Press Release 18.5.17

Churches of St Jacob and St George will No Longer Fear Collapse

The religious leaders of Cyprus, working together within the framework of the RTCYPP, welcome the good news, that their joint efforts to save the two historic Churches found in the green line have born fruit, as per their request and they will soon be reinforced for protection.

The Churches of St Jacob and St George of 15th and 17th centuries respectively, have been at a high risk to collapse and in need for emergency interventions when the Nicosia Master Plan brought it to the attention of the Office of RTCYPP requesting the support of the religious leaders of Cyprus to highlight the plight of these two ancient monuments and ensure their reinforcement and eventual restoration.

“We thank God for the fact that after so many years of efforts together with the Mufti we are now promised that these two historic Churches will no longer fear collapse”, said H.B. Archbishop Chrysostomos II. “We had hoped that our initial request to carry the responsibility for the studies as well as the reinforcements with a bi-communal team of workers would have been accepted but appreciate the decision for a speedy implementation of the reinforcements.”

“We could not have reached this result without the support of Mr. Akinci and the Turkish forces”, said H.E. Mufti Talip Atalay. “Our faith teaches us to protect and respect all places of worship. Historic monuments such as these ones need to be protected not only because they are the cultural heritage of Cyprus but because they are also sacred monuments for all believers.“

“We are grateful to UNFICYP and the Embassy of Sweden for all its support and look forward to a good cooperation with all those assigned for the oversight of the reinforcements and eventual restoration.” Said H.G. Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis, assistant bishop to the Archbishop on the RTCYPP and President of the Synodical Committee on Monuments and Christian Art, a key person in this process since 2014. “We owe the success of this initiative to the commitment, hard work and persistence of many but specially three women, former UNFICYP Chief of Mission Lisa Buttenheim, former UNFICYP Force Commander Kristin Lund and our facilitator Salpy Eskidjian.”

“We are ever so privileged to have had the opportunity to lead this process since 2014 and witness once again first hand the consequences of honest, principled and good cooperation between the religious leaders of Cyprus working together persistently to save these historic religious monuments from total collapse”, said Salpy Eskidjian, Executive Coordinator, Office of RTCYPP. “Once there is respect and agreement on issues based on the principles of human rights and international law with a genuine commitment to work together for the common good, without ever giving up, there is bound to be success.”

The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage has taken on the project to reinforce the two Churches and they have agreed to do so immediately.

Posted in Press Releases.