Around one thousand Muslims visit Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaka on Ramazan pilgrimage

Around one thousand Muslims of Turkish origin living in the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus have crossed into the southern government-controlled areas of the island to attend a special Ramazan Bayrami (Eid al-Fitr) service at Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaka, one of Islam’s holiest sites.

According to a press release issued by the Office of RTCYPP, the special pilgrimage to Hala Sultan Tekke was organised and led by the Mufti of Cyprus.

The head of the Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II through his representative, Archimandrite Rev. Ioannis Ioannou of Apostolos Barnabas Monastery sent greetings of peace and love to the Mufti of Cyprus.

Father Ioannis was joined by Father Jerzy Kraj, Latin Patriarchal Vicar and Representative of the Apostolic Nunciature in Cyprus.

Both clerics extended their best wishes to all Muslims living in Cyprus on the occasion of the feast of Ramazan Bayram. We pray for a Cyprus where Christians and Muslims can once again know each others traditions and feasts and celebrate them together like they used to said Father Ioannis Ioannou at the end of the prayer service.

The Mufti and the pilgrims present warmly received the Christian religious leaders and the Office of RTCYPP who came to express their best wishes. Today is one of the fruits of the religious leaders dialogue and cooperation for which we are

both committed to and most grateful for, said Mufti Talip Atalay.

Before we initiated the RTCYPP the religious leaders of Cyprus had not met for decades, nor did they know each other, now they tell each other that they are brothers and stand up for each other. said Salpy Eskidjian, Executive Coordinator of the Office of RTCYPP who serves as the main facilitator of the religious leaders dialogue in Cyprus.

With their united presence here today, the religious leaders of Cyprus as well as the pilgrims send another positive message that Christians and Muslims of Cyprus respect religious freedom and each other and if given the chance they can live together again.

Archbishops of the Armenian and Maronite Churches of Cyprus sent their messages of support and best wishes for the Bayram via the Office of RTCYPP.

The special pilgrimage to Hala Sultan Tekke is the result of an unprecedented agreement between the religious leaders of Cyprus, namely H.B. Archbishop Chrysostomos II of the Church of Cyprus and the Mufti of Cyprus H.E. Dr Talip Atalay.

The agreement was reached in 2014 within the framework of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden(RTCYPP) and has had the full support of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of

Cyprus, Kasoulides.

The special pilgrimages organised by the Mufti of Cyprus are coordinated by the Office of RTCYPP and facilitated by UNFICYP. This was the 9th pilgrimage within this framework agreement since 2014.

Source: Cyprus News Agency