By Constantinos Psillides
The foreign ministry on Wednesday protested against the Turkish Cypriot side’s decision not to give approval for services at four different churches in the north.
It was hoped services could take place at the Profitis Elias and Ayia Marina churches in Tymbou, the Ayia Paraskevi church in Ayios Theodoros and the Ayia Marina church in Kythrea.
The ministry said in a written statement that refusing religious services violated basic human rights.
“The foreign affairs ministry would also like to remind everyone concerned that promoting respect for human rights is a chief concern for the European Union. We ask occupying authorities to review its policy of denying people the right to worship,” said the statement.
It added that the Turkish Cypriot side’s approach was not conducive to the ongoing talks to solve the Cyprus problem.
A service did take place yesterday at the monastery of Apostlos Varnavas in Famagusta, which was presided over by the Archimandrite Yiannis, the Abbot of the monastery. Around 200 people attended the service.
In Nicosia Archbishop Chrysostomos presided over a service at the Apostolos Varnavas church.
The Apostle Varnavas is considered the founder and patron saint of the Cypriot Church.
“We shall never forget,” said the Archbishop following the service in Nicosia, adding that Cypriots would always remember the homes of their forefathers.
The Famagusta monastery service came only two months after a historic Good Friday service at the Saint George Eksorinos church in Famagusta, the first one in 57 years. More than 4,000 people attended the service, which was considered as a very positive step towards the unification of the island.