Archibishop protests against the destruction of Cypriot religious cultural heritage by Turkey
Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II has indicted Turkey for the destruction of holy sites in the northern Turkish occupied areas of the island, calling on the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Georgia, Elias, to assist in any way possible and to exert pressure abroad regarding the matter. The Archbishop, who paid an official visit to the Orthodox Church of Georgia, at the invitation of Patriarch Elias, was speaking at a celebratory ceremony on Sunday in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi.
The Archbishop elaborated on the matter by explaining that more than 500 Orthodox churches and monasteries in the occupied areas are in a miserable condition. “Some of these churches and monasteries have been destroyed, others have been transformed into mosques, night clubs, army camps even stables. Our holy icons and other religious items have been sold to Europe and America”, he noted. He said that the Church of Cyprus has been long demanding a permit from the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in order to repair these churches and monasteries but has not yet received a response.
The Archbishop also referred to the Cyprus problem, noting that Turkey illegally invaded Cyprus in 1974, occupying 37% of the country, adding that it wants to take over the occupied areas and the rest of Cyprus. Turkey, he pointed out, is implementing “ethnic cleansing” tactics in Cyprus, by driving away all Orthodox Christians from their homeland and bringing Muslim settlers from Anatolia, changing the demographics of the whole of Cyprus.