During the 1963–1964 inter-communal troubles, the Armenian-Cypriot community suffered major losses, as the Armenian quarter of Nicosia fell into the Turkish Cypriot-controlled area: taken were the Prelature building, the mediaeval Virgin Mary church, the Melikian-Ouzounian school, the Genocide Monument, the club houses of the Armenian Club, AYMA and Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), as well as the Armenian Evangelical church; also taken was the mediaeval Ganchvor church in Famagusta. In total, 231 Armenian-Cypriot families became victims and/or lost their shops and enterprises. As a result, hundreds of Armenian-Cypriots left for Great Britain, Canada, Australia and the United States. After the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the Armenian-Cypriot community suffered additional losses, several families became refugees, the renowned Magaravank monastery in Pentadhaktylos was taken by the Turkish troops, the Melkonian boys dormitory was bombed by the Turkish Air Force, while the Ayios Dhometios Armenian cemetery was hit by mortars and fell within the buffer zone. As a result, dozens of Armenian-Cypriots emigrated, mainly to Great Britain. In total, about 1,300 Armenian-Cypriots left Cyprus in the 1960s and 1970s, in addition to those who emigrated to Soviet Armenia.
Armenians in Cyprus
Armenians in Cyprus or Armenian-Cypriots (Armenian: Կիպրահայեր, Greek: Αρμενοκύπριοι, Turkish: Kıbrıs Ermenileri) are ethnic Armenians who live in Cyprus. They are a recognized minority with their own language, schools, churches. Despite the relatively small number of Armenians living in Cyprus, the Armenian-Cypriot community has had a significant impact upon the Armenian Diaspora and the Armenian nation. During the Middle Ages, Cyprus had an extensive connection with the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, while the Ganchvor monastery had an important presence in Famagusta. During the Ottoman Era, the Virgin Mary church and the Magaravank were very prominent. Certain Armenian-Cypriots were or are very prominent on a Panarmenian or international level and the fact that, for nearly half a century, the survivors of the Armenian Genocide have co-operated and co-existed peacefully with the Turkish-Cypriots is perhaps a unique phenomenon across the Armenian Diaspora.The emigration of a large number of Armenian-Cypriots to the United Kingdom has virtually shaped today’s British-Armenian community.
Currently, Armenians in Cyprus maintain a notable presence of about 3,500 on the island (including about 1,000 non-Cypriot Armenians), mostly centred on the capital Nicosia, but also with communities in Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos. The Armenian Prelature of Cyprus is located in Nicosia. According to the 1960 Constitution of Cyprus, together with the Maronites and the Latins, they are recognized as a “religious group” and have opted to belong to the Greek-Cypriot community and Armenian-Cypriots are represented by an elected Representative in the House of Representatives. Since May 2006, the Representative is Vartkes Mahdessian. The religious leader of the community, since June 2014, is Catholicosal Vicar Archbishop Nareg Alemezian, accountable to the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.