On the initiative of MEP Mr. Costas Mavrides (ΔΗΚΟ—S&D) was held at the European Parliament the event of 27th March 2018 titled “European Cultural Heritage: religious monuments in destruction” in occupied Cyprus, featuring a photo-exhibition and a concert. The thirty photos of the exhibition were offered by the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the European Institutions, documenting mostly desecrated churches, icons and cemeteries in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus; while the established composer Giorgos Theofanous performed part of his work titled “Cypriot Voice”.
Representatives of the European Institutions, delegates of Churches—amongst them His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Achaia, representative of the Church of Greece to the EU, fr. George Valcu, delegate of the Representation of the Romanian Patriarchate to the EU, His Grace Bishop Nektarios of Arsinoe, and His Eminence Msg. Georgios Patriarchal Vicar of the Syriac Patriarchate in Belgium, France and Luxemburg—, priests and other guests from Cyprus, as well as people from all over Europe and the Greek diaspora, attended the event, in order to witness the “cultural genocide” going on for the last 44 years in occupied Cyprus, as documented by a photo-exhibition from the archive and collection of the Synodical Committee of Monuments and Art of the Church of Cyprus.
The photo-exhibition was framed by a welcoming speech of MEP Mr. Costas Mavrides, who emphasized the ongoing crime against the European cultural heritage in Cyprus, and by the speeches of:
Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Vice-President of the European Parliament, who explicitly condemned Turkey for the ongoing crime;
Cecilia Wikström, Swedish Hellenist, MEP and President of the Conference of Committee Chairs, who underlined that we mustn’t allow Turkey to eradicate the island’s History, because “without Past, there is no Future”, and concluded her speech with a wish, citing a line from her favorite Cypriot poet Kyriakos Charalambides “We shall all go back to Famagusta”; and
Jens Nymand–Christensen, delegate of the European Commission, who stated that these beautiful works of Art belong to all Europeans, and that the Commission shall continue its efforts to preserve and restore the monuments.
His Grace, the Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis, addressed the audience, and prompted the European Institutions to enhance their efforts to end this genocide against European and global cultural heritage and memory in occupied Cyprus. Amongst other things, he underlined that: “Today, in the northern part of Cyprus more than 77 religious monuments have been converted into mosques, 28 are situated in camps or military zones of the Turkish army, while others have been converted to cultural centers, warehouses, stables, an elderly care home and barns… The Cypriot cultural heritage does not belong only to Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins residing in Cyprus. It is a European and global heritage.”
The event was concluded by a concert entitled “Cypriot Voice” by the renowned composer Giorgos Theofanous, who set to music verses of Cypriot poets and folk poetry, accompanied by popular singers Evridiki and Constantinos Christoforou. The members of the diaspora and the Europeans who attended the event were all thrilled by the emotional performance of the distinguished artists, and by the vividness and beauty of the Cypriot dialect–not to mention the strong lyrics and background stories of the songs.