In Cyprus, apart from the two major communities, the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot there are three other recognized religious minorities, the Armenians, the Latins and the Maronites. The Armenians are under the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Latins are under the Romeo-catholic church and the Maronites even though they recognized the Pope as their religious leader they have some differences with the Romeo-catholic church. The Maronites took their name from the “Saint Maronas”.
The Armenians came to Cyprus in the 578 AD. The Latins came between the 1191-1571. The Maronites came to Cyprus from Lebanon between the 8th and the 13th century. The Armenians, Latins and Maronites have a really important contribution to the economic, cultural and social life of the island. It should be mentioned that they have a really strong impact in the history of Cyprus.According to the Constitution the three recognized minorities had to decide in which community they would like to belong, either to the Greek Cypriot or to the Turkish Cypriot which is against the “Minority Rights”. The above minorities chose to belong to the Greek Cypriot Community.
The educational system has never focused to the multicultural aspect of Cyprus. It is rarely mentioned the fact that the Minorities have a really important contribution to the culture of the island. In the public schools the mainly taught religion is the Greek Orthodox religion, as a result, most of the Greek Cypriots students are completely ignorant about the context of the other religions.In the process of the discussions about the Cyprus problem the minorities who live in Cyprus have never been asked about the kind of the solution they want. In the process of the discussions is always emerging the nationalistic aspect of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriots Community without taking into account the needs and the opinion of the Minorities.
To sum up, I strongly believe that the two major communities should start getting know better the Minorities . Finally, I think that it’s time to start engaging the Minorities in the discussions for the Cyprus problem.