Celebrating Cultural Diversity at Karpasha/Karpaşa Church

Apr 7, 2017

More than a hundred people gathered yesterday Thursday 06 April 2017 in the small Maronite village of Karpasha/Karpaşa to celebrate the completion of conservation works to the local Holy Cross Church.

“About a year ago the Bi-communal Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage decided to repair and restore this beautiful Maronite monument. Today, one year later, we are delivering this remarkable monument to the Maronite Church of Cyprus and in particular to the community of Karpasha/Karpaşa” said Ioannis Karis, Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage

Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Kyrenia Mountains, this is one of three Maronite religious heritage sites selected by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage to benefit from conservation interventions within the EU funded and UNDP implemented programme “Support to Monuments of Great Importance for the communities of Cyprus”. The other two Maronite sites to benefit from similar interventions are: the Old St. George Church in Kormacit/Kormakitis (completed in October 2015) and the Church of Agia Marina (to be completed soon).

Here, this landscape of extraordinary beauty with its water pumps, ancient olive trees and Kornos and Antikornos; the people who decided to take root in this corner of Cypriot land must have known a great deal about beauty. The monument, the people and the landscape constitute a unique and indivisible cultural heritage. It was a happy circumstance that brought the Church of the Holy Cross into our hands, so that we too can become initiates into its message, participants in its long history, conservators of its present and contributors to its future” said Takis Hadjidemetriou, Greek Cypriot Representative of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

Many nations, which guided the history of civilisations and contributed to the progress of humanity, left numerous monuments on Cyprus dating back from the first centuries until today. And Maronites are also a significant part of this process. We know that we are not dealing with buildings and stones only. A shape given to the stone by carving it, a painting on the wall, is the reflection of the culture, emotions, thoughts, belief and labour of the person creating it. This is what we have in our minds in doing our work” echoed him Ali Tuncay, Turkish Cypriot Representative of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

These Maronite heritage projects selected by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage may not be the biggest in terms of funding and size but they without doubts are amongst the most successful in terms of community impact and participation. In fact, all residents of Karpasha/Karpaşa have been part of this project, monitoring the works daily. This shows how much can be achieved even with little funding” said Tiziana Zennaro, UNDP Senior Programme Manager in Cyprus.

"Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it”. This is the essence of our celebration today. It is quite obvious that the members of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage not only talk about peace, but also believe in peace and work at it. The results are in front of us here today, and all over Cyprus, for that matter. The European Union is a proud partner in these efforts.” said Michela Foresti, Head of the Programme Team in the Cyprus Settlement Support unit of the European Commission.

Conservation works to the Holy Cross Church included: general cleaning of the church, replacement of metal gutters and downpipes, removal of existing plaster and repointing of stonewalls surfaces, repair of the stone belfry, replacing of damaged stones and conservation of frescoes. The total cost of the project was approx. 48,500 EUR funded by the European Union with a contribution from the Holy See. Support to the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage is a cornerstone of the European Union's support to reconciliation and confidence building measures through the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community.

Holy Cross Church in Karpasha/Karpaşa - Project Completion Ceremony