Wednesday, February 20, 2019
The largest circulation Armenian online e-magazine on the Internet

Zaruhi Harutyunyan, playing a category A tournament in Roehampton - U.K. beat Clara Duarte no. 38 ITF ranked junior in the world 6-2 6-1.



View the video of extracts of the ceremony by clicking here

A Divine Liturgy was carried out for the first time in 50 years in the Turkish-occupied Armenian Church of Virgin Mary on Sunday 11 May 2014.

The Liturgy was carried out by the Armenian Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian and was also attended by many Ambassadors, representatives of different religious denominations, other official guests and hundreds of Armenian Community members who had come from all over Cyprus and abroad.

The Church provided shelter for thousands who fled the Armenians Genocide between 1915-1923.

Before 1964, the Church complex, also housed the Armenian Prelature, the Melikian-Ouzounian elementary school, a kindergarten and the Armenian Genocide Monument.

The complex which was in a very bad condition was restored between 2009-2012 by UNDP-ACT and USAID funding and in close co-operation with the Armenian Representative and the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus.

This video contains extracts of the ceremony, which was addressed by Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian, the Armenian Representative in the Cyprus Parliament Vartkes Mahdessian as well as Armenian Church Committee Chairman Sebouh Tavitian.
Click here to view it.

click here for more images of the historic Liturgy

Click here to view the video of extracts of the speech by Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian
and the Armenian Representative in the Cyprus Parliament Vartkes Mahdessian

click here for more images of the historic Liturgy


The last wedding in Sourp Asdvadzadzin church in Turkish-occupied northern Nicosia, took place 51 years ago on 22 December 1963.
51 years later Mr. & Mrs. Antranik and Alice Naltchadjian stand in the very same place they took their oath of love.


Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra for Gibrahayer e-magazine - On the corner of Victoria and Notre Dame de Tyre streets, within the Arab Ahmed district of walled Nicosia, there is the Armenian compound. Within this compound is the beautiful mediaeval church of the Virgin Mary, which between 2009-2012 was restored by UNDP-ACT, with the sponsorship of USAID.
The church was originally built in 1116 by the King of Jerusalem, Baldwin de Buillon, while after the Siege of Jerusalem in 1187 it was used to house the administration of various religious orders. A few years after the start of the Frankish Era (1192), it became an abbey for the Carthusian nuns. Following the Siege of Antioch (1268) and the Fall of Acre (1291), numerous religious communities and monastic orders came to Cyprus - amongst them the Benedictine nuns, who initially shared the nunnery with the Carthusians. The strong 1303 earthquake completely destroyed the convent, which was re-built between 1308-1310 by commission of King Henry II.

Gradually, the Carthusians disappeared, but the Benedictines remained and were divided into two sub-orders, de Tyre and de Tortosa; eventually, the Tyre nuns declined and they either left or joined the Tortosa ones, which is why this Gothic church is known either as Notre Dame de Tyre or as Notre Dame de Tortosa.
It is unclear exactly when and how the compound came to the hands of the Armenian Orthodox Church, however - judging by the accounts of chroniclers Leontios Makhairas and George Boustronius - this is more likely to have happened during the late 15th century. Architectural and documentary evidence suggests that this probably took place after the destructive 1491 earthquake and, at any rate, certainly before 1504, at which time the church was already Armenian. This should not come as a surprise, as it is well-known that many Benedictine nuns came from Cilician-Armenian families, such as Abbess Fimie (†1308), daughter of King Hethoum II. The small canopy under the eastern arch of the cloister used to contain the coat of arms and sarcophagus of Lady Eschive de Dampierre (†1340), perhaps the convent’s most famous abbess.
Immediately after the Osmanian conquest of Nicosia in September 1570, the Ottomans used the church as a salt store. However, it was returned to the Armenians by a firman in May 1571, issued by the Kadi of Nicosia. The Armenians were also granted the keeping of Paphos Gate, a privilege which they made use of only for a short time, due to the large expenditure required. A second firman formalised the church’s Armenian ownership in May 1614.
In the over 400 years that it served the small yet prosperous Armenian community of Nicosia, the church underwent various changes: it was restored in 1688, 1884 and 1904, its baptistery was built in 1788, the buttresses supporting the northern porch were erected in 1858, the belfry was built in 1860 (one of the first in Ottoman Cyprus) and the choir gallery was constructed in 1945. In 1950 the belfry was restored, while between 1960-1961 the Antiquities Department removed some of the mediaeval tombstones from the floor and placed new flooring. The church had stained glass windows and beautiful old icons.

