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 Genocide.
A large number of exquisite and priceless manuscripts, dating back to 1202, as well as other valuable ecclesiastical relics were housed there.
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.