Cyprus Mail

Return of religious sites under discussion

Archbishop Chrysostomos and Mufti Dr Talip Atalay

THE return of places of worship under the Church and Evkaf administrations respectively is among the proposals under discussion pending a settlement agreement, sources said.

Daily Politis reported that an agreement was reached between the two sides on places of worship according to which, following a settlement of the Cyprus problem, all religious monuments of the Church in the north are to be restored under its management and vice versa for all Evkaf Muslim monuments in the south.

As regards the return of land and properties owned by churches, monasteries and mosques on each side of the divide, the daily reported that discussions were still underway but no agreement had been reached yet.

Sources told the Cyprus Mail that the whole issue was still under discussion and that no deals had been reached yet.

“This provision, if it was discussed, is based on the principles of human rights. It is not only individuals that have the right to their property but the Church as well, as a legal entity it is entitled to its property in the north,” the Bishop of Neapolis Porfyrios, told the Cyprus Mail .

In addition, he said, endowments of Evkaf and the Church are inalienable and cannot be nullified without the consent of the owner.

He added that the subject might be brought up in the upcoming meeting of the two religious leaders, Archbishop Chrysostomos and Mufti Dr Talip Atalay with the two political leaders, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci scheduled in September.

Last April, as part of a series of confidence building measures, Anastasiades announced that the Greek Cypriot side was to hand over the management of certain Muslim religious sites in the government-controlled areas to Evkaf.

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