Greek and Turkish Cypriots have begun the restoration of the historic monastery of Saint Panteleimon in Myrtou, in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus.
The local Turkish authorities decided to restore the monastery following an irrational act of vandalism in November of 2018, when a group of unknown individuals broke through the entrance of the building. The vandals, who were never caught, painted graffiti on the walls and damaged the fence and the windows of the monastery.
The Turkish authorities’ efforts were joined by Greek Cypriot volunteers who, together with Turkish Cypriots, cleaned the walls and began procedures to restore the damaged parts of the monastery.
Representatives from various institutions such as the United Nations were present to provide assistance to the project.
The monastery was founded by monks approximately 1000 years ago, in the 11th century. A reconstruction of the monastery was carried out in the 16th and 17th centuries, with the latest effort being funded by the European Union in 2015.
The building is considered to be a landmark monument of the Christian tradition of the island.
The Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus is replete with Byzantine and Western Christian monuments, but unfortunately, most of them have been through decades of deliberate neglect.
However, this is the exact opposite of what has taken place in Myrtou, where a minor miracle may have occurred at the monastery. Where, instead of indifference and neglect, a cultural treasure of the city is being restored by individuals from both sides of the Cypriot divide.
You can see our extensive coverage on the Christian monuments in the occupied Cypriot territories here.