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Church in Turkish Cyprus ransacked

RIMINI (SE): Churches in Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus are being forcibly stripped and turned into warehouses and, in some cases, even museums or mosques, said Archbishop Chrysostomos II, from the Church of Cyprus, at the annual gathering of Christian Churches in Rimini, Italy, on August 20.

This is the 33rd gathering to be hosted in the city and is being attended by representatives from 120 Christian Churches.

The archbishop added that many of the artworks that have been stripped out of the church buildings have been confiscated and sold off.

He added that Christians have also suffered from a lack of religious liberty, as well as physical violence, and he said that things that traditionally could be done free of charge now have a fee on them.

He cited the example of the tomb of the apostle, Barnabas, which he said had always been open to the public for free, now has an entry fee on it.

Archbishop Chrysostomos accused Turkey of trying to eliminate Christianity in the areas of Cyprus under its control.

“Cancelling out the Christian presence is worrying,” he said, “as Christian values have so much to contribute to humanity.”

Franco Frattini, a former minister for foreign affairs in Italy, and currently the president of the Alcide de Gasperi Foundation, was quoted by as saying that religious liberty is not limited to personal worship, but includes the ability to express the faith publically.

Salman Shaik, director of the Brookings Doha Centre, which researches in Muslim nations, said that following the so-called Arab Spring, religious liberty needs to be given a much clearer focus in all societies.


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