Monastery Faces Legal Woes Over Natura 2000 Violations

In a recent revelation, the Osiou Avakoum monastery has been embroiled in an environmental scandal. The monastery, which has already been under scrutiny for allegations of misconduct among its clergy, is now facing legal challenges for its construction on land protected by the Natura 2000 environmental policy.

The monastery’s construction, which took place in 2020, has come under fire for not adhering to the strict environmental assessments required for building in a Natura 2000 area. Reports from Philenews suggest that government departments have been hesitant to authorize the monastery’s construction, leading to a significant delay in the legal processes intended to regularize the monastic facilities.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou has confirmed that the environmental issues, along with other concerns related to the monastery, are on the agenda for parliamentary discussion. The Nicosia District Administration has initiated legal proceedings against the monastery, the church committee, and Archimandrite Nektarios Georgiou for unauthorized constructions on the site.

Inspections carried out by the District Administration in September 2022 and March 2023 uncovered illegal constructions and a lack of final approvals for various buildings within the monastery compound. This includes monk accommodation, auxiliary rooms, warehouses, and offices.

Greens party leader Giorgos Perdikis criticized the handling of Natura areas in Cyprus, suggesting exploitation and negligence by state authorities. Disy MP Demetris Demetriou echoed these sentiments, labeling all buildings at the monastery as “illegal” and lacking necessary permits and legal provisions, including electricity and road access.

The controversy surrounding the Osiou Avakoum monastery is set to be addressed in court on March 24, where the illegal construction work will be examined. The monastery is also under police investigation following accusations of financial extortion reported by Bishop Isaias of Tamasos.

For continued updates on this developing story, follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News.

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