On Wednesday 18 March, 2009, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II inaugurated the building which houses the Office of the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the European Union. The listed building at 2, Ambiorix Square, which was purchased from the Republic of Cyprus, had for a number of years housed the Permanent Representation of Cyprus to the European Union and the Cyprus Embassy.
Present at the ceremony were members of the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus (Bishop Georgios of Paphos and Suffragan Bishop Leontios of Chytra), a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, representatives of other Orthodox Churches and of other Christian faiths, the Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Markos Kyprianou, EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, Cypriot and Greek Members of the European Parliament, Belgian Members of Parliament, the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the European Union, a number of ambassadors and other officials.
The simple ceremony began at the entrance to the building with the cutting of the ribbon and the unveiling of a memorial plaque, and then continued in the events hall on the first floor where His Beatitude presided over the brief Service of Blessing. He then gave an address. Other speakers were EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and Yiannakis Matsis, MEP. A written message was sent by Italian MEP Mario Mauro, a Vice-President of the European Parliament.
After a performance of hymns by a Byzantine choir, His Beatitude inaugurated an exhibition of photographs depicting Byzantine treasures from Cyprus which have been held by the German police authorities in Munich since 1998. Seized from apartments belonging to the Turkish dealer in illicit antiquities, Aydin Dikmen, they come from more than 50 churches in the occupied areas of Cyprus, from archaeological museums and private collections. In 2004, an ongoing legal battle for their repatriation began in the Munich courts.
The ceremony ended with a reception for all the invited guests.
The full texts (in Greek) of His Beatitude’s address and those of the other speakers are available on the website of the Representation.