Easter service to be held in Famagusta church

Greek Cypriots have been authorised to hold a Good Friday mass at a church in the walled city of Famagusta on for the first time in decades.

Famagusta mayor-in-exile Alexis Galanos (above) said Friday’s landmark service at St George Exorinos church will send a message of reconciliation on one of the most important dates in the Greek Orthodox calendar.

Asked about security issues, he said the Turkish Cypriot Mayor of Famagusta, Oktay Kayalp, with whom he cooperates closely, had taken measures, and the event was being held with the approval of the Turkish Cypriot religious leader.

It will be the Famagusta church’s first Easter service for almost 60 years, said Galanos who joined forces with Turkish Cypriot Mayor Oktay Kayalp to organise the mass expected to draw about 4,000 worshippers. “This event is bigger than any of us,” Galanos told reporters on Wednesday. “A message of reconciliation will be given through this service.”

Because of intercommunal troubles before the island gained independence from Britain in 1960, religious services at St George Exorinos ceased 58 years ago.

However, because the climate of trust has improved, the church in Famagusta has hosted Greek Orthodox morning mass twice since last December.

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