The interior ministry is due to inform attorney-general George Savvides later on Wednesday on its next steps pertaining to the archbishopric’s surprise demolition of four listed buildings in old Nicosia.
Torn down on Monday, the houses on Isokratous Street were located on land owned by the archbishopric, near where the construction of a cathedral is currently underway. They were reportedly damaged by Saturday’s heavy rains and deemed a safety hazard by the archbishopric.
The demolition was met with outrage from all sides, with the public, political parties and mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis himself condemning it as “criminal” and an “assault against culture”.
In letters to Interior Minister Nicos Nouris and Yiorkadjis on Tuesday, the attorney general asked to be informed on any actions taken on the matter.
Meanwhile, after having spoken on Tuesday with Archbishop Chrysostomos, Yiorkadjis said that the archbishopric intends to rebuild the four listed buildings. A set of dates related to reconstruction works was reportedly presented to the archbishopric by the Nicosia planning committee.
The interior ministry has been in touch with the municipality and conservation experts from the Public Works Department to discuss what can be done, a spokesperson told the Cyprus News Agency on Wednesday, and will then the attorney general’s office.
The attorney general will in turn examine the evidence to decide whether charges will be pressed.
Monday’s demolition was illegal, as it was conducted without the appropriate licence required for construction work related to listed structures. The original planning permissions issued to the archbishopric called for the restoration of the buildings, therefore knocking them down was out of the question, a municipality spokesperson told the Cyprus Mail on Monday.
The municipality is considering all available routes, including legal ones, which will be discussed at a municipal council meeting on Thursday.