By Evie Andreou
MPs on Friday expressed concerns over possible damage to antiquities during the renovation of the medieval church of Ayios Synesios in Rizokarpaso in the north.
The House works and transport committee invited Transport Minister, Vassiliki Anastasiadou, and Bishop of Karpasia, Christoforos to discuss problems concerning conservation works at the church.
The matter was brought up by Diko MP, Zacharias Koulias, who expressed fears that “unacceptable” actions that took place during the renovation of the monastery of Apostolos Andreas, could occur also in the case of the Ayios Synesios church.
Koulias called for a discussion at the committee after information that some pieces, which are considered antiquities, are to be removed from the church.
The church of Ayios Synesios is a 12th century church that has been declared as a grade two antiquity since 1935 and which needs restoration and immediate maintenance.
“Because during the restoration of the monastery of Apostolos Andreas, which has too been classed as a grade two antiquity, there have been several issues damaging the antiquities, we do not want the same for the church of Ayios Synesios whose maintenance has begun,” Koulias said.
Koulias said that during the renovation of Apostolos Andreas, the church floor was removed and was replaced by “shiny marble slabs.” That was unacceptable, he said.
The MP said that he was informed that the floor of the Ayios Synesios church that has been installed in 1890, “is the just like that at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.”
“The material installed is of historic importance and if it is ripped out and thrown away it will be a major criminal act,” Koulias said.
Should such a thing occur, he said, it would constitute violation of the law on antiquities but also a disrespect to the monument itself.
He expressed his dismay that the bishop, who according to Koulias, is the one “pulling the strings”, failed to present before the committee.
Anastasiadou said after the committee meeting that she has invited the bishop to her office so discuss the matter and reach a solution “to the benefit of the monument and culture.”
The church, the minister said, ought to be restored but that must take place based on guidelines by the Antiquities Department.