Cyprus is a relatively small island situated in a strategic position between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. This has resulted in Cyprus being occupied by numerous foreign powers for much of its history. Having gained independence in 1960, Cypriots are a proud, hardworking people, with the vast majority of those in the Republic of Cyprus (south) being Greek Orthodox.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has had at least one church group in Nicosia operating for many years, with the grandfather of the eldest member (Moses Elmadjian) having been the first Cypriot Adventist member. Three language groups meet separately to worship each week within Nicosia, but there is still no building in which to meet. On the members’ behalf, the Trans-European Division (TED) received the 13th Sabbath overflow offering in 2020, but due to the COVID pandemic causing the closure of public worship in many countries across the globe, the amount received was not sufficient to fulfill the plan to build a purpose-built church. They hope to purchase part of a building in which at least one language group will be able to worship soon.
On Sabbath, February 18 (The Saturday of Souls for Orthodox Cypriots), Adventist members across the island met in Nicosia to celebrate the birth of a new church: Εκκλησίας Αντβεντιστών Έβδομης Ημέρας στη Λευκωσία (“Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nicosia”).
Pastor Robert Csizmadia, secretary for the TED, joined the members to inaugurate this new church. He shared a message about taking potentially risky actions in order to follow God’s will and enter the Promised Land. Pastor Kim Papaioannou, the pastor of the Greek-speaking church, ensured that all members were aware of the solemn charge of commitment at the beginning of their journey as a fully-fledged church. Nineteen members signed to commit to serving the church faithfully as they begin this new stage in their relationship with each other, the Cyprus Region, and God Almighty. The Sabbath day was one of praise, joy, and thankfulness for His leading in the lives of many people to enable this first primarily Greek-speaking Adventist church in Cyprus.
This is “one small step for man, but a giant leap” for the potential to reach out to the majority population in Nicosia, Cyprus.