The Armenian community living on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, held mass in an Armenian Church in occupied Turkish Cyprus for the first time in the past 50 years.
Armenians from the northern and southern part of the island met in the church located in Nicosia for the mass.
Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian performed the mass, which was attended by approximately 500 people from the Armenian community.
The service was also attended by Lisa Buttenheim the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, Şevket Alemdar, imam of the Hala Sultan Mosque, along with a number of diplomats.
“I graduated from the schools near the church. These places were home to us. We are home now,” one of the participants of the service, Gora Terziyan, told Anadolu Agency.
She expressed hope that such steps would contribute to the peace process on the divided island.
Another participant of the service, Gula Kasabiyan, said the day was of particular significance, as being able to hold the service after half a century was evidence that the issues between the two sides of the island could be settled. “We should always look beyond for peace,” she added.
The Mediterranean island has been divided since Turkish troops intervened in 1974 in response to a Greek Cypriot coup seeking union with Greece.
The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the European Union and is internationally recognized with the exception of Turkey, which is the only country that recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the north.