Cyprus Mail

Paphos Bishopric up in arms over ‘holy garden’ dispute

The Paphos Bishopric wants to build a new church in a municipal garden it claims as its own (Photo CM archives)

THE Paphos Bishopric is seeking around €25m in compensation from the municipality and the state because they reduced the building coefficient of the municipal garden to zero, it emerged on Thursday.

The land had been granted to the municipality decades ago by the Bishopric, which however, retained ownership.

In 1981, to protect the garden, the municipal council decided to lower the building coefficient from 160 per cent to 1 per cent.

Around a decade later, the interior ministry lowered it to zero.

For years, the Bishopric wanted to build a cathedral inside the gardens, something opposed by environmentalists and residents.

According to past reports, the new building would occupy up to 750 square metres and will be 16 metres tall.

It would fit up to 400 worshippers and be used for special services such as March 25.

But to construct the church, it would entail a relaxation of the code and to secure such a decision the Bishopric must apply to the derogations council.

It cannot do so without the agreement of the municipal council, which has so far refused.

There is also disagreement over the value of the land. The municipality says it is worth €22mln while the Bishopric values the land at €25mln.

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