Restoration work on the Apostolos Andreas monastery in Karpaz should begin immediately, Archibishop Chrysostomos said on Wednesday, now that a deal had been reached for the project to go ahead.
He said the Church fully supported the use of both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot contractors for the job.
At a news conference, Chrysostomos said the Church wanted the restoration work to begin immediately, “which is why the Church took the initiative to start cleaning the monastery and the surrounding area”.
The cleaning is expected to go on for the next 15 days but as August is the holiday high season, actual work on the project might not start until September. The first phase is due to be completed after 22 months.
Chrysostomos expressed his belief that the restoration would finish earlier than expected.
He said the monastery has been emptied of all artifacts, along with the icon of Apostolos Andreas and placed in one of the rooms in the residence of the monastery’s abbot, which will be turned into a small chapel.
The icon of Apostolos Andreas will be exhibited in the abbot’s residence.
The Archbishop added that the restoration would cost €2.2 million, €300,000 less than the original €2.5 million estimation.
“Unfortunately, we have only gathered one million of the €2.5 million needed. The Archdiocese has obtained a loan for the remaining amount but financially, we are not in a good state,” he added. He also mentioned that the Church had hoped to obtain half a million from the overseas Cypriots but this was not possible at the moment, he said.
The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot representatives of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage,Takis Hadjidemetriou and Ali Tuncay respectively in a joint statement, according to a UNDP press release said that it was,
They also noted : “Today, with the signing of the contract for the materialization of the project we feel that we are sending a strong message, inside and outside Cyprus, that the spirit of cooperation for the preservation of cultural heritage is strong and productive”.
The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage shall continue with the same zeal for all the monuments under its area of responsibility on both sides of the island” they concluded.
Phase 1 of the project will last 22 months –from the signature of the contract -and will include the full structural and architectural restoration of the main Church complex and adjacent buildings
“Today marks the beginning of a new phase in our joint efforts for the restoration of this important monument for Cyprus, thanks to the constant dialogue and cooperation of all involved parties”, said Tiziana Zennaro, UNDP-PFF Programme Manager.
She added that “site preparation -which includes health safety elements, temporary site facilities and pre-construction surveys for this phase of the project-will start in the coming days, while we expect the restoration works to commence at the beginning of September”.
The restoration will be carried out in accordance with the technical designs and drawings prepared by the University of Patras.
The project is funded by the Church of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot religious Evkaf Foundation through two contribution agreements worth €2.5 million each. USAID also contributed $25,000.
Located on the island’s easternmost tip, on the Karpaz peninsula, the monastery is in urgent need of repair and it had taken years to reach an agreement on its restoration, in part because the Archbishop wanted the church and its land to be declared as belonging to the Church of Cyprus.
Sources Famagusta Gazette and Cyprus Mail