A ceremony to mark the completion of conservation works at the church of Profitis Elias, in the Turkish Cypriot village of Serhartköy/Filia, west of Nicosia, was held on Tuesday, in the presence of many Greek Cypriots who originate from the village.
Turkish Cypriots, ambassadors, EU and UN officials also attended the event.
The leaders of the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, Takis Hadjidemetriou and Ali Tuncay, as well as Bishop Neophytos of Morphou, all spoke against intolerance and fanaticism, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, as well as some isolated incidents of attacks against Turkish Cypriots that occurred in Nicosia, on Monday.
Conservation work, coordinated by the UNDP-PFF began on the church in April 2013. The works were completed in July 2015 at a cost of 128,400 euros, totally financed by the EU.
Addressing the ceremony, Hadjidemetriou also noted that Cyprus is delivering a message to its people, to the region and to Europe that “Christians and Muslims can co-exist and they can cooperate for the peace of humanity”.
Ali Tuncay said that Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots “should not be prisoners of the past”. He added that the past is there in order to take the necessary lessons from it and never repeat them in the future.
The Head of the EU Programme Support Office Michaela Foresti noted that the main achievement is that “it is being proven that Turkish and Greek Cypriots can work together, respect and trust each other and live united in peace”.