Greek Cypriot refugees from the occupied village of Trachoni Kythreas are expected to flock to the village church on Sunday to attend a celebratory Mass and pray for the community’s missing persons as well as those who have died while waiting to return.
President of the local council Pambos Athanasiou said that after many expressed interest to attend Mass, organisers have chartered three buses them, while more are expected to arrive with their own cars.
Apart from the people who originate from Trachoni, refugees from other villages nearby are also expected to attend the event.
The Trachoni Panagia Church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was one of the first projects to be completed by the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, in December 2013, following emergency conservation and restoration works.
According to Athanasiou, Trachoni residents regularly return to attend religious festivities, while maintaining excellent relations with the Turkish Cypriots living in the village. He added that they never faced restrictions in accessing their church, as was the case elsewhere.
He also said that people get emotional every time they return to their home village and expressed the hope to be able to celebrate in freedom next year, following a Cyprus settlement.
The church, he added, has been restored to its former glory while Turkish Cypriots are extremely respectful of the place.
According to Athanasiou, it is estimated that around 50 people from the community perished during the Turkish invasion or are missing.