Conservation works at the church of Profitis Elias in the occupied village of Filia, Nicosia, were officially completed on Tuesday in a ceremony by the Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage.
The ceremony, attended by Greek Cypriot former residents, the Morphou Bishop and foreign ambassadors, was addressed by technical committee heads Takis Hadjidemetriou and Ali Tuncay.
“We will not let them poison our joy and our message,” Hadjidemetriou told the crowd, in reference to Monday’s attacks against Turkish Cypriots by Greek Cypriot student demonstrators.
Tuncay noted the significant role played by religious and political leaders in building trust on the island.
“We wish and hope that they will lead the condemnation of any actions that may jeopardise relations between the two communities,” he said.
UNDP programme manager Tiziana Zennaro said that a “monument of great importance” on which conservation works are being carried out, is not necessarily the biggest or the most ancient one, but “a monument where old and new memories meet, a place that goes beyond worship to develop new feelings of common belonging and understanding”.
Head of the EU Programme Support Office Michaela Foresti noted that the main achievement is that “it is being proven that Turkish and Greek Cypriots can work together, respect and trust each other and live united in peace”.
The church of Profitis Elias was selected as part of the priority intervention emergency projects of the
Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and later on elevated to a full conservation project.
Emergency interventions were carried out between June and November 2013.
In March 2014 the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage agreed to elevate the project from emergency measures to conservation and works were carried out during the second phase of the project, from March to July 2015.
The project was fully funded by the European Union, at a total cost of over €128,000.