Gibrahayer Stumbles on ‘Lost’ Armenian Church in Turkish Occupied North Cyprus

NICOSIA (–The Armenian Protestant Church of Nicosia has long been a lost and forgotten treasure–as many community members are unaware that another Armenian Church is located a few hundred meters away from Turkish occupied Victoria street–in the heart of the old Armenian neighborhood.

Simon Aynedjian–who publishes–discovered the Armenian Protestant Church after inquiring about its background. "The first person I met–who was actually knowledgeable about the existence of the Church–is an Armenian Protestant herself–Ruth Keshishian–who like many of us–still hasn’t crossed the border–thinking that she cannot handle the trauma of seeing her Church and re-living her past," Aynedjian said.

The Church–renamed ‘Cyprus Turkish Handicrafts Cooperative Ltd,’ is located gracefully named after the Protestant Armenian Church–Mahmut Pasa–Sok. Ermeni Kilisesi–Lefkosa.

"Are we also aware that more than 200 members of our community were once Armenian Protestants? Forgive my ignorance–although I am bravely admitting to things I do not know–but it almost feels like the older generation has been hiding this community heritage under covers! Should it be acceptable that a Church never acknowledged before–fails to get the mention it deserves in our history books? Why do we so easily give up on things that are ours? Why do we react only when we are pinned to the wall?" Aynedjian asks.

Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church on Victoria street–situated a few hundred meters further down from the Armenian Protestant Church–Aynedjian explains "has an even more repulsive story to tell. The community members although aware of its existence–still stay passive towards its fate. The area where the choir once sang is now a public toilet–its walls witness the intimate momen’s of young Turkish couples. Young Turks have redesigned the Church floor into a football ground to accommodate their sporting activities–and Efes Pilsen beer bottles now substitute the candles of this sacred place."

While the Armenian Monastery of St. Magar is being turned into a coffee shop–Aynedjian said–"We stumble on an Armenian Church built in 1946 lost–forgotten and not talked about."


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