Between 1915-1923, the church received numerous persecuted Armenian Genocide refugees from Asia Minor and Cilicia, some of whom temporarily resided under its arches upon arriving in Nicosia. Within the Armenian compound there was also the Armenian Prelature, the Melikian-Ouzounian School and the kindergarten, the Armenian Genocide Monument and other auxiliary buildings, as well as the Melikian Mansion - believed to be the original monastery building and home to the Prelature until the late 18th century. Surrounding the compound was the Armenian Quarter, where the majority of Nicosia’s Armenians used to live and work until the inter-communal troubles of 1963-1964, when Turkish-Cypriot extremists forced them to abandon their ancient quarter.
Between 1964-1998, the compound was used as barracks for the Turkish-Cypriot militia and the Turkish soldiers. In 1998 an earthquake partly damaged the porch. After that, it was abandoned by the military and until late 2006/early 2007 the compound was used to house families of illegal Anatolian settlers.
In 2005, following a recommendation from the Nicosia Master Plan regarding the revitalisation of the buffer zone area, UNDP-ACT carried out a preliminary study for the potential restoration of the complex, while in 2007 it conducted a feasibility study. The restoration project finally began in October 2009, in close co-operation with the Office of the Armenian Representative, Mr Vartkes Mahdessian, and the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus. The restoration works were completed in November 2012. The Divine Liturgy which took place there on Sunday, 11 May 2014, was the first one in 50 whole years, as the last Liturgy had been held in January 1964.



For more images of the performance click here
For more images of the performance click here
For more images of the performance click here
For more images of the performance click here
For more images of the performance click here
For more images of the performance click here
For more images of the performance click here
For more images of the performance click here
For more images of the performance click here


Turkey said on Wednesday that it won't pay the 90 million euros to Cyprus that was ordered by Europe's top human rights court, and denounced the ruling as the biggest blow yet to peace talks for the divided island.

Turkey must pay 90m euros (£73m; $123m) in damages over its 1974 invasion of Cyprus, according to a decision by the European Court of Human Rights.
The judgement is one of the largest ever ordered by the court.
It said the damages were compensation for losses endured during the invasion and in the subsequent partition.
In Monday's ruling, the European Court of Human Rights found that Turkey was still liable for damages, despite the passage of time.
The court ruled that Turkey should pay 30m euros for the suffering endured by relatives of people who had gone missing during the invasion.
It ordered Turkey to pay a further 60m euros for the suffering of Greek Cypriots who live in the Karpas peninsula - an enclave within northern Cyprus.
Turkey has not always complied with previous rulings by the body, Europe's top court of human rights.
Turkey still has around 30,000 troops stationed on the island, and it is the only country that recognises northern Cyprus as a separate entity.


Dear friends,
Gibrahayer e-magazine has been circulating on a weekly basis for 15 years since 1999 bringing Armenian and Cyprus related news and community alerts to 20,000 subscribers, daily multiple updates to 6,200 Facebook friends and 750,000 visitors on .
During this time it has documented more than 18,000 images of community events, happenings and historic moments.

In the absence of a solid financial backing, and only through the contribution of the very few, Gibrahayer e-magazine has stretched its financial resources.
An online platform such as Gibrahayer has real costs in dispatch, alerts and in preserving an online presence.
In order not to lose what we consider ours, we all need to do our proportional little bit.
Especially in these times of crisis, we appeal to you to preserve this media platform by sustaining it by a contribution.

Simon Aynedjian – Editor – Gibrahayer e-magazine

Click here to make a contribution through PayPal

Donations to Gibrahayer e-magazine
200 euros from the families of the bereaved Sima Yepremian
50 euros from the family of the bereaved Megerditch O. Megerditchian
50 euros by an anonymous reader, in appreciation for pictures published from the historic Divine Liturgy of 11.05.14.


