Bishop of Karpasia, Christoforos, has said that the character of the Apostolos Andreas Monastery should not change and noted that both sides should respect the religious sites of the other.
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) on Wednesday, he rejected an apparent claim by the Turkish Cypriot Religious Foundation administration (Evkaf) that he had had no complaint on the issue.
He said he was not informed of any move, and added “any announcement of a decision does not mean consultation”.
The bishop said the building which is reportedly planned to be converted into a masjid had initially been planned to be used by vendors.
“It now seems that they want to place carpets in those rooms for the Muslims who visit the monastery to pray.”
However, he made his opposition to the plans clear.
“Just as we respect the Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaca and we do not want its character as a place of prayer or its surrounding area to become something other than what it is, a Muslim place of worship, we would like the same,” he said.
“The Apostolos Andreas monastery, which has an ecclesiastical, monastic character, should not have its character changed. From both sides, there should be respect towards religious places, which help us to coexist in the form in which they have existed for so many centuries.”
He also said that there was already a large mosque in Risokarpasia and said that many Muslims from both Cyprus and abroad travel to the Apostolos Andreas monastery to give offerings.
He confirmed that he will visit the monastery on Monday or Tuesday “to have my own understanding” of the situation.
( Source CNA)