiastical items, including more than 15,000 icons, have been illegally removed and their location remains unknown.

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