12th Special Pilgrimage to Hala Sultan Tekke on the Occasion of Ramazan Bayram
On the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr 2018 a special pilgrimage to Hala Sultan Tekke took place on Wednesday, 20 June where 860 faithful of Turkish origin were granted access to attend Bayram prayers at the most well known and revered mosque in Cyprus. The pilgrimage was the 12th since the unprecedented agreement between the religious leaders of Cyprus, namely H.B. Archbishop Chrysostomos II of the Church of Cyprus and the Mufti of Cyprus H.E. Dr Talip Atalay reached in 2014 within the framework of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden (RTCYPP).
Representatives of the religious leaders from the Church of Cyprus, the Armenian Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the Maronite Church of Cyprus and the Latin Patriarchal Vicar were present at Hala Sultan Tekke to bring fraternal greetings on the occasion of Ramazan Bayram.
Witnessing the special pilgrimage was the Ambassador of Sweden, H.E. Mrs. Anna Olsson Vrang under whose auspices the Religious Track is facilitated. The Ambassador of Sweden expressed her congratulations to the Mufti and all Muslims living in Cyprus for this auspicious occasion and welcomed the continued close cooperation and warm relations of all the religious leaders of Cyprus. “Upholding religious freedom together, continuing your support for each other, working together as one shows leadership and courage in a divided country. Your actions are strong witnesses for hope and inspirations for others to follow,“ stated Ambassador Olsson Vrang in greeting the religious leaders of Cyprus.
Welcomed by the Mufti of Cyprus, the Christian religious leaders voiced messages of peace and solidarity to all Muslims living in Cyprus and their commitment for continued cooperation and dialogue. Sensing the pilgrims’ excitement and appreciation for the special pilgrimage, the religious leaders expressed their own happiness for having had the opportunity to contribute to the day’s events and ongoing efforts that strengthen religious freedom across the entire island.
The three annual special pilgrimages for Ramazan Bayram/Eid al-Fitr, Qurban Bayram/Eid al-Adha and Mevlid/Mawlid al-Nabi are facilitated within the framework of the Religious Track with the support of H.B. Archbishop Chrysostomos II and all other Christian religious leaders of Cyprus. They are organised by the Muftiate of Cyprus and coordinated by the Office of RTCTYPP with the full cooperation of the state authorities, UNFICYP and UN Police. The special pilgrimage of today had the approval of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides.
Ramazan Bayram or Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that takes place annually. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, to Prophet Muhammad according to Islamic belief. For 30 days, followers of Islam pray, fast and refrain from bad behaviour and impure thoughts. Fasting and focusing on prayer and charity during Ramadan is meant to purify the body and spirit and bring the faithful closer to God; fasting during the month is also one of the five pillars of Islam.