Archangelos Michael Church brings communities together
Dozens of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots came together on November 1st and 11th 2016 at two informative meetings in Lefkonoiko/Gecitkale organised by the Bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH), the European Commission and the UNDP to present the forthcoming conservation works at Archangelos Michael Church.
Conservation works to the church will last eight months and cost approx. 390,000 Euro, fully funded by the European Union's Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community.
“We want only good things happening in our village and the renovation of the church can only bring good” – commented Mrs. Fatma Dervish a Turkish Cypriot resident of the village who attended the informative event on November 1st.
“The church of Archangelos Michael is not only for the religious people, it is an important point of reference for all the residents of the village and the renovation means a lot for everyone” echoed Mr. Andreas Ioannides, a former Greek Cypriot resident.
Members of the TCCH Takis Hadjidemetriou and Glafkos Constantinides commented saying that “Getting in touch with monuments of history and culture helps people experience living history, engage in genuine human relationships, and deepen mutual understanding” and ‘the work of the Technical Committee is ultimately about people’.
Ali Tuncay clarified that 'as the TCCH, we are not just spending on the stones. Through our work, we are investing in cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and cultural understanding. The extensive interest of both communities to the monument is a clear indication that it is also regarded as the common richness of humanity'.
European Commission sources stated that: "We are very pleased to work in partnership with the Bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and with UNDP in the conservation of the common Cypriot cultural heritage"
“The sustainability of our cultural heritage conservation projects largely relies on local communities’ support, and on their sense of shared responsibility, which we believe is built through an inclusive, participatory approach. Here at Archangelos Michael church, we found a very positive and cooperative atmosphere that I am sure will accompany us throughout the implementation of the project” – explains Tiziana Zennaro from UNDP in Cyprus.
The church will undergo a major structural consolidation. Inside the church, frescoes and the carved woodworks will be stabilised and preserved by a specialised conservator. Externally, the portico roof will be reconstructed and the old school building consolidated and protected. The yard and the perimeter wall will be upgraded and improved. Other conservation works will include the cleaning of dressed stones surfaces, pointing, removal of repointing and new stone carving as well as removal and reconstruction of the existing roof, doors and windows.
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