Archbishop Chrysostomos has said he has decided to keep the Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios mansion in Nicosia as an ethnography museum but insisted that the building belongs to the archbishop and not the archbishopric.
In statements to the media, the archbishop said that after consulting with his advisors, he would preserve the 18th century Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios mansion as an ethnography museum and turn the Makarios Foundation into a byzantine one.
His latest statements come a few days after he insisted the mansion would be turned into a byzantine museum as well as other sites in the area near the archbishopric in the old part of Nicosia.
According to him, the documents on the transfer of the mansion by Kornesios’ heirs stipulate that the building and everything in it, belong to the archbishop and not the archbishopric. The family wanted the mansion to be used as a museum.
“We have material to make it an ethnography museum but also we have enough material to turn it into a byzantine one,” he told Omega TV.
He added that since he will revamp the old archbishopric as a byzantine museum there was no need to turn the mansion into a byzantine one as well.
“I will make it an ethnography one. We have many exhibits to fill it,” he said.
The archbishop explained that the decision to revamp some sites in the area is part or preparations to mark the 200th anniversary since the start of the Greek revolution of 1821 against Ottoman rule.
The mansion had been leased to the antiquities department since the 1980s but the lease expired some three years ago.
He said that right after 1974 until now, the church was not in a position to manage the site and for that reason it was leasing it to the antiquities department but now it can, so it wants the mansion back.
The decision to turn the mansion into a byzantine museum had stirred widespread opposition.
The government said the mansion of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, who was the official interpreter or dragoman to the Ottoman court between 1779 and 1809, must remain operating as an ethnological museum.
The transport minister said earlier in the week the property is owned half by the state and half by the archbishopric. The archbishop said later however, that the church owned 70 per cent of the property.