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Faith

Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus

04/19/2014 5:40 AM 0

FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus - An unexpected moment during the Good Friday service in a long-abandoned church in Cyprus' breakaway north illustrated how religion is helping to bring together Christian Greek Cypriots and Muslim Turkish Cypriots on this ethnically divided island.

It came ......

In this photo taken on Monday, April 14, 2014, Cyprus’ Grand Mufti Talip Atalay, the religious affairs leader of Turkish Cypriots in the breakaway north of the ethnically split country, is seen during an interview at his office in northern part of the divided capital Nicosia. In the background are the portraits of the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, left, and former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, centre. For the first time in nearly 60 years, a Good Friday service was held at the 14th-century church of Agios Georgios Exorinos in the medieval center of Famagusta. Cyprus was divided along ethnic lines in 1974 into a Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north after Turkey invaded following a coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. For decades, there was no contact between the religious leaders of the Christian Greek Cypriots and Muslim Turkish Cypriots. But that changed in 2009 with a kind of faith-based diplomacy that has quietly been conducted between the leader of the island’s Greek Orthodox Christian Church Archbishop Chrysostomos II and Turkish Cypriot Muslim Grand Mufti Talip Atalay. (AP Photo/Petros Kardjias) Show/Hide caption

In this photo taken on Monday, April 14, 2014, Cyprus’ Grand Mufti Talip Atalay, the religious affairs leader of Turkish Cypriots in the breakaway north of the ethnically split country, is seen during an interview at his office in northern part of the divided capital Nicosia. In the background are the portraits of the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, left, and former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, centre. For the first time in nearly 60 years, a Good Friday service was held at the 14th-century church of Agios Georgios Exorinos in the medieval center of Famagusta. Cyprus was divided along ethnic lines in 1974 into a Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north after Turkey invaded following a coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. For decades, there was no contact between the religious leaders of the Christian Greek Cypriots and Muslim Turkish Cypriots. But that changed in 2009 with a kind of faith-based diplomacy that has quietly been conducted between the leader of the island’s Greek Orthodox Christian Church Archbishop Chrysostomos II and Turkish Cypriot Muslim Grand Mufti Talip Atalay. (AP Photo/Petros Kardjias)

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