FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE – 12 /12/ 13
The completion of the restored church of Virgin Mary in the occupied village of Trachoni has been marked with an official ceremony, with crowds of people attending.
Despite bad weather, Greek Cypriot refugees from Trachoni filled the small church, holding candles and icons in their hands, to attend the ceremony. The Church of Virgin Mary is one of the first projects to be completed by the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, with EU funds and the support of the UN Development Program “Partnership for Peace” (UNDP-PFF).
Conservation works, which started in April 2013 and were completed last October, were fully funded by the EU with approximately 130,000 euros.
Works carried out by UNDP-PFF include the consolidation and repairing of Church walls, general cleaning inside and outside the building, repairmen of the bell tower and the women’s section.
The event was attended by Ambassadors and Embassy representatives of EU member states, as well as European Commission and UNDP representatives.
Addressing the event, the Greek Cypriot Head of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage Takis Hadjidemitriou stated that this is an important moment for the Committee’s work.
He added that people attending the ceremony were emotional because the monument’s conservation also allows the memory to be preserved, along with a perspective for the future.
Hadjidemitriou also said that mankind honors these days Nelson Mandela who passed away, adding that the message for Cyprus is that reconciliation and compromise are necessary for the common future of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
From his part, Turkish Cypriot Head of the Technical Committee Ali Tuncay said that after five years of intensive discussions and work, the Committee is reaping the benefits.
Today’s work was not an easy task, Tuncay added, noting that so far about 300 meetings were held, hundreds of on-site visits took place and thousands of hours of work conducted by experts from the advisory board.
UNDP project manager Tiziana Zennaro and Head of the European Commission Team for the implementation of the Aid Program Alessandra Viezzer expressed from their part admiration for the work done, which they said sets an example for peace and reconciliation.
Local officials were also present, stating their excitement for witnessing the event. Mayor of the nearby Turkish-occupied Kythrea Municipality Petros Kareklas expressed his wish for a peaceful future in a truly European country, while the President of the Community Charalambos Athanasiou noted that he was looking forward to attend the first Divine Liturgy in the Church, to be held probably in February.
The Greek Cypriot Coordinator of Technical Committees Andreas Pirishis said finally that civil community seems to be one step ahead, overcoming divisions. — (KYPE).