Cyprus Church plans for ethnological house draw heat

Cyprus Church plans for ethnological house draw heat

Local controversy is growing over the Archbishop’s decision to turn a famous folk house museum in old Nicosia into a church museum for next year’s bicentennial celebrations of the Greek Revolution.

According to local media, a new group online has gained 1500 members through a private page on Facebook, aimed at protesting a decision by Archbishop Chrysostomos to turn The House of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios into a church museum.

The Kornesios homestead is currently a tourist attraction being operated as an ethnological museum, where the residence of an Ottoman-era local councilor is on display for visitors and history tours. Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios served as dragoman, an official interpreter for the Sultan’s council, from 1779 until his execution in 1809.

Last week, media reported on the Archbishop’s plans to turn the Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios House into a church museum sometime this year after reports emerged that the Church, which owns the building, did not wish to renew their contract with the Antiquities Department.

Chrysostomos said the Church had no use for the Kornesios House in the last two years, after the contract had expired, so they did not raise the issue until now.

The decision is reportedly part of a wider effort to establish historic temples as well as the Kornesios House as visiting attractions in a network for tours under the banner of celebrating 200 years from the start of the Greek Revolution in 1821.

But a group of local architects, who oppose the Church’s decision, created the Facebook page to seek support in putting together a plan to counter the effort.

According to Philenews, the group “Respect For The House Of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios” believes the Church took the decision based on “bad advice” given to Archbishop Chrysostomos.

But Chrysostomos fired back on Monday, telling a local television news show that critics always tend to oppose the Church’s plans. He also vowed to preserve the historical significance of the House.

“If we were incompetent, I could understand this," Chrysostomos said, adding that "whatever the Church may decide to do, there are always critics who react all the time.”

Another dispute between the Church and the Department Antiquities made headlines last year, when officials insisted that the Archbishopric submitted revised preservation plans before a huge development project in Yeroskipou could go forward.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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