RTCYPP News 7.6.21

RTCYPP News 7.6.21

Religious Leaders of Cyprus grateful & happy to meet in person for the time since June 2020, after being separated for so long and thank God for this opportunity.
The meeting is hosted H.E Anders Hagelberg, Ambassador of Sweden at the Swedish Residence, followed by lunch in honour of the RTCYPP. The meeting is chaired by Peter Weiderud, Sweden’s Special Advisor on Religion in Peace & Conflict and organized by the Office of RTCYPP under the auspices of the Swedish Embassy.
“Today is a day of joy, hope and thankfulness,” said Salpy Eskidjian, Executive Director of the Office of RTCYPP. “Once again the religious leaders of Cyprus demonstrated their staunch commitment to stand up together for religious freedom and continue to advocate for the right of the other. The RTCYPP is a witness that nothing can diminish the power of friendship nurtured over ten years of dialogue & cooperation.”

Office of RTCYPP – Greetings for Eid Al-Fitr

Office of RTCYPP - Greetings for Eid Al-Fitr

Office of RTCYPP sends its best wishes for a peaceful Eid Al-Fitr to all who are celebrating Ramazan Bayram after a month of praying, fasting and sharing. We specially think of those who are alone, vulnerable and hurting and recommit ourselves to promote human rights, peace and reconciliation everywhere!
Eid Mubarak ! Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun!

Message of Religious Leaders on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr

Message of Religious Leaders on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr

On the occasion of the feast of Eid Al Fitr, the Christian Leaders of Cyprus wish H.E  Mufti  Talip Atalay as well as all Turkish Cypriots and Muslims living in Cyprus and around the world, a blessed feast.

“May the Grace of Almighty God be with you and grant all your prayers. We are all praying for the sick, the vulnerable and oppressed. Let His Peace rule in our hearts, so that we may seek peace and pursue it.

We extend our sincere greetings and best wishes.  Blessed Eid Al Fitr! Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun ! Eid Mubarak!”

Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus
Khoren, Archbishop of the Armenian Orthodox Church of Cyprus
Chorbishop Selim Sfeir, Patriarchal Administrator of the Maronite Archeparchy of Cyprus
Reverend Father Jerzy Kraj, Latin Patriarchal Vicar of Cyprus

RTCYPP Press Release 27.4.2021

RTCYPP Press Release 27.4.2021

The Religious Leaders of Cyprus that make up the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP), jointly express their best wishes for the meetings starting today in Geneva to end the stalemate of the Cyprus peace process and resume the dialogue on the future of the island and pray for them.

“You are meeting at a holy time for Christians and Muslims; Easter and Ramadan, when we in Churches and Mosques all over our island ask for forgiveness, pray for our neighbor and believe in the possibility for a new life.

We assure you that we are following your deliberations closely and pray that God Almighty will guide you at every step.

After decades of conflict, mistrust, division & insecurity, we pray that God will guide you to walk in the path of wisdom and righteousness.

We call on you to pay special attention to the living religious heritage of our island and improve our possibility to access, use and restore our places of worship and cemeteries that have been separated from their worshipers as a result of the decade long unresolved Cyprus conflict.

Religion should not be divided according to political considerations. Christians and Muslims belong to the whole of the island and the religious heritage of Christian and Muslim monuments, next to each other, is a symbol of many hundred years of co-existence, mutual respect, and shared space.  We all have a responsibility to ensure that this mark of civilization is not ending with our generation.

We urge you to embark on a common journey of increased cooperation, dialogue, and empathy between our communities, for memories to heal, trust replacing fear and for hope to grow.”


International Day for Monuments and Sites – World Heritage Day 2021

On April 18 RTCYPP marks World Heritage Day 2021 and invites young people to join us to promote peace and learn all about the rich diverse religious heritage of Cyprus.
On this occasion, we highlight RTCYPP's first project “Peace in My Land” with youth, held exactly ten years ago in 2011, led by the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos II and Mufti Atalay of Cyprus. Through “Peace in My Land”, the youth demonstrated that they could discuss their complex past together; acknowledge the on-going pain caused by disrespecting the religious heritage of the other; commit to respect each other’s religious heritage and help transform their inherited complex past in order to build a future together united in diversity.
Inspired by the youth of “Peace in My Land” , we call on everyone to learn, appreciate and respect the significance of the rich diverse religious heritage of Cyprus.
The International Day for Monuments and Sites also known as World Heritage Day is an international observance held on 18 April each year around the world with different types of activities. This year’s theme is “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures” The Office of RTCYPP is preparing to launch a new project on Religious Heritage of Cyprus and Youth. Stay Tuned for more.
More information: https://bit.ly/3agUc02

RTCYPP News 07.04.2021

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.

Background Note:

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.

RTCYPP News 09.03.2021

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.”



International Women’s Day 2021

Cypriot Women of Faith Making a Difference in a COVID-19 World

To mark International Women’s Day, the Office of RTCYPP under the auspices of the Embassy of Sweden, will be hosting an online discussion with 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.

RTCYPP News 26.02.2021

RTCYPP News 26.02.2021

The Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP) was one of the three case studies highlighted at a seminar on “Freedom of Religion or Belief in Practise” organised and hosted by the “Faith & Belief Forum” on 25 February 2021.
Peter Weiderud, Sweden’s Special Advisor on Religion in Peace & Conflict and Moderator of the RTCYPP presented the RTCYPP elaborating further how promoting ForB can be an essential tool in peacebuilding. “The dedicated trust of the religious leaders, combined with the long term support from the facilitation team and international recognition are the main reasons for the success of the Religious Track”, said Peter Weiderud in the seminar.
Kishan Manocha, Director of the OSCE Department of Tolerance and Non-Discrimination; Radia Bakkouch, President, Coexiste France and; Zainab Mohammed Ibrahim from the Development Initiative of West Africa also addressed the seminar.
Faith & Belief Forum is, an organisation in the United Kingdom that, for over 20 years has worked to build good relations between people of all faiths and beliefs. They were founded in 1997 as the Three Faiths Forum. Over the years their work expanded to include people of all faiths and beliefs, both religious and non-religious, hence the change in name in 2018, to the Faith & Belief Forum to better reflect this inclusive ethos.