Eurovision 2014: Aram Mp3 places fourth in grand final

Armenia would have placed higher or even won the Eurovision 2014 song contest had the jury vote not dragged it down badly, it appears based on the results of the popular vote (by viewers across Europe) published by the organizers.
Aram Mp3, who represented Armenia in the contest by performing his “Not Alone” romantic ballad in the Saturday night final show in Copenhagen, Denmark, scored a total of 176 points in a combined TV viewer and professional jury vote, which gave him fourth place among 25 participants of the grand finale.
The contest was won by Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst, popularly known as “the bearded lady”, who scored 290 points for her “Rise Like a Phoenix” song. The contestants from the Netherlands and Sweden won second and third places with 238 and 218 points, respectively.
Armenia’s highest points (12) in the combined vote came from France, Austria and Georgia. But it later turned out that Aram Mp3 was a leader according to the SMS voting results also in Belgium, Russia, Greece and Israel. The professional juries in these countries, however, lowered the Armenian participant’s ultimate score and in the case with Belgium Armenia even did not score a single point.
It is remarkable that the approach of the national professional jury was also called into question by many in Armenia. Thus, Austria’s Conchita got second place according to the popular vote in Armenia, but because of the jury vote it did not get even a single point.
The 50/50 combination of TV viewers and professional juries voting was first introduced by Eurovision organizers in 2009 after for many years the winners of the contest had been largely determined by so-called “ethnic/Diaspora” or “regional neighbors” votes. Mostly Eastern European or Mediterranean nations were favorites to win in the contest due to such factors before the novelty was introduced.

Aram Mp3 left a message on his Facebook Page thanking his fans and Diaspora Armenians for their support. He writes: “My dear Armenians living in Europe, I’m very, very, very thankful to you for voting for me… If the overall voting results do not match [with your vote], it is not your fault… In reality it is the jury who gave us low scores,” the Armenian artist wrote.
Armenia has participated in Eurovision song contests since 2006 (skipping the 2012 show for security reasons as it was hosted by Baku, Azerbaijan). Before Aram Mp3 only Sirusho managed to place as high as fourth. It happened during the 2008 competition (the last time the winner was determined on the basis of televoting results only). Armenia’s biggest setback was registered in 2011 when its participant Emmy failed even to qualify for the final.


Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra for Gibrahayer e-magazine - In a solemn ceremony held at the Sourp Asdvadzadzin church on Tuesday, 13 May 2014, the Armenian-Cypriot community bid farewell to its spiritual leader for 17 years. The ceremony started and finished with the church choir singing, while letters were read by der Mashdots Ashkarian and der Momik Habeshian, on behalf of His Holiness, Catholicos Aram and the Armenian-Catholic Patriarch Nerses Tarmouni, respectively. The main speaker was Vartan Tashdjian, while speeches were also made by Sebouh Tavitian, the Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian and Archbishop Varoujan himself. After the programme, a nice reception was held at the "Vahram Utidjian" hall, organised by the Ladies Committee of the church.
Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian was born in 1946 in Anjar Lebanon. Having graduated from the Tebrevank (Seminary School) in Antelias, he was ordained as a Vartabed in 1967, as a Bishop in 1997 and as an Archbishop in 2003. He has served as a clergyman and educator in Armenian communities and schools in Lebanon, Limassol (1970-1974) and Greece. He is an accomplished writer, editor and publisher. He and his work shall be missed by the community. We wish him the best of luck in his next endeavour.

Honored to be at the USC SHOAH Foundation event to support Armenian
Genocide testimonies. I'm sitting next to the most inspiring 100 year old survivor

