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- 75 images of the Pilgrimage to Saint Magar Monastery click here

- Prayers in Saint Magar Monastery here

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Sunday 9 May 2010 - The Office of the Representative of the Armenian Community, Mr Vartkes Mahdessian, in co-operation with the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus, organised last Sunday 9 May 2010 the third visit-pilgrimage to the Sourp Magar Monastery (Magaravank). The first time was on 6 May 2007, when Armenian Cypriots visited the occupied Armenian Monastery as a community after 33 years. According to the Representative’s Office, around 200 Armenian Cypriots visited the monastery on Sunday, some of whom came especially from abroad.
The monastery was founded by Copts around the year 1000 AD and in 1425 it was inherited by the Armenians. It is dedicated to Saint Makarios the Hermit of Alexandria and it is located in the eastern part of the Turkish-occupied Pendadhaktylos at an altitude of 550 metres and a small distance from Halevga, within the Plataniotissa forest. The vast land of the monastery, which is over 8.000 donums, includes 30.000 olive and carob trees, extends up to the sea and is known to be picturesque and idyllic. From the monastery one can see the Taurus mountain range in Cilicia, which is right opposite.
The Armenian Monastery had been for centuries a popular pilgrimage for Armenians and non-Armenians and a place of recuperation for Catholicoi (Patriarchs) and other clerics from Cilicia, Jerusalem and Armenia, as well as a popular centre for local and foreign travellers and for pilgrims en route to the Holy Land. Furthermore, the monastery was used as a summer resort, where Armenian scouts and students would camp, including students of the Melkonian Educational Institute, many of whom were orphans of the Armenian Genocide. A large number of exquisite and priceless manuscripts, dating back to 1202, as well as other valuable ecclesiastical relics were housed there. Fortunately, in 1947 some of them were saved when they were transferred to the “Cilicia” museum of the Catholicosate of Cilicia.
The Magaravank is the only Armenian monastery in Cyprus and together with the church of the Virgin Mary in occupied Nicosia, it is the most important Armenian church monument on the island. It was occupied in 1974 during the Turkish invasion and ever since it remains at the mercy of nature, silent, ruined, desecrated and deserted, awaiting for its rightful owners to return.
Vartkes Mahdessian
Representative of the Armenian Community

Το Γραφείο του Εκπροσώπου της Αρμενικής Κοινότητας, κύριου Βαρτκές Μαχτεσιάν, σε συνεργασία με την Αρμενική Μητρόπολη Κύπρου, διοργάνωσε την Κυριακή 9 Μαΐου 2010 την τρίτη επίσκεψη-προσκύνημα στο Μοναστήρι του Αγίου Μακαρίου (Αρμενομονάστηρο). Η πρώτη φορά ήταν στις 6 Μαΐου 2007, όταν οι Αρμενοκύπριοι επισκέφθηκαν ως κοινότητα το κατεχόμενο Αρμενομονάστηρο μετά από 33 χρόνια. Σύμφωνα με το Γραφείο του Εκπροσώπου, την Κυριακή επισκέφτηκαν το μοναστήρι γύρω στους 200 Αρμενοκύπριους, μερικοί από τους οποίους ήρθαν ειδικά από το εξωτερικό.

Το μοναστήρι ιδρύθηκε γύρω στο έτος 1000 μ.Χ. από Κόπτες και το 1425 περιήλθε στην ιδιοκτησία των Αρμενίων. Είναι αφιερωμένο στον Άγιο Μακάριο τον Ερημίτη της Αλεξάνδρειας και βρίσκεται στην ανατολική πλευρά του τουρκοκρατούμενου Πενταδάκτυλου σε υψόμετρο 550 μέτρων και σε μικρή απόσταση από τη Χαλεύκα, εντός του δάσους της Πλατανιώτισσας. Η τεράστια γη του μοναστηριού, που ανέρχεται σε πάνω από 8.000 σκάλες, περιλαμβάνει 30.000 ελαιόδεντρα και χαρουπόδεντρα, εκτείνεται μέχρι τη θάλασσα και χαρακτηρίζεται ως γραφική και ειδυλλιακή. Από το μοναστήρι μπορεί κάποιος να διακρίνει την οροσειρά του Ταύρου στην Κιλικία, που βρίσκεται ακριβώς απέναντι.

