A special service that had been scheduled to take place at Ayios Georgios Exorinos Church in occupied Famagusta today has been postponed.
The move came as a row about such services rumbles on.
The church seems to be unhappy about the attention such a show of faith across the divide is having as it fears Turkey is winning a propaganda war.
Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos told reporters after Good Friday’s historic service at Ayios Georgios Exorinos that the international coverage it received was positive for Greek Cypriots as it highlighted the ongoing occupation.
His comments came after Archbishop Chrysostomos II expressed concern that wide media interest in the service, including overseas transmission, had falsely portrayed Turkey as being democratic.
He said all churches in the occupied areas should be accessible and that Greek Cypriots maintained mosques in the government-controlled areas while church property in the north had been looted and vandalised.
Today’s service, feast day of Saint George, would have been performed by Constantia-Famagusta Bishop Vassilios. Organisers said it was called off because of anticipated low numbers as it is a working day. Another service is set to be held on May 25.
Good Friday’s liturgy was the first held at the place of worship for almost six decades. It was organised by Galanos and Turkish Cypriot “mayor” of Famagusta Oktay Kayalp and supported by the Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative.
Ayios Georgios was born in Lydda, Roman Palestine and was a soldier in the Roman army and was later venerated as a Christian martyr.
His father was Gerontius, a Greek Christian from Cappadocia, and an official in the Roman army. His mother, Polychronia was a local Greek Christian of Palestine.
He is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox churches. Ayios Georgios was immortalised in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.