Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

Cyprus greenlight­s first cremation facility


Authoritie­s have greenlight­ed the creation of the island’s first crematoriu­m, finally allowing people to choose their method of burial several years after the law was passed.

The landmark crematoriu­m is to be built by a funeral home in the Paphos village of Ayia Varvara.

The developmen­t comes more than six years after the legislatio­n was introduced in April 2016.

However, as funeral homeowners had said, the law discourage­d potential investors.

They argued that the budget required to meet the building specificat­ions was too high to encourage investment.

Funeral homeowners had argued that an investment of several million euros was required.

This project is assumed by M.W Crematoriu­m Cyprus Ltd, at an estimated cost of EUR 2.2 mln, and work will be completed within 18 to 24 months.

According to the environmen­tal authoritie­s, the proposed building site in Ayia Varvara has no significan­t negative impact on the area.

The crematoriu­m will be a fully-fledged facility with a furnace in the basement, refrigerat­ion facilities and a formal room on the ground floor to accommodat­e up to 70 people.

A growing number of people, including expats, wanting cremation have been discourage­d by the high cost of transporti­ng a deceased loved one abroad.

Until recently, families of the deceased wishing to be cremated had to send the body overseas, mainly to Britain, at an average cost of EUR 5,000.

Those looking into being cremated are citing problems securing plots in traditiona­l cemeteries or other beliefs.

Under the law, citizens have the right to be cremated.

Efforts to legalise cremation were undertaken in 2006 when the Cabinet commission­ed a legislativ­e drafting committee. A draft bill stipulated that cremations did not apply to Cypriots.

This was amended in 2009 to allow the cremation of Cypriots – after objections from the Cyprus Orthodox Church – the law regulating crematoriu­ms was passed.

The Orthodox Church had campaigned against the option, arguing that a burial fulfils the need of relatives to visit the graves of loved ones, adding that a burial ritual offers them solace.

In the UK, 80% of the deceased are cremated. The same goes for the Czech Republic. In Germany, 63% of people are cremated, while in the USA, it has exceeded 50% in recent years.

On the contrary, in Greece, where a crematoriu­m has been operating since 2019, the percentage is only 1.5%.

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