Greek Cypriot archbishop makes first visit to Northern Cyprus since 1974

Greek Cypriot archbishop makes first visit to Northern Cyprus since 1974
# 22 March 2010 15:05 (UTC +04:00)
APA reports quoting the Hurriyet that the visit aims to draw attention to the plight of the crumbling monastery and gain support for restoration work, which the Orthodox archbishop wants to begin soon after Easter and without hindrance.

Apostolos Andreas, on the island’s northeastern tip, is one of the most important religious monuments for Greek Cypriot pilgrims.

Chrysostomos had earlier sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan asking for his consent to allow restoration work on the monastery and a number of other dilapidated churches.

Before traveling up the Karpas peninsula, Chrysostomos visited the Apostolos Varnavas monastery, also in northern Cyprus, where he was welcomed by the Turkish Cypriot tourism minister, Ersan Caner.

"I wish to return to the days when were all happy and friends," Chrysostomos told him, according to reporters accompanying him on the trip.

The archbishop plans to visit Turkey on April 16-19, where he is due to meet ErdoÄŸan and hand over a list of churches that have been destroyed or vandalized since 1974.

A total of 520 churches, chapels, monasteries and places of pilgrimage are alleged by Greek Cypriots to have been pillaged and desecrated, and many are in urgent need of repair.
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