RTCYPP News 07.04.2021
Religious Leaders of Cyprus are deeply saddened to hear the news that the grounds of the Armenian Monastery of St Magar were used for a live techno party on March 20th 2021, uploaded on YouTube on 7 April 2021.
The Religious Leaders of Cyprus condemn this unfortunate act and any misuse, disrespect and desecration of places of worship and cemeteries in Cyprus, irrespective of intention, religion, dogma & denomination.
The Religious Leaders reiterate their request that all places of worship and cemeteries, in use or not, are protected against vandalism, misuse and desecration. Disrespecting places of worship and cemeteries creates pain, nurtures mistrust and becomes an obstacle to peaceful coexistence.
Sourp Magar Monastery is located in Halefka in the Pentadaktylos mountain range in Cyprus. This live techno party was organised by an event-planning group, that apparently organises and broadcasts electronic music events at entertainment venues, including historical and cultural locations. The event was recorded and uploaded on YouTube on 7 April 2021.
Sourp Magar is an Armenian Monastery is an 11th century Monastery founded by the Coptic Orthodox Church in memory of Saint Makarios the hermit of Alexandria. The Monastery was transferred to the Armenian Community in Cyprus during the 15th century and has belonged to and has been intrinsically linked to the community ever since.
St Magar Monastery has been left uncared for since 1974 and is in dire need of immediate protection, renovations and full restoration. It is the most important place of worship and pilgrimage for the Armenian community of Cyprus and the only Armenian Monastery in Cyprus.
International Women’s Day 2021
Cypriot Women of Faith Making a Difference in a COVID 19 world
8 March 2021
On 8 March 2021, the Office of RTCYPP under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden, hosted a webinar to mark International Women’s Day, titled “Cypriot Women of Faith Making a Difference in a COVID 19 world”.
The webinar followed an online discussion between the moderator, Mrs. Salpy Eskidjian – Executive Director of the Office of RTCYPP- and four women of faith in leadership in order to highlight & celebrate their efforts in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The four panelists were: Mrs Thekla Kallika, whose journey as a mother of 2 children with multiple disabilities gave birth to St Loucas Community, a non-profit, non–governmental organization aimed at setting up the first state-of-the-art Multifunctional Community Centre in Cyprus offering health care, accommodation, support and development to adults and children with disabilities; Mrs. Gosia Chrysanthou, who is currently the Case Supervisor overseeing all field operations dedicated to assisting the vulnerable at Caritas Cyprus; Mrs. Zehra Balman, who organized her local community to provide food for international students and needy families struggling to make ends meet due to lack of work because of COVID 19 lockdowns; and Ms Antigoni Michael, a young archaeologist who specialized in public engagement for cultural heritage and peace development and the first Cypriot Youth Ambassador recently selected by Europa Nostra as a European Heritage Youth Ambassador.
It was an honor to welcome an audience comprised of a total of 50 participants, from religious institutions and faith-based organizations from Cyprus and abroad, diplomatic missions, intergovernmental and international organizations such as the OSCE, UN and a number of participants from NGOs and academia from different countries including Ambassadors, Religious Leaders as well as the first woman Force Commander in UN history Major General Kristin Lund of Norway, who urged women to join forces to make a difference in Cyprus as faith is and will be an important motivation for the peace process.
The panelists provided inspiring personal accounts of their experiences setting up and working for these initiatives aiming to raise awareness on dealing with a number of social issues and promoting social cohesion, transitional justice and acceptance in a world gravelly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The webinar was an initiative following the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, set by UN Women, which was “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”
Cypriot Women of Faith Making a Difference in a COVID-19 World
RTCYPP News 26.02.2021
RTCYPP News 23.02.2021
Please take a look at the video made by the OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions for Human Rights (ODIHR) launched to deepen understanding of the Freedom or Religion or Belief (FoRB).
The Office of Democratic Institutions for Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE and the Office of RTCYPP have been working closely together since 2017 when ODIHR partners listened to a presentation by the Director of the Office of RTCYPP in the Rabat-plus10 Conference in Morocco.
The cooperation with OSCE-ODIHR will continue in 2021, especially since Sweden has taken over chairmanship of the OSCE as of January 2021. We are deeply honoured to be working together with OSCE ODIHR partners and to be under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden in Cyprus!
Video Credits @OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions for Human Rights (ODIHR)
RTCYPP News 11.02.21
We strongly condemn the misuse of the Church of Archangelos Michael this weekend by the village’s Municipality, EVQAF Foundation and EVQAF Goodness Volunteers organization without the consent of the respective religious leadership.
While the cause and intention of the bazaar is a positive one, the organizers ignored that they were misusing a place of worship of another and disrespecting a faith community.
On 6 December 2020, a bazaar of homemade products took place in the Archangelos Michael Church in the village of Lefkoniko, known as Geçitkale in Turkish.
The Church was renovated in 2017 by the UNDP-PFF on behalf of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage with EU funds.
The event at Archangelos Michael is the first of a series of bazaars organized by the EVQAF Foundation and Volunteers Association, announced by the former on December 1 on their Facebook page, stating they will be taking place on the first Saturday of every month organized with the consent of the EVQAF General Director Dr Ibrahim Benter. We ask the custodian and organizers to stop using places of worship without the consent and approval of the religious leadership for such activities.
RTCYPP News 4.12.20
RTCYPP facilitation team meets with Turkish Cypriot Community Leader
Executive Director of the Office of RTCYPP Ms Salpy Eskidjian and Sweden’s Special Advisor on Religion, Peace & Conflict , Mr Peter Weiderud joined Ambassador of Sweden H.E. Mr Anders Hagelberg in a meeting this morning with the new Turkish Cypriot community leader, H.E Mr Ersin Tatar.
“We very much appreciated the opportunity to meet with the new Turkish Cypriot community leader and grateful for the friendly and frank conversation”, said the Director of the Office of RTCYPP. “We look forward to working together with His Excellency, the religious leadership of the island as well as other representatives of faith communities to ensure the full respect of religious freedom or belief in the island”.