Tragic Fate for Northern Cyprus Armenian Monastery

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Citing an April 17 story in Yeniduzen newspaper–published in Northern Cyprus–the Armenian foreign ministry said the Armenian Saint Makar monastery–which was previously turned into a cafe–will now become a hotel–according to its new owner Dervish Sonmezler.

Situated in the mountain range of Pentadaktylos and well-known for its monastic order–the 10th century monastery is considered to be one of the holiest shrines of the Armenian people.

Before the Turkish occupation of the Northern Cyprus–the monastery was one of the favorite destinations for local Armenia’s–but now inaccessible to Christians. All man’scripts and other relics kept there were plundered and sold. Further destruction of the monastery was prevented after intervention by the Republic of Cyprus–the Armenian Church–and international organizations.

Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the occupation of 37 per cent of its northern territory–the regime denied access to Armenia’s to the monastery–now partly destroyed.

On April 27–1998–the joint parliamentary committee Cyprus-European Union protested to UNESCO a decision by the Turkish Cypriot regime to convert the monastery in into a hotel.

In a letter addressed to UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor–Chairman of the delegation to Parliamentary Committee–Philippe Monfils said the conversion of the Saint Makar monastery into a hotel alienates "an ancient Armenian religious site from its spiritual purpose."

Monfils said in his letter to Mayor–the conversion of Saint Makar into a hotel "is a violation of the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Cooperation–adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO."

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