Armenians in Cyprus

Armenians in Cyprus or Armenian-Cypriots (Armenian: Կիպրահայեր, Greek: Αρμενοκύπριοι, Turkish: Kıbrıs Ermenileri) are ethnic Armenians who live in Cyprus. The relation of Armenians with Cyprus and their presence on the island are very old and there has been a mutual economic and cultural association for many centuries. Armenians in Cyprus are a structured community with a long history and their presence has enriched the island in several ways; they are a recognised minority with their own language, schools, churches, cemeteries, monuments, information media, social institutions, customs, traditions and cultural life. During the last 55–60 years, the number of Armenians in Cyprus has decreased due to emigrations to other countries and integration into the rest of Cypriot society, including intermarriage; their number today is smaller than 80 or 90 years ago. Economically, Armenian-Cypriots have tended to be self-employed businessmen/merchants, professionals or craftsmen.

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 in general: during the Middle Ages, Cyprus had an extensive connection with the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, while the Ganchvor monastery had an important presence; during the Ottoman Era, the church of Sourp Asdvadzadzin and the Magaravank were very prominent. In more recent times, the short-lived National Educational Orphanage and the famous Melkonian Educational Institute were very influential; the presence of the Armenian Legion in Cyprus is also worth mentioning, while the emigration of a large number of Armenian-Cypriots to the United Kingdom virtually shaped today's British-Armenian community. Also worth mentioning is the fact that certain Armenian-Cypriots were or are very prominent on a Pan-Armenian or international level and the fact that, for nearly half a century, the survivors of the Armenian Genocide mingled and co-existed peacefully with the Turkish-Cypriots, perhaps a unique phenomenon across the Armenian Diaspora. Additionally, the history and the various other aspects of the Armenian community of Cyprus are extremely well-documented. Finally, Cyprus was the first country to bring the issue of the Armenian Genocide recognition to the plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1965 and the second country in the world to recognise the Armenian Genocide in 1975.

Currently, Armenians in Cyprus maintain a notable presence of about 3.500 on the island (including about 1.000 non-Cypriot Armenians, mainly from Armenia, Georgia, Lebanon, Russia and Syria), mostly centred around the capital Nicosia, but also with communities in Larnaca and Limassol, where they have churches, schools, associations, cemeteries, monuments and newspapers; there is also a small unstructured Armenian community in Paphos (virtually all of its members originate from Armenia). 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 recognised as a “religious group” and have opted to belong to the Greek-Cypriot community. The Armenian-Cypriot community is strongly supported, financially and morally, by the Republic of Cyprus and Armenian-Cypriots are represented by an elected Representative in the House of Representatives; since May 2006, the Representative is Vartkes Mahdessian, a prominent businessman from Nicosia, who was re-elected in May 2011 for a new term in the House of Representatives. The religious leader of the community, since August 1997, is Catholicosal Vicar Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian, accountable to the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.

Read more about Armenians In Cyprus:  History, Demography, Politics, Social Life, Legal Status and Representation, Elections, Religion, Places of Worship, Education, The Armenian Quarter, The Armenian Legion, Nerkaght, Information Media, Notable Personalities, Timeline