A Seminar on the theme: Religious Freedom and Holy Sites in the Republic of Cyprus, was organized to the European Parliament on Wednesday 14th of April 2010 under the high patronage of his Excellency Dr. Hans-Gert Pottering. The Seminar was organized by the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the EU in co-operation with the Church and Society Commission of CEC and the hostess was Dr. Eleni Theocharous MEP (EPP).
The Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II and Mr. Pottering addressed the participants.
The keynote speakers were Mr. Andreas Mavroyiannis Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cyprus, Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis Director of the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the E.U., His Beatitude Youssef Soueif Archbishop of Maronites in Cyprus, Dr. Antranik Ashdjian Representative of the Armenian religious community in Cyprus and Rev. Rudiger Noll Director of the Church & Society Commission of C.E.C.
In his opening speech His Beatitude the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II stressed, among other things: We ask the European Union to support our demand strongly and powerfully and to work systematically and effectively in order to restore and ensure respect for religious freedoms in the occupied part of our island; to put an end to the looting and plundering of our sacred sites and monuments and to protect our religious sites.
From the keynote speakers speeches and the afterward discussion, it was stressed that the right of religious freedom and the respect of Religious cultural heritage are E.U. beliefs.
Speakers and participants of the Seminar requested from the E.U. institutions and especially those with the proper competencies such as the Commissioner for Enlargement and the Commissioner for Culture and Education as well as the Committee for Culture and Education in the European Parliament, to enhance and increase their engagements in view of saving the religious and other cultural heritage that runs the risk of absolute destruction in the occupied part of Cyprus.
Two programmes concerning the restoration of cultural and religious monuments have already been completed: Agios Nikolaos Church (Bedestan) and Emerke Hamam. In addition another programme currently running consist of a fund of Euro 800.000 for the architectural documentation of religious monuments. Both are encouraging evidences for the rescue of religious monuments. The constant desecration and destruction of the religious monuments in the occupied part of Cyprus is a wound to the European and World-wide civilization.