Gibrahayer Calendar

► Saturday 17 May at 7:00 pm - you are invited to attend the first Scouts - Parents meeting at Homenetmen - AYMA. More details on Gibrahayer Facebook.
► Sunday 18 May - Pilgrimage to Saint Magar Monastery organised by the Office of the Armenian Representative.
Click here to view last year's images of the Pilgrimage to Magaravank
► Sunday May 18 from 4-7 pm - Hamazkayin's "Sipan" Dance Ensemble participates in the European programme "Colours without borders" at the Municipality of Latsia Town Hall. Entrance free.
► Tuesday 27 May at 7.30pm - Hamazkayin's "Sipan" Dance Ensemble performs at Acropolis Park. Entrance free.
► Thursday 19 June 2014 from 5.30pm - 7.30pm – Traditional reception to all Armenian graduates on the island at the residence of the Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian.
► Thursday May 29 at 8:30 pm - "Sipan" and "Nanor" Dance Ensembles perform at the Strovolos Municipal Theatre at the event "The Cypriot Communities dance and sing for peaceful coexistence", organised by the Bi-Communal Choir and the Maronite Choir in cooperation with the minorities of Cyprus. Entrance free.
► Saturday 31 May at 7:30 pm at Nareg School Hall - May 28 Armenian independence celebrations by ARF Dashnaktsoutiun and affiliate organisations, followed by Dinner at Homenetmen - AYMA. Keynote speaker Homenetmen - AYMA President unger Hagop Kazandjian. Special appearance by Hamazkayin's SIPAN Dance Ensemble and Artsakh Badanegan Choir.
► Wednesday 18 June 2014 at 6pm - Nareg Armenian Schools Graduation Ceremony – at Nareg School Nicosia Amphitheatre.
► Saturday 15 November – Inka and Anush Arshakyan perform at the Strovolos Municipal Hall. The event is organised by the Office of the Armenian Representative.



Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra for Gibrahayer e-magazine - The Armenian monastery of Sourp Magar (Saint Makarios), also known as Armenian Monastery or Magaravank, is situated in a picturesque location within Plataniotissa forest, about 1½ Km to the west of Halevga, at an altitude of 530 m. Its vast lands, extending up to the sea, cover nearly 8.500 donums (11,37 Km²) and include about 30.000 olive and carob trees, whose exploitation constituted the most important source of income for the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus until the 1974 Turkish invasion. From the idyllic site of the monastery, one can gaze the Taurus mountain range in Cilicia, which is right across.
The monastery was originally founded by Copts circa the year 1000 AD in memory of Saint Makarios the Hermit of Alexandria (306-395), who according to tradition had spent some time in the caves of the region as an ascetic. By 1425 the monastery had come to the possession of the Armenian Orthodox Church. During the Frankish and the Venetian Eras (1192-1489-1570), its monks were known for following very strict rules of ascetic life and religious penitence and no females (including animals) were allowed near the monastery.
During the Ottoman Era (1571-1878), it was known as the Blue Monastery, because of the light blue colour of its doors and window blinds. The monastery had been a popular pilgrimage site, as well as a way station for travellers and pilgrims en route to the Holy Land, such as Dr. Hovsep Shishmanian (“Dzerents”): inspired by the visible outline of the distant Taurus mountain range, he wrote the historical novel Toros Levoni in 1875. For centuries, the monastery served as a place of retreat and recuperation for Armenian clergymen from Cilicia and Jerusalem, with which it maintained close relations. A notable visitor was Abbot Mekhitar of Sebaste, who visited Magaravank in 1695, a few years before establishing the Mekhitarist Armenian-Catholic Order. A mortar obelisk to commemorate his visit was erected in 1931 on a hill overlooking the monastery.
In 1642 a firman exempted the monastery from taxation, whose terms were renewed in 1660 and 1701. The years between 1650-1750 are considered the “Golden Century”, as vast plots of land were either purchased or given to the monastery. In 1734-1735 renovations were allowed, as they were between 1811-1818, during which the new chapel was built to the north of the older one (1814). The monastery was restored in 1866, 1926 and 1929, between 1947-1949 and again in 1973. In 1926 the paved road leading to Halevga was constructed. The square to the east of the monastery was erected in 1933, while in 1968 the chapel’s new baptistery was built, as many Armenian children were baptised there.
It appears that the last monks permanently resided in the monastery before 1800. Throughout the Ottoman Era, the vicinity was inhabited by Armenian families until the mid-1920s; between 1897-1914, a small Armenian school operated on the monastery’s grounds for the children of the region, while between 1897-1904 the National Educational Orphanage of Vahan Kurkjian (“Pagouran”) had its summer sessions there. In 1917 and 1918 the monastery was visited by volunteers of the Armenian Legion. The estate was also used as a holiday and weekend resort by some Armenian-Cypriot families, as well as a camping site for Armenian scouts and students, including orphans from the Melkonian Educational Institute.

