Restoration of Agios Afksentios Church
Project financed by the European Union
Implemented by UNDP-PFF – in collaboration with the
Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage
By Margaret Sheard……
We have been following the restoration work at Agios Afksentios Church for some time now and recorded some photographs of the progress back in January 2015. It could be seen what a beautiful building it was and the fact that this was to be restored to its former glory was so encouraging for the heritage of Cyprus and future generations.
Some months ago we made an early start from Kyrenia as we were under the impression that the completion ceremony was to be performed. However, when we arrived we could see that the work was far from complete but it was coming along nicely and we took the opportunity to wander around the building again, admiring what had been achieved to date.
Purely by coincidence while recently taking some friends on a sightseeing tour, we decided to show them Buyukkonuk and lo and behold the completion ceremony of Agios Afksentios was taking place, although we had unfortunately missed most of it. There was still a crowd of people who had attended the ceremony and we stayed for a while and had some refreshments kindly offered to us by some friends in the village. We noted that the ceremony was attended by the Bishop of Karpasias Christophoros together with the Imam Fahretin Ogdo and members of the diplomatic community.
I am delighted to participate, on behalf of the European Commission, in the completion ceremony of one of our Cultural Heritage partnership projects. It is yet another example of the successful partnership between the European Union and the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and the UNDP. I am very happy to be here today to celebrate the completion of the conservation works of the beautiful church of Agios Afksentios.
I am proud to say that the European Union has accompanied and supported the Technical Committee from the beginning, in 2009, in partnership with the UNDP Partnership for the Future. The European Union gives great importance to preserving and supporting the many different cultures that constitute Europe. The European Union’s motto is “United in diversity”, making very clear that diversity must not mean distance and mistrust, but it must be a source of constructive dialogue and mutual understanding. People in the European Union, as diverse and different as they can be, have found the way to work together for the common purpose of a more prosperous future for all.
Today I look at this accomplished project and I see a symbol of how Cypriots can work together for a common purpose. We see here the very tangible results of cooperation and confidence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. I see a more prosperous future being built for Cypriots. I am thankful for having witnessed from the beginning how this cooperation and confidence has been growing and consolidating among my friends of the Technical Committee, building on dialogue and embracing diversity. I want to thank you for all the passion and hard work that you devote in the protection of the rich shared cultural heritage of Cyprus.
Thank you very much for being here today to admire this renovated monument. I am sure that the future generations will also come here to admire it and will look back at the work of the Technical Committee with recognition and thankfulness for working together to restore these walls and frescoes, to keep alive this monument and many others, but also and more importantly, for your contribution to the reconstruction of peace.
Thank you very much.
One of our contributors, Ismail Veli, wrote an article about Komi Kebir and its Legends and readers may like to view this by clicking here
To see some of the photographs of the completion ceremony these can be viewed in the slideshow below. Credit is given to UNDP Photo/Olkan Erguler for the use of some of these photographs. The earlier photographs taken during the restoration work are courtesy of Chris Elliott.