(Greek/Turkish) Republic of Cyprus
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The Mediterranean Island of Cyprus has been occupied by a succession competing groups since ancient times, including Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. When the Roman Empire was divided it became a part of Byzantium. Richard the Lionheart took the island in 1191 and sold it to the Knights Templar who sold it to Guy de Lusignan. From 1192 until 1489 it was ruled under a feudal system. The Ottoman Turks gained control in 1571 and the British in 1878. Independence was achieved in 1960 but differences between Greek and Turkish Cypriots led to a 1974 invasion by Turkey. Today the island and its people are deeply divided; the southern part forms the Republic of Cyprus proper and is where the majority of the nearly 800,000 people live. Since 1982 the north eastern sector of the island has been calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and considers it an autonomous region. The island covers an area of 9,250 sq km (3,600 sq miles). The divided country is ruled as two de facto republics each with a single legislative body: the House of Representatives in the Greek area and the Assembly of the Republic in the Turkish area.
On May 1, 2004 Cyprus joined the European Union but attempts at reconciling the north and the south thus far have failed. In reality only the Greek Cypriot is operating within the EU.
The Turkish north relies largely on agricultural pursuits, including the cultivation of grapes, potatoes, cereals, olives and citrus fruits. Sheep, goats and cattle are also raised. In the Greek south is known for its production of copper, or kypros, the Greek word from which the island takes its name. Also the Greek south has a more diversified economy including tourism, manufacturing and military installations. The differences in the economic bases have led to a further widening of the divide between the two groups on the island.
Greek Orthodox 78%. The Islamic faith accounts for 18% while the remaining 4% are from a wide range of traditions.
The Stone-Campbell Movement got a foothold on Cyprus in 1974 when George Dumas of Greece started an a cappella Church of Christ in Nicosia, the capital city. American Steve Weathers worked with the group for a time but with his return to the United States the congregation ceased meeting. Bobbis Evdoxiados of Athens, Greece remains in occasional contact with the ten Christians who remain.
The International Churches of Christ planted a church in Limassol in 1997.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised by Gary Holloway, December 3, 2013
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
For online directories of a cappella Churches of Christ see: