Cyprus has been a divided island since 15 July 1974 when a coup d’état was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis, the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece.
This action precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, which led to the capture of the present-day territory of Northern Cyprus the following month after a ceasefire collapsed, and the displacement of over 150,000 Greek Cypriots and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots.
A separate Turkish Cypriot state in the north was established by unilateral declaration in 1983; the move was widely condemned by the international community, with Turkey alone recognizing the new state. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
The Green line divides the North from the South, supervised by UNFICYP. Turkish Cypriots are in the North, Greek Cypriots are in the south and whilst the Turkish regime opened up several crossing points in April 2003 to allow movement across the Green line for both sides, the situation today remains unresolved, despite many years of negotiations to open up the island to joint rule.
Apostolos Andreas monastery is situated just below the tip of the Karpass peninsula in Northern Cyprus. The monastery is dedicated to Saint Andrew and is an important site for the Cypriot Orthodox Church. It was once known as “the Lourdes of Cyprus”, served not by an organized community of monks but by a changing group of volunteer priests and laymen. Both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities consider the monastery a holy place. As such it is visited by many people for votive prayers.
Now the Green line crossing points are open to all, the roads are vastly improved and the journey much easier. On my last visit 6 years ago, I found it sad to see the monastery in such a dilapidated state but there has been renovation funding from Church of Cyprus, EVKAF Administration and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the buildings are now under a restoration program which appears to be partially completed.
Linking with Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton. Pop on over and check some more doors today…