Cyprus Mail

Kykkos monastery withdraws from lawsuit against Greece

Kykkos Monastery

Kykkos monastery withdrew from court a lawsuit against the government of Greece over a land dispute which has seen one legal battle after another play out in Nicosia district court.

Though the move was merely a formality after it was announced last week that the two parties had reached an out of court settlement, it emerged on Friday that the monastery had officially withdrawn the lawsuit.

The case dates back to 1998 when Kykkos monastery gave Greece eight stremma (8,000 square metres) of land. Half of it had been donated so Greece could build an embassy on Prokopiou street in Engomi, Nicosia, while the other half was sold for a sum of 500,000 Cyprus pounds.

A clause in the contract stipulated that if the land was not used for that purpose then it should be returned to Kykkos.

After years of legal wrangling with the monastery believing Greece was trying to sell the land to a company acting on behalf of the Qatari embassy, the court ruled that the land should be transferred back to the monastery.

In return, Kykkos had to pay €2.5 million, which was the value of the land plus interest.

Though the monastery had found a buyer and was willing to give the money to Greece, the country appeared to be stalling and so Kykkos took the case to court all over again so a judge could rule how the transfer would be imposed.

In May, Greece’s Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias attended court as a witness and said the state was willing to go ahead with construction, saying the whole dispute was unnecessary.

In the weeks following Kotzias’ initial statements he didn’t hold back, at one point saying “even the Turks treated us better than this.” The monastery finally reached an agreement with the government of Greece to let them have the land.

Kykkos even offered to help financially with the construction of the new embassy.

Greece’s foreign ministry last week thanked the monastery for the move thanked the bishop for “his contribution with a significant financial amount,” describing the love he had “for the motherland…as an indication of patriotism and care for the interest and prosperity of Hellenism.”

The court’s session scheduled for Friday was cancelled after the monastery withdrew the case where the judge was set to issue a final ruling, however the monastery withdrew the case.


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