NICOSIA - The Church of Cyprus and the United Nations Development Programme have signed an agreement to restore the historic monastery of Apostolos Andreas, in the Turkish occupied Karpas peninsula.
The monastery will be restored according to a study prepared by the University of Patra, in Greece. The work will take place in three phases and today’s agreement provides for the first phase at an estimated cost of €2.5m.
In statements to the press, the Representative of the bicommunal technical committee for cultural heritage, Takis Hadjidemetriou, described today’s agreement as “an historic day for saving the monastery of Apostle Andreas”.
He said that the monastery is both a monument and a symbol of the island’s tradition and culture, adding that the technical committee has worked hard to fulfil its objectives and today feels that all its efforts have paid off.
He stressed that the signing of the agreement also symbolizes the cooperation and team spirit of all those forces that wish to keep working for the conservation of the cultural heritage throughout Cyprus.
Karpas Bishop Christoforos said the agreement indicates that cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots on the island is possible, expressing the hope that soon “we will be able to continue our joint work and cooperation without UN mediation.”
He said the Church is extremely pleased and enthusiastic with the outcome, noting that all the efforts have finally borne fruit.
Next week the final provisions of the agreement are going to be signed and once this is done, a call for tenders will be announced.
Bishop Christoforos could not say with certainty when the works will start, explaining that there are some procedures that need to be followed.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest round of UN-backed talks began in 2008 with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.
Following the agreement to resume talks, the representatives of the leaders of the island’s two communities agreed to set up a number of working groups and technical committees on various issues of concern.
Apostolos Andreas Monastery needs urgent support and restoration because the keystone to the monastery’s main arch has shifted, endangering the main part of the structure. The restoration of the Monastery will be done according to a study prepared by the University of Patra.
Recent press reports suggest that the Turkish Cypriot regime has begun restoration work at the monastery.