Trenton, NJ – “We pray for a free Cyprus” said Father James Pavlow, during services this past Sunday. St. George Greek Orthodox church hosted a memorial service during liturgy, in honor of the 1200 missing, soldiers, civilians and persons from the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

For 40 years now the island has been occupied and divided. A wave of 160,000 Anatolian Turk settlers have colonized the region, and claimed property seized by the Turkish government. The occupied north is only recognized by Turkey and continues to be part of a global embargo limiting any kind of growth in the northern part of the island.

In recent months, Vice President Biden made a visit to Cyprus and addressed the Island nation, that boosted the confidence of Hellenes around the world. Cypriots in North America feel favorable about the visit and his commitments to change the situation. The Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the Turkish occupied Karpas peninsula is expected to be restored within the framework of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/PF). Although, not related to Biden’s remarks, it is another step forward for Christians and Cypriots.

Stelios Tenoksidis (President of the Cyprus Society of Greater Philadelphia) addressed the church members at a luncheon following the memorial services. He spoke on behalf of the Philadelphia community and it’s dedicated effort to Cypriots. He also directed his fellow Hellenes to make a difference by continuing to work with in the framework of the American political system. “ Please write your congressmen and senators”. By doing so we keep the Cyprus problem alive, said Tenoksidis.

Constantine, Tsentas (President of the Cyprus Federation of America), Vasilios Philippou (Consulate General of the Republic of Cyprus) also spoke to the parishioners and thanked Greek-Americans for their continued effort and support of the Cypriot occupation.