RTCYPP News 12.11.19

Name Day celebration of Archbishop Chrysostomos II


Office of the RTCYPP accompanies the Latin, Armenian Orthodox, Maronite and Greek Evangelical Religious leaders and representatives to evening vespers at the Cathedral of St John at the Archbishopric of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, followed by a gathering to celebrate the feast of St Chrysostomos, Nameday of Archbishop Chrysostomos II.

RTCYPP News 11.11.19

17th Special Pilgrimage to Hala Sultan Tekke

On 11 November 2019, 415 worshippers attended a special pilgrimage to Hala Sultan Tekke on the occasion of Mevlit Kandili (Mawlid al-Nabi), coordinated and overseen by the Office of RTCYPP.

This is one of the three pilgrimages to Hala Sultan Tekke, organised by the Muftiate of Cyprus, taking place annually for Turkish nationals living on the island who otherwise are not able to visit and pray at the most significant mosque in Cyprus.

The three special pilgrimages are part of an unprecedented agreement reached between Archbishop Chrysostomos II and Mufti Talip Atalay in 2014 within the framework of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden (RTCYPP) and supported by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus.

The crossings are facilitated by the UN and Cyprus Police forces in cooperation with UNFICYP Civil Affairs.

RTCYPP News 26.10.19

2019 RTCYPP/ODIHR-OSCE Youth Seminar on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Twenty amazing Cypriot Youth and students from five faith communities of Cyprus come together for the first humanrights seminar for youth on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in Cyprus.
The one and a half day training seminar was facilitated by two expert trainers from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (ODIHR-OSCE), organized and hosted by the Office for the Religious Track Of the Cyprus Peace Process( RTCYPP).

The seminar took place at the Home for Cooperation and the Ledra Palace Hotel In the UN controlled buffer zone in Nicosia from 25-26 October 2019. It followed a day and a half of training with clerical and lay representatives of religious leaders of Cyprus and faith communities as well as a special session with women on women’s rights and FoRB.

Sincere appreciation and gratitude to the governments of Sweden and Italy for their financial support as well as the Home for Cooperation and UNFICYP for providing the space for the meetings and partnership.
Stay tuned for more information and exciting updates from the youth participants soon.



RTCYPP News 25.10.19

Roundtable Discussion on Women and Freedom of Religion or Belief


Human worth, dignity & equality are inborn traits, nobody can take them away! Rich discussion on women’s right to equality and the right to freedom of religion or belief in Cyprus hosted by Office of RTCYPP together with OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) women in Cyprus.

RTCYPP News 24.10.19

2019 RTCYPP/ODIHR-OSCE Seminar on Freedom of Religion or Belief

On UN Day 2019, Office of RTCYPP and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) welcomed representatives of Religious Leaders and eight faith communities of Cyprus to the second training seminar on advancing Freedom of Religion or Belief emphasizing the right of all men and women to freely practice their religion or belief which is key to achieving lasting peace and security.

RTCYPP News 16.10.19

Conference on peace-building hosted by Archbishop of the Maronite Church of Cyprus H.E. Youssef Soueif on the occasion of the visit of Archbishop of Milan H.E. Mario Enrico Delpini

The peacebuilding efforts of the Religious Leaders Of Cyprus within the framework of RTCYPP under the Auspices of the Embassy Of Sweden and their joint activities to advance religious freedom in Cyprus were highlighted at a conference on peace-building at the Maronite Church Hall in Nicosia this afternoon.

Among the speakers were the representative of HB Archbishop Chrysostomos II of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus , the Executive Director of the Office of RTCYPP, representatives of the Chief of UN peacekeeping force ( UNFICYP) and UN Good Offices in Cyprus including the co-chairs of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. Insights and experiences on peacekeeping, peace building and reconciliation in Cyprus were shared.

The conference was organized and hosted by HE Archbishop Soueif of the Maronite Church for a delegation of the Archdiocese of Milan, led by the Archbishop of Milan, H.E. Mario Enrico Delpini. The conference was followed by a church service ( Holy Mass) at the Maronite Cathedral in Nicosia and a reception at the Betmoroun Maronite Archbishopric. Honored guests included the Ambassador of Italy, representatives of President of the Republic of Cyprus H.E Mr Anastasiades & Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr Christodoulides.

H.E. Archbishop Delpini and the delegation from Milan are on a pilgrimage in Cyprus to follow the path of the Apostle Paul.

RTCYPP News 15.10.19

Presentation of RTCYPP for Swedish UN veterans

The Office of RTCYPP were happy to present the efforts and achievements of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process to the association “Fredsbaskrarna” (“the Peace Berets”); UN veterans who have served in the Swedish contingents of UNFICYP from 1964 to 1987.

Sweden was one of the first troop-contributing countries to UNFICYP.

The Swedish UN force on Cyprus was Sweden’s largest ever peace-keeping mission. It lasted from 1964 to 1993.
In all, Sweden provided 25 616 military personnel and 2 365 police officials.

The Swedish Contingent that took over responsibility for Famagusta district in April 1974– had a strength of 240 military personnel and police officers.

One of many new duties of the Swedish peacekeepers in the wake of the in the aftermath of the war in 1974 was to feed and take care of animals at farms, left behind by their fleeing Greek Cypriot owners.

They also set up and manned new observation posts in Famagusta district and acted as mediators between the opposing forces. The Swedish UN Contingent was also charged with the task of evacuating all Scandinavian tourists from the island. There were over 800 here at the time.

In the mission, 18 Swedes died. It is also worth noting that Sweden broke new ground by employing women in the UN mission for the first time.

The meeting took place at the Home for Cooperation in the Nicosia Buffer Zone.

RTCYPP News 11.10.19

First visits of H.E. Ambassador Hagelberg to Religious Leaders of Cyprus

H.E. Ambassador Anders Hagelberg of Sweden extended his respects to the Religious Leaders of Cyprus, namely H.B Archbishop Chrysostomos II, H.E Mufti Talip Atalay, H.E. Archbishop Youssef Soueif, H.E. Archbishop Khoren Doghramadjian, and Fr. Jerzy Kraj (joined by Apostolic Nuncio to Cyprus H.E. Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli), during his first formal meeting with them. Ambassador Hagelberg was warmly welcomed by all the religious leaders of Cyprus who reiterated their commitment to continue their dialogue and joint efforts for human rights, peace and reconciliation within the framework of the RTCYPP.

RTCYPP News 8.9.19

First Holy Liturgy in Church of Panagia of Lysi since 1974
8 Sep 2019

H.E Bishop Porfyrios Of Neapolis officiated the holy liturgy celebrating the birth of Theotokos, mother of Jesus Christ, at the Church of Panagia of Lysi for the first time ever since 1974.

The Church was packed with a thousand worshippers of all ages. H.E. Bishop Porfyrios expressed the appreciation of the Church Of Cyprus and prayed for all who intervened for today’s church service, in particular, “the Office For the RTCYPP for its continuous support and efforts to advance religious freedom in Cyprus”.

The Church of Panagia of Lysi was built in 1888 by Master builder Yiakoumis from the village of Kontea with heavy influences from the medieval Gothic Cathedrals of St Sophia in Nicosia and St Nicholas in Famagusta.

“It was very emotional to witness one of the priests, a native of Lysi and a valued member of the RTCYPP, assisting the liturgy., said Salpy Eskidjian of the Office for the RTCYPP. Father Savvas was only 12 when he last prayed at this church. After decades he had the opportunity to be part of this historic day in the life of his local community and church as their priest.

The worshippers and clerics expressed their gratitude to all who made this day possible in particular to those who supported and approved their application to pray at their Church on this special occasion. Office for the RTCYPP in its turn extended its appreciation to all who cooperated, facilitated and respected the right to worship.

(Photo credits: Office of Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis and Mr Pavlos Nacouzi)