Το Αρμενομονάστηρο υπήρξε δημοφιλές προσκύνημα για Αρμένιους και μη-Αρμένιους για αιώνες, καθώς και χώρος ανάπαυσης Καθόλικων (Πατριαρχών) και άλλων ιερωμένων από την Κιλικία, την Ιερουσαλήμ και την Αρμενία, αλλά και πόλος έλξης ντόπιων και ξένων περιηγητών, όπως και προσκυνητών που βρίσκονταν καθοδόν προς τους Αγίους Τόπους. Το μοναστήρι λειτουργούσε επίσης ως θερινό θέρετρο, όπου παραθέριζαν Αρμένιοι πρόσκοποι και μαθητές, συμπεριλαμβανομένων και μαθητών του Εκπαιδευτικού Ινστιτούτου Μελκονιάν, πολλοί από τους οποίους ήταν ορφανά της Αρμενικής Γενοκτονίας. Ένας μεγάλος αριθμός υπέροχων και ανεκτίμητων χειρόγραφων που χρονολογούνται από 1202, καθώς και άλλων εκκλησιαστικών κειμηλίων στεγάζονταν εκεί. Ευτυχώς, το 1947 μερικά από αυτά σώθηκαν όταν μεταφέρθηκαν στο μουσείο «Κιλικία» του Καθολικάτου της Κιλικίας.

Το Αρμενομονάστηρο είναι το μοναδικό αρμενικό μοναστήρι στην Κύπρο και, μαζί με την εκκλησία της Παρθένου Μαρίας στην κατεχόμενη Λευκωσία, είναι το σημαντικότερο αρμενικό εκκλησιαστικό μνημείο στο νησί. Κατακτήθηκε το 1974 κατά την τουρκική εισβολή και από τότε παραμένει βουβό, ερειπωμένο, συλημένο και ασυντήρητο, αφημένο στο έλεος της φύσης, περιμένοντας τους νόμιμους ιδιοκτήτες του να επιστρέψουν.

Βαρτκές Μαχτεσιάν
Εκπρόσωπος της Αρμενικής Κοινότητας




Simon Aynedjian - Gibrahayer e-magazine - Nicosia 22 April - Armenians in Cyprus have a singular, complex and fateful mission in these historic lands. Our conflictual history continues on an island that its own turbulent history converges, and blue-prints a common path with its people, with whom we now walk together and face the challenges of tomorrow.
We are not just another community trying to make the next day away from our lands, as our island is littered with "forensic evidence" that is being challenged day-in day-out a century later.
On the eve of the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the historic 2nd pilgrimage to Sourp Magar Monastery on May 10, our community re-evaluates, prepares and declares.

- We are travelling to Sourp Magar Monastery not as tourists but as owners of our land. Owners, not only of the lands that belong to our Church within the property of the
Monastery, but as owners of the occupied lands around it, as Cypriot citizens.
- The effects of the Genocide as well as the invasion of Cyprus are as current as the time they were perpetrated. Time will heal the wounds, only if Genocide and invasion are called with their name, evaluated and addressed as such.
- If the loots of Genocide and invasions are rewarded, we all run the risk of building societies that accept violence and build a future based on it.
- Turkish society is increasingly showing signs of coming to terms with its past. Turkish Cypriots, as witnesses of the influx of the first Genocide survivors of the Ar menians in Cyprus and the first society that welcomed the Armenian refugees, have a unique role to serve as a catalyst in assisting Turks in the mainland for reconciling with their past.

The "forensic evidence" must be put on the table.

However, this is not enough.

In order to claim what rightfully belongs to us and to stay as a strong link in the history of the Armenians in Cyprus, we have to stay committed.
- Committed to taking the correct decisions when we run our community affairs, politically, culturally, and most important of all regarding our educational institutions.
- Committed to the process of a Cyprus solution that will recognise the fundamental human rights of all the people of Cyprus, free from military presence and military threats.
- Committed to showing the world that Cyprus can be a model of co-existence between the ethnic and religious minorities in which Armenian and Turkish Cypriots will serve as a mode l of peace.
- Committed to our history and our link to the past.
- Committed... to our land and in the name of the our lands from which we were forcefully driven away .... not just once.

