NICOSIA – Although Archbishop Demetrios had visited Cyprus on three previous occasions, his recent trip was particularly monumental insofar as it was his first visit to the region occupied by the Turks.
The few hundred Greek-Cypriots remaining in the northernmost points of the island welcomed the archbishop, who visited the villages of Agia Triada Yialousa, Rizokarpaso, and also the historic monastery of St. Andrew.
Demetrios also visited Famagusta – he went to the tomb of the Apostle Barnabas, the patron of the Church of Cyprus.
“It is a special blessing,” Demetrios said, of his opportunity to extend his visit to the occupied region.
Accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus John Koenig, Demetrios crossed over Nicosia into the occupied portion, and was joyfully welcomed. The church in Agia Triada, named after the village, rang the bell at his arrival. Demetrios joined the congregation, which sang the Pentecost hymn and also “Ti Ypermaho.” Demetrios also memorialized Giannakis, the son of Sava Lias, who in 1974 at age 21 died on the battlefield. The bones were found by the Commission for Missing Persons in a mass grave in occupied Kyrenia and buried in the village.
Koenig thanked Demetrios and said “the United States will do everything it can for the Greek Cypriots. You are a kernel of hope for a reunited Cyprus.”