Armenian community visit Sourp Magar Monastery in Cyprus
THE Office of the Representative of the Armenian Community, Vartkes
Mahdessian, in co-operation with the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus,
organised the sixth visit-pilgrimage to the Sourp Magar Monastery, the
Famagusta Gazette informs.
Around 150 Armenian Cypriots visited the monastery on Sunday, some of
whom came especially from abroad.
The monastery was founded by Copts around the year 1000 AD and in 1425
it was inherited by the Armenians.
It is dedicated to Saint Makarios the Hermit of Alexandria and it is
located in the eastern part of the Turkish-occupied Pendadhaktylos
mountain at an altitude of 530 metres and a small distance from
Halevga, within the Plataniotissa forest.
The vast land of the monastery, which is about 8.500 donums, includes
30.000 olive and carob trees, extends up to the sea and is known to be
picturesque and idyllic.
>From the monastery one can see right opposite the Taurus mountain
range in Cilicia.
The Armenian Monastery had been for centuries a popular pilgrimage for
Armenians and non-Armenians and a place of recuperation for Catholicoi
(Patriarchs) and other Armenian clergymen from Cilicia and Jerusalem,
as well as a popular centre for local and foreign travellers and for
pilgrims en route to the Holy Land.
Furthermore, the monastery was used as a summer resort, where Armenian
scouts and students would camp, including students of the Melkonian
Educational Institute, many of whom were orphans of the Armenian
A large number of exquisite and priceless manuscripts, dating back to
1202, as well as other valuable ecclesiastical relics were housed
Fortunately, in 1947 some of them were saved when they were
transferred to the `Cilicia’ Museum of the Catholicosate of the Great
House of Cilicia.
The Magaravank is the only Armenian monastery in Cyprus and together
with the church of the Virgin Mary in occupied Nicosia, are the most
important Armenian monuments on the island.
It was occupied in August 1974 during the Turkish invasion and ever
since it remains at the mercy of nature, silent, ruined, desecrated
and deserted, awaiting for its rightful owners to return.