The restored monastery of Apostolos Andreas in the Karpas peninsula was opened yesterday by Cypriot Greek and Turkish communities. The delivery of the first phase was announced by the Greek Cypriot co-chairman of the Technical Committee Takis Hadjidemetriou through his personal social media page on Facebook.
Hadjidemetriou noted that the committee in turn would deliver the monastery to the people with all the symbolism, including the fact that the project was the result of cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish communities- Christians and Muslims.
“Apostolos Andreas is now a beacon lighting up the path of our people for a better future. It is a beacon that also lights up the way of the leaders for the reunification of our country. The 7th of November is a day of joy and hope,” he said in his post.
In earlier statements to CNA, Hadjidemetriou said pilgrims would get the chance to visit the newly-restored monastery during celebrations for the Apostle`s feast day on November 30. The icons were cleaned and the inside of the church and the pulpit have also been completed.
The restoration, according to UNDP, intends to contribute to the ongoing confidence building process between both communities within the context of cultural heritage preservation and protection. The restoration of the monastery will take place in four phases.
The icons were kept at a temporary hall which was turned into a chapel for pilgrims and is under the watchful eye of Father Zacharias Georgiou, who has been looking after the monastery, since the 1974 Turkish occupation.
The monastery is situated on the north-eastern point of the island. A landmark for the Orthodox Greek Cypriots who would often travel for up to two days to reach this holy site, the monastery was neglected after the 1974 Turkish invasion.
The opening of the newly restored monastery – comes as the island’s two leaders met in Switzerland for talks on a conflict that has not been able to be rectified for decades.