TCs, GCs join forces to pro­tect Monastery of St Pan­telei­monas

Cyprus Today - - SOUTH CYPRUS -

GREEK Cypriot and Turk­ish Cypriot vol­un­teers on Thurs­day joined forces to pro­tect and pre­serve the Monastery of St Pan­telei­monas in Çam­lı­bel, which was van­dalised only two years af­ter it was re­stored.

In Novem­ber Turk­ish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs Postasi re­ported that van­dals broke the en­trance doors and win­dow panes of the monastery, dam­aged its fenc­ing and painted non-po­lit­i­cal graf­fiti on the walls.

The com­mu­nity clean-up event was or­gan­ised within the frame­work of the “Car­ing for our Cul­tural Her­itage” ini­tia­tive and at­tended by the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee on Cul­tural Her­itage, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP).

UNDP Cyprus pro­gramme man­ager, Tiziana Zen­naro told the par­tic­i­pants that the monastery was proudly con­served in 2016 mainly with the sup­port of the EU.

“As you know there have been some chal­lenges with the main­te­nance and de­spite all ef­fort, there is still a lot to be done,” she said.

“We are fully aware that the real work of pro­tect­ing and pre­serv­ing cul­tural her­itage starts af­ter the work has been com­pleted. And our mes­sage is: ‘it is time for all of us to work to­gether, to raise aware­ness for pro­tect­ing and pre­serv­ing cul­tural her­itage as a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity’ and this is why we are all here to­day.”

Am­bra di Nuzzo, pro­gramme man­ager at the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion re­minded that bi­com­mu­nal teams took part in all phases of the con­ser­va­tion work while hun­dreds of Cypri­ots from both com­mu­ni­ties vis­ited the site.

“Now the site is try­ing once again to pass a mes­sage. We all share the re­spon­si­bil­ity for con­serv­ing our cul­tural her­itage in our en­vi­ron­ment. The EC can spend more mil­lions of eu­ros, the UNDP can sup­port for many years the work of the Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee but ul­ti­mately it is up to the whole com­mu­nity, to keep our cul­tural her­itage beau­ti­ful as it is”.

The Turk­ish Cypriot head of the Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee, Ali Tun­cay, said the com­mit­tee was aware that the re­spon­si­bil­ity is tremen­dous and its ef­forts aim at sav­ing mon­u­ments through­out the is­land.

“We will not leave this mon­u­ment alone. We will not let this mon­u­ment be part of the blame game or to be used for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses,” he said.

“Ayios Pan­telei­monas Monastery is our com­mon her­itage. and we are ded­i­cated to pro­tect and main­tain it.”

Mr Tun­cay thanked the vil­lagers, Greek Cypri­ots and Turk­ish Cypri­ots who came to help clean up the monastery and who pledged to pro­tect it.

Speak­ing on be­half of the Greek Cypriot rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Glaf­cos Con­stan­tinides praised the sig­nif­i­cance of Ayios Pan­telei­monas “as it is val­ued by all Cypri­ots and be­yond”.

“It is now time for Cypri­ots, all those who share this ap­pre­ci­a­tion for this mon­u­ment, to make sure it is pro­tected and re­spected,” Mr Con­stan­tinides said.

Vol­un­teers clean­ing the Monastery of St Pan­telei­monas on Thurs­day

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