Turkish Coffee at Sourp Magar Monastery

By Simon Aynedjian

NICOSIA (Gibrahayer)–It is business as usual for the kiosk operating at Sourp Magar Monastery. With the 2.5 km road from Halevka junction now open–and the huge billboard inviting picnickers in the Pantataktylos mountain region–the Sourp Magar monastery–now in ruins–has suddenly been transformed into a popular picnic destination.

"Ermeni Manastiri" reads the sign leading to the ruins. There we came across both Greek and Turkish Cypriots–enjoying traditional shish kebabs and playing football with the members of their family in front of the monument erected in 1933 on the occasion of the visit of Catholicos Sahag of Cilicia.

It is business as usual for the kiosk operating at Sourp Magar Monastery where everything seems the same–that is only if you’re very bad at mathematics.

Going back 30 years–you would have found a few scenes missing–but there are certainly more than a few scenes missing now. One needs not to be an expert in subtractions in order to grasp this new equation.

Missing are the few hundred Armenia’s who would have been in the Monastery on a Sunday afternoon: the family christening their infant–my godfather’s–Karnig Kouyoumdjian’s–christening basin that he built for his grand children and for the Armenian community of Cyprus.

Actually almost everything is missing except for the desecrated walls of the Church.

The inconspicuous Cross on the Church– also missing. So are the windows and the doors in every room–the icons and the pictures–the candles and the scent–as well as most of the floors.

DANGER warns one sign! I wonder if the holes on the ground are in fact the sole root of our problems…

The big room facing the sea–where we had our family get-togethers–is also missing. The floor has simply vanished. I remember–during winter times–we used to rush to the window–to witness with our naked eye–the first signs of snow on the multiple peaks of the Tarsus Mountains.

From the same window one can meet the sea-path through which our own grandparents entered Cyprus–fleeing the Genocide and the deportations carried out by the Ottoman Turkish Government against the Armenia’s in 1915.

The same path was later used by the storming Turkish army who invaded the island 30 years ago. What does that add up to now??

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