Greek, Turkish-Cypriots Join to Fix Vandalized Monastery

FILE - In this photo taken on Monday July 18, 2016, a Turkish Cypriot worker works at the Agios Panteleimonas monastery, which is under restoration in Myrtou in the Turkish Cypriot northern part of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Greek-Cypriots joined their Turkish counterparts in the occupied area of Cyprus to help fix up the Monastery of St Panteleimonas which had been vandalized only two years after it had been restored.

Α community clean-up event was organised at the monastery, in Myrtou, where representatives from the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) participated in the Caring for our Cultural Heritage, the Cyprus Mail reported.

In November, 2018, the Turkish-Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi reported that vandals broke the entrance doors and window panes, damaged the fencing, and someone painted non-political graffiti on the walls.

UNDP Cyprus Programme Manager, Tiziana Zennaro told volunteers and participants that the monastery was conserved in 2016 mainly with the support of the European Union and was not only a place for worship but a social and economic center and an important example of the island’s cultural heritage.

“As you know there have been some challenges with the maintenance and despite all effort, there is still a lot to be done,” she said.

“We are fully aware that the real work of protecting and preserving cultural heritage starts after the work has been completed. And our message is: ‘it is time for all of us to work together, to raise awareness for protecting and preserving cultural heritage as a shared responsibility’ and this is why we are all here today.”

The Turkish-Cypriot head of the Technical Committee, Ali Tuncay, said the committee was aware that the responsibility is tremendous and its effort aim at saving monuments throughout the island. “We will not leave this monument alone… we will not let this monument be part of the blame game or to be used for political purposes,” he said.