The Conservative Friends of Cyprus cut its New Year’s vasilopita on Tuesday 25 January at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Bayswater.
The cake was blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, who expressed his warmest wishes to the attendees and stressed that the Archdiocese is welcoming everyone irrespective of politics or any other background.
The Conservative Friends of Cyprus (CFCyprus) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and Executive Chairman Jason Charalambous shared best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.
Among those who attended the event were Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers, President of the Conservatives Friends of Cyprus in the House of Commons and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Cyprus, Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South, Ben Everitt, MP for Milton Keynes North, David Burrowes, PM’s Deputy Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Andreas Kakouris, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic Ioannis Raptakis, Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus Theodoros Gotsis, Deputy Head of Mission at the Greek Embassy Iphigenia Kanara and President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Christos Karaolis.
The vasilopita celebration brought together members of the British Cypriot community and Conservative MPs.
Since 2017, the Conservative Friends of Cyprus have hosted an annual reception in Parliament to mark the occasion and share this wonderful and ancient tradition with friends.
Theresa Villiers MP told Parikiaki: “I would like to send my new year wishes to Cypriots as we mark this happy vasilopita event in the official residence of His Eminence the Archbishop of Thyateira. It’s a great honour to be in the Archbishop’s home.
“We normally seek to highlight Cypriot culture by hosting this in Parliament, but for various reasons that’s not yet possible, because Parliament isn’t fully back open again.
“We have had a very special evening and it is, I think, a heartening message of hope and good luck that comes with a vasilopita cake and the memory of Saint Basil as well. We’ve all once again renewed our commitment to supporting Cypriots in their efforts to find a lasting, balanced and just solution which will reunite Cyprus again.
“And we’ve also had very much a focus on the religious significance of vasilopita, we’ve heard from His Eminence more about the Orthodox Church and we’ve had with us the Prime Minister’s Deputy Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief, my friend, David Burrows, a long-time friend of Cyprus, who highlighted the destruction and neglect of Christian sites in northern Cyprus, which is one