RTCYPP News 6.3.18

Office of RTCYPP facilitated and organised the first visit of H.E. Archbishop Khoren to the Armenian Church of Sourp Asdvadzadzin, welcomed by with the Mufti of Cyprus, H.E. Dr Talip Atalay.
H.E Ambassador Olsson Vrang of Sweden joined the religious leaders to the Armenian Church, School and Prelature in the old neighbourhood of Nicosia, traditionally known as the Armenian Quarter, where for decades Armenian Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots lived together until the early 1960’s.
Accompanying the delegation were Imam Shakir Alemdar of Hala Sultan Tekke, Father Momig Habeshian of Nicosia and Salpy Eskidjian, Executive Coordinator of the RTCYPP.
The Lusignan King of Cyprus Henry II built the Church in 1308-1310 where an older 12th century Benedictine abbey once stood. It came under the Armenian Church in 1504. In 1570 the Church and surrounding buildings of the former abbey was used to store salt and was given back to the Armenians together with the surrounding area with a firman (edict) issued in 1571 by Sultan Selim II. Another firman from 1614 also confirmed the Armenian ownership of the Church. Over time the Church underwent various changes. It was restored in 1688, 1884 and 1904. The Armenian Church Prelature, the Melikian-Ouzounian Elementary School and Kindergarten were located on the grounds of the Church and used as such until the 1963 inter-communal conflict in Cyprus.
The Church and surrounding buildings remained non-operational and suffered great deterioration until 2007 when the UNDP-ACT began working on its preservation and restoration with the financial support of USAID. The renovation was completed in 2013 and won the Europa Nostra Award for Cultural Heritage in 2015.
With the facilitation and assistance of the Office of RTCYPP the church was opened for the first time in May 2014 with the full support of the Mufti of Cyprus and the Board and General Director of Evqaf and attended by all the religious leaders of Cyprus in person or through their representatives, including the Head of UNFICYP and UN SRSG and members of the diplomatic corps.
Since the church was re-opened, liturgies were held two times in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

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