This year too...
when we all make our way to Sourp Magar Monastery
when we face the path that brought us here and created our community
when we face and sing "Cilicia" across the sea and the land that our forefathers called "home"

Let us renew our vows and stay committed
in the name of our lands...


Simon Aynedjian - Nicosia (Gibrahayer) 1 July, 2005 – It is business as usual for the kiosk operating at Sourp Magar Monastery. With the 2.5 km road from Halevka junction now open–and the huge billboard inviting picnickers in the Pantataktylos mountain region–the Sourp Magar monastery–now in ruins–has suddenly been transformed into a popular picnic destination.

"Ermeni Manastiri" reads the sign leading to the ruins. There we came across both Greek and Turkish Cypriots–enjoying traditional shish kebabs and playing football with the members of their family in front of the monument erected in 1933 on the occasion of the visit of Catholicos Sahag of Cilicia.

It is business as usual for the kiosk operating at Sourp Magar Monastery where everything seems the same–that is only if you’re very bad at mathematics.

Going back 30 years–you would have found a few scenes missing–but there are certainly more than a few scenes missing now. One needs not to be an expert in subtractions in order to grasp this new equation.

Missing are the few hundred Armenia’s who would have been in the Monastery on a Sunday afternoon: the family christening their infant–my godfather’s–Karnig Kouyoumdjian’s–christening basin that he built for his grand children and for the Armenian community of Cyprus.

Actually almost everything is missing except for the desecrated walls of the Church.
The inconspicuous Cross on the Church– also missing. So are the windows and the doors in every room–the icons and the pictures–the candles and the scent–as well as most of the floors.

DANGER warns one sign! I wonder if the holes on the ground are in fact the sole root of our problems…
The big room facing the sea–where we had our family get-togethers–is also missing. The floor has simply vanished. I remember–during winter times–we used to rush to the window–to witness with our naked eye–the first signs of snow on the multiple peaks of the Tarsus Mountains.

From the same window one can meet the sea-path through which our own grandparents entered Cyprus–fleeing the Genocide and the deportations carried out by the Ottoman Turkish Government against the Armenia’s in 1915.

The same path was later used by the storming Turkish army who invaded the island 30 years ago.

What does that add up to now?
To view imags of the Pilgrimage in 2007 click here

EXIT - Editorial by Simon Aynedjian

GIBRAHAYER e-magazineNicosia Wednesday 10 February - It is not by chance that during a relatively brief period of time, in two neighbouring countries around Turkey, coalition partners first in Armenia and now in Cyprus are exiting their reciprocal governments.
It is not by chance, because what is happening in our region - at the expense of Cyprus and Armenia - is the result of an orchestrated plan to red-carpet Turkey to a hegemonic regional super-power and to secure her with a safe passage to the European continent.
This effort would have been welcome by all, if the Turkish entry was accompanied by traces of real change and not mere cosmetic ones. By traces of change that would truly manifest that a new Turkey is in the making, with European specifications and European values.
As everyone is well aware ... this is not the case.
By only paying lip-service to both friends and foes, Turkey wants a ticket to a Union whose fundamental principles she violates.
Turkey is benefiting from the spoils of the invasion in Cyprus in 1974, continues to deny the reality of the Armenian Genocide and continues her blockade on Armenia, to name but a few.
Turkey now wants medals, for accepting the Annan Plan (that would capitulate the Cyprus Republic in 2004), for ratifying the Protocols (that would solidify the spoils of the Genocide) and wants a free no-cost pass, to the European elite.
ARF Dashnaktsoutiun and EDEK - the two socialist parties in Armenia and Cyprus on the east and south flanks of Turkey - have found themselves on a similar path. To leave a coalition that they joined in an effort to influence their respective governments and not to accept an all-out surrender and a peace process whose cost would be too high to manage, for generations to come.
Although EDEK and ARF Dashnaktsoutiun can both feel they have politically done the right thing in leaving their coalition partners, the process of surrender (or peace, as history will call it) will be completed without them and both Armenia and Cyprus will be unable to show enough clout to resist regional policy decisions, while the coalition exit parties will feel that their parties were not empowered by their people adequately - to make their exit - a statement to be reckoned with, to receptors both at home and across the border.

© 2007 Gibrahayer e-Magazine
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