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18-05-2019 12:35

Address by the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, at the unveiling of the Monument of “Peace and Tolerance”

I wish at the outset to congratulate the Community Board of Agios Tychonas for organizing and hosting this event and to express my deep appreciation to the President of the Board, my dear friend Pambos Ioannou, for his efforts in advancing the community’s interests for the past 35 years.

Beyond its long history and rich cultural heritage, Agios Tychonas continues to forge a path of creativity and this monument can be considered as yet another jewel in this beautiful area.

I also wish to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Nikolay Ivchikov, for so generously donating this sculpture, enriching Limassol’s cultural character.

Dear Mr. Ivchikov, this monument symbolises the long-standing friendship between Cypriots and Russians and the traditionally excellent relations between our two countries.

The friendly and expanding Russian Community in Cyprus, particularly here in Limassol, has significantly contributed over the years towards the further enhancement of our relations and cooperation.

I want to take a moment to pay homage to the artist of this monument, my dearest Philippos Yiapanis: one of the most famous sculptors in Cyprus, his art and work is highly appreciated, not only in Cyprus, but also worldwide.

Philippos, like thousands of other Cypriot refugees, was forced to leave his native city as a result of the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

The tragic consequences of the continued illegal occupation of his beloved Famagusta, as well as his own experiences as a prisoner, influenced his whole life and work, many times expressing through his art the importance of peace and freedom, like the monument we are unveiling now.

Today’s event has a great symbolic and unifying value and this monument, entitled “Peace and Tolerance”, stands as a testament of our commitment in creating those conditions allowing peace to hold and flourish.

Pericles, the prominent Greek statesman, observed that “What we leave behind is not what is engraved in monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others”. This wonderful sculpture sends a powerful message of peace, hope and unity, and honors all those who struggled for justice and freedom.

For us, this monument will remind us of Cyprus’ decisive role in promoting peace, security and international cooperation in our immediate region.

But most importantly, it symbolizes our untiring efforts to reach a comprehensive and viable settlement that will reunify our island. A solution that will allow us, through stability and lasting peace, to create the conditions for peaceful co-existence and a prosperous future for all Cypriots.

This is our strong commitment and determination so peace can finally prevail on the island.