Cyprus
April 21
Europe


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The country has been divided as a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974 and occupation of the north. The Greek and Turkish populations have been separated: the North calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the South claiming the whole island as the Republic of Cyprus (ROC). The ROC is internationally recognized as the legal government of the whole island, and only Turkey recognizes the TRNC. Below, some statistics apply to the whole island and some to the two entities.

GEOGRAPHY

Area 9,251 sq.km. Strategic island in NE Mediterranean Sea. ROC in the south is 64% of the island, TRNC in the north is 36%.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 785,551 +1.09% 85 per sq. km.
2010 843,015 +0.62% 91 per sq. km.
2025 900,281 +0.33% 97 per sq. km.

There are also 35,000 Turkish military in TRNC and 12,000 Greeks in ROC.

RELIGION

The Christians are almost all in ROC and Muslims in TRNC. There is freedom of religion in the ROC and TRNC, but proselytism by minority groups is carefully monitored.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 74.14 582,015 +1.2%
Muslim 23.00 180,677 +0.6%
non-Religious/other 2.90 22,771 +2.3%
Jewish 0.02 160 +1.3%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 13 0.21 2 +0.8%
Independent 15 0.18 1 +7.9%
Anglican 1 0.42 3 -0.6%
Catholic 3 1.30 10 +0.4%
Orthodox 3 67.78 532 +0.2%
Marginal 3 0.45 4 +1.1%
Unaffiliated   3.80 30 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Greek Orthodox O 379 189,286 530,000
Catholic [3] C 12 4,500 10,200
Jehovah's Witnesses M 21 1,900 3,400
Anglican A 7 1,320 3,300
Armenian Apostolic O 1 1,264 2,300
Charis. Chs/Gps [13] I 14 700 1,000
Armenian Evangelical P 2 140 350
Ch of God of Prophecy P 4 220 330
Apostolic Ch of J.C. I 2 200 300
Greek Evangelical P 2 120 200
Christian Brethren P 1 60 110
Other denoms [11]   13 585 1000
Total Christians [36]   459 200,300 552,500

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical

0.2

1 -1.6%
Charismatic

0.2

1 -1.2%
  Pentecostal

0.1

1 -1.1%

Missionaries from Cyprus
P,I,A 3 – all in Cyprus.

Missionaries to Cyprus
P,I,A 120 in 27 agencies; almost all based in Cyprus for wider ministry in the Middle East.


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Republic of Cyprus

GEOGRAPHY

Area 5,896 sq.km. The southern, less fertile two-thirds of the island.

Population 600,500. Over 180,000 refugees from the North after the Turkish invasion in 1974.

Capital (divided) Lefkosia (Nicosia) 190,000. Urbanites 69%.

PEOPLES

Cypriot 95.2%. Greek 562,000; Maronite 6,000; Armenian 2,700; Turk 500; Assyrian 200.

Foreign 4.8%. Arab 12,000; Russian 8,000; British 6,000; Asian 3,000.

Literacy 95%. Official languages Greek, Turkish; English widely used. All languages 5.

ECONOMY

Prostrated by the effects of the Turkish seizure of the north and a third of the population being made refugees. Rapid recovery and development of light industry and tourism. One sixth of the world's merchant ships are registered in Cyprus. Unemployment 2%. HDI 0.870; 26th/174. Income/ person $13,700 (48% of USA).

POLITICS

Ruled by 11 foreign empires over 3 millennia. After years of unrest by the Greek majority demanding union with Greece, independence from Britain was gained in 1960. Subsequent communal conflicts culminated in the 1974 abortive coup (supported by Greece) and subsequent Turkish invasion and partition of the island. As a result, 230,000 people became refugees. All efforts to achieve a settlement have foundered on the mistrust between the communities and intransigence of the politicians. Cyprus is in the process of joining the EU.

RELIGION

Christians 94.2%; non-Religious/other 4.8%; Muslim 1%.


