Cypriots Mark Epiphany at Ghost Town of Famagusta (video)



Hundreds of Greek Cypriots marked the religious holiday of Epiphany on Sunday in a rare vigil which took place along the outskirts of the abandoned city of Famagusta in the occupied north of the country.

It was only the fourth time since the Turkish invasion of 1974 that Epiphany was celebrated in the destroyed city.

The liturgy was held at the church of Ayios Georgios Exorinos, and the blessing of the waters took place at Glossa Beach.

The ceremony, which included diving to retrieve the Holy Cross which the priest threw in the water according to Greek Orthodox tradition, “brought back to life the moments we have missed so much,” the organizers said in an announcement.

Varosha, a southern suburb of Famagusta, has been fenced off and abandoned ever since Turkey invaded northern Cyprus after a Greek-inspired coup in 1974. All religious ceremonies which take place in the north require official permission from Turkish Cypriot authorities.