In the courtyard of the monastery there was a small circular fountain pool, while the various fruit-bearing trees provided visitors with a tranquil ambience. The icon of Saint Makarios, placed just before the chapel’s entrance, was considered miraculous and many pilgrims used to light candles there; at night, the residents of the area believed they could hear the Saint galloping on his horse. In 1948 the “Archangels” fountain was erected, while in 1949 the monastery acquired its own water distribution network, turbine and electricity generator.
Until the early 20th century, a large number of exquisite and priceless manuscripts (dating back to 1202-1740) were written and kept at the monastery; also kept were numerous valuable ecclesiastical vessels, which were brought to the Prelature in Nicosia for safe-keeping. In 1947, 56 of the manuscripts were relocated to the Catholicosate of Cilicia in Antelias. Unfortunately, the altar and the icons of the chapel perished during the 1974 Turkish invasion. The occupying forces used the Magaravank to house illegal Anatolian settlers and Turkish military officers until the 1980s. Between 1998-1999 and again in 2005, the occupying regime intended to turn it into a hotel; thanks to organised reactions, this unholy plan was averted.

Thanks to the initiative of the Armenian Representative, Vartkes Mahdessian, in co-operation with the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus and under the supervision of UNFICYP, the annual pilgrimage was revived on 6 May 2007, with the participation of about 250 people, including some who came especially from abroad; the pilgrimage was repeated on 10 May 2009, 9 May 2010, 8 May 2011, 13 May 2012, 19 May 2013 and will be repeated on 18 May 2014.
The monastery is in urgent need of restoration, as it is practically in ruins. Left at the mercy of nature and vandals, silent, derelict, desecrated and deserted, it patiently awaits for its rightful owners and pilgrims to return in peace…


French President Francois Hollande arrived in Armenia on Monday for a two-day visit to the country as part of a visit to the wider South Caucasus region. Hollande was greeted by the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan upon arrival with a welcoming ceremony.
Francois Hollnde attended the opening of the Armenian-French Business Forum and visited the site, designated for a future Carrefour store.
The French President also conducted the opening of a new park in Yerevan, the Misak Manushian Park, in memory of the prominent French-Armenian famous for his involvement in the Resistance Movement against the Nazi occupiers of France during World War II.
Hollande also meet with the French community of Armenia at the French Embassy.
In October 2013, President Francois Hollande received the President of Armenia Serzh François Hollande with Armenian President Serge Sarkissian and singer Charles Aznavour (C) on MondaySargsyan in Paris.
Hollande arrived in Armenia accompanied by a large delegation of business leaders who took part in the Armenian-French business forum.
On Monday, Presidents Hollande and Sarkisian visited the Dzidzsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial, laying flowers at the monument and honoring the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
Hollande also attended the concert by famous French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour, taking place in Yerevan.