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Challenges for Prayer

1 The 40-year conflict between the two communities has gone on too long. Entrenched intransigence and bitterness defy a peaceful resolution. Pray that both sides may recognize and admit past wrongs and find a satisfactory way to bring harmony and trust into their relationship, and even allow entry into the EU as a single entity.

2 The Orthodox Church has long been a refuge and guarantor of Greek Cypriot survival. The boundary between politics, culture and Church is blurred. Church attendance is high at 48%, but traditionalism is also strong. Pray for Holy Spirit renewal movements to bring many to a warm personal faith in Christ.

3 Evangelical churches among Greeks are few – the major ones being the Greek Evangelical and the Church of God of Prophecy. Negative propaganda against Evangelicals holds many back from considering joining one. Pray that the barriers of history, theology, prejudice and fear may be removed and significant church growth begin. Few workers and ministries are focused on the majority.

4 Ethnic minority Evangelicals have grown in variety and number of fellowships with significant life and outreach from the English-speaking, Russian, Filipino, Armenian, Sri Lankan and Iranian communities. Pray for the witness to their own communities and to the indigenous population.

5 The Logos bookstore (CLC) is a vital centre for books, tracts, and BCCs. Logos is also the core of a range of Christian education ministries that are a boost to the evangelical witness. Pray for the effective use and distribution of literature and also for the nation-wide EHC tract distribution.

6 Cyprus is a major base for Christian organizations ministering to the surrounding Middle Eastern states. All but a handful of expatriate Christian workers are involved in these rather than in local outreach. Pray specifically for:

a) A number of missions that have HQs or regional centres in Cyprus (MECO, CCCI, YWAM, Interserve, etc.).

b) Arabic literature which is both printed and stocked for distribution throughout the Middle East (MECOLIT, SGM). The Bible Society has distributed many Greek NTs throughout the ROC.

c) SAT7 which is based in Cyprus. This key, innovative Christian Satellite TV ministry is impacting the whole of the Arab world with its daily programmes which have a wide audience and good response.

d) Christian radio programmes that are broadcast by three Christian agencies over Cyprus Radio in Arabic and Armenian, but not in Greek or Turkish. Channel 7 is a commercial Christian radio station in the ROC broadcasting in both Greek and English.

e) The Logos School of English Education, started in 1973, has 160 students from all over the Middle East. It has a strong Christian testimony.

7 There are two large British military bases. Pray for the witness of Ministry to Military Garrisons and chaplains. Pray that a clear witness may be given by Christian service personnel to the Cypriots. Pray also for opportunities to share the gospel with the multi-national UN Peace-keeping Force.

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

GEOGRAPHY

Area 3,355 sq. km. The northern third and 55% of the coastline of the island.

Population 185,045 augmented by 45,000 Turkish Cypriot refugees in 1974 and 114,000 Turkish immigrants, but also losses of 54,000 Turkish Cypriots through emigration.

Capital (divided) Lefkosa (Nikosia) 40,000.

PEOPLES

Cypriot 99.4%. Turk 182,600; Greek 850; Maronite 420.

Other 0.6%.

Literacy 90%. Official language Turkish.

ECONOMY

Depressed and stagnating since 1974 because of economic and political isolation. Heavily dependent on Turkish subsidies and shares in Turkish high inflation figures. High unemployment. Standard of living much lower than ROC.

POLITICS

A democratic government set up after the 1974 partition, but diplomatic isolation followed the declaration of the separate state of TRNC in 1983 which Turkey alone recognizes and acts as its only lifeline.

RELIGION

A secular republic with two established religions – Islam (98%) and Christianity (0.7%).

Challenges for Prayer

1 Almost the entire population is Muslim, but also very secularized. About 10% are regular mosque-goers. Pray that the historic prejudice against Christianity may be broken down. There is little known focused outreach to them.

2 A small group of about 20 Turkish believers has come into being. Pray for them, for their outreach and growth in numbers.

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