Support grows for Turkish Cypriot couple prosecuted over Cyprus flag

By Evie Andreou - The trial of a Turkish Cypriot couple, charged for hanging the Cyprus Republic’s flag outside their home and shop in June last year in Famagusta has been postponed until July 11.
Koray Basdogrultmaci and Cinel Senem Husseyin were charged with offences against public order.
The couple was arrested and jailed even though they had tried to explain to the Turkish Cypriot police that Basdogrultmaci, who was arrested four years ago for the same reason, had been acquitted in court.
The couple said hanging the flag was their way of protesting the Turkish Prime Minister’s hypocrisy. Tayyip Erdogan had, the previous day attended the opening ceremony of the Mediterranean Games in Mersin, in Turkey where the Cypriot flag had flown unimpeded.
The Turkish Cypriot couple protested that the Cypriot flag could wave in Turkey but not in northern Cyprus.
The trial has been postponed several times already. At the April 9, 2014 hearing, which was postponed because the judge who was to hear the case was on maternity leave, the couple was asked to show remorse and be fined but they refused.
The next hearing was set for May 6 and the couple was warned that they would risk be heavily fined and even incarcerated but the trial was postponed because “the police witnesses were not in court” the Cyprus Mail was told by Tina Adamidou, a personal friend of the couple. “I wonder what the next excuse will be” said Adamidou who believes that they have no real reason to proceed with the case and that’s why it is being constantly postponed.
The couple who prefer to call themselves ‘Turkish-speaking Cypriots’, declared they’d rather go to prison than pay any fine and that in such a case they would file a case at the European Court of Human Rights.
“The couple is being victimised for their beliefs and they are standing proud stating they are willing to go to jail to protect their basic human right, freedom of expression,” said Adamidou who said the case has already been reported to Amnesty International.
“There are no laws pertaining to flying the Cypriot flag, so the trumped-up charges of ‘disturbing the peace’ are the charges that this couple will have to face,” she said.
According to the couple’s information the complaint had come from five mainland Turks because they did not want the Cyprus flag hanging opposite their workshop.
“If that’s the case then why didn’t the breakaway regime’s policemen arrest the man who hung provocatively two huge flags on his balcony during the Good Friday liturgy in Famagusta? The police had asked him to remove them and he refused but he was not arrested or taken to court,” said Adamidou.
During the latest hearing on Tuesday, 15 people gathered in support outside of the court. The couple’s friends are also trying to better inform the public.
To show his support, following the trial postponement, Sener Elcil, the Turkish Cypriot Teacher’s Syndicate’s (KTÖS) General Secretary, released an announcement saying that the incident has fully exposed the policies of the breakaway regime and that policies like these were designed to force Turkish Cypriots to leave the island. He also said that the trial of the couple was an occupation policy and Turkish Cypriots were becoming a minority in their own country.
“Holding and hanging the Cyprus Republic flag is not a crime. The related trial against Koray and Cinel Basdogrultmaci is completely political and Turkish authorities are the ones who are responsible,” the announcement said. Ercil expressed his support and solidarity to the couple and his intention to cite international law in support of anyone who’s been treated unfairly by the system.

(borrowed from a Turkish FB Page)


In a show of anger, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan heckled the head of the country’s bar association last week.
Erdogan accused Metin Feyzioglu of rudeness for being critical of the government during a speech at a judicial ceremony in Ankara.
Feyzioglu refused to stop speaking, continuing with an hour-long address.
Following several outbursts, Erdogan stood up and shouted out in anger, “You’re speaking falsehoods, how could there be such rudeness?” He then walked out before the planned conclusion of the ceremony.
Feyzioglu has called for a more independent judiciary in Turkey and questioned the government’s handling of a 2011 earthquake that killed hundreds of people in southeastern province of Van.
click here to watch the video


Protesters call Turkish Premier “murderer” and “thief”

on Thursday 15 May, The Independent published this picture (above) that shows the adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, kicking one of the relatives of a dead miner, who was protesting

Only six weeks after Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party dominated Turkey’s municipal elections - a victory that was widely viewed as a vote of confidence in the Premier - the mine explosion quickly stirred discontent. Protesters congregated at the local party headquarters in the city of 100,000 people, 480 km southwest of Istanbul, some calling the Premier “murderer” and “thief,” according to news reports.
The Soma disaster carries specific risks for the incumbent. Last month, a local lawmaker petitioned Turkey’s parliament to investigate the mine; Orguz Ozel, a member of the opposition Republican People’s Party, said residents had complained incessantly that the mine was not safe. The effort was thwarted by Erdogan’s party, some members of which publicly mocked the proposal. Erdogan pointed out on Wednesday that the mine had passed inspections in March.
The issue is sure to be revisited now, and for some time to come. Already media outlets critical to Erdogan were linking the Prime Minister to the disaster and alleging the mine operators were given advance notice of inspections. “Massacre in the mine,” read the headline on one column in the English language Today’s Zaman on Wednesday. “Symptom of a one-man regime.”





Click here for images of the interior



© 2007 Gibrahayer e-Magazine
Armenia street 32, Floor 4 & 5, No. 401
P.O.Box 24609 Nicosia 1301 - Cyprus
Telephone:(+357) 22516688 Mobile: (+357) 99437073
Pleased to see our -th visitor
Made in TIL-Design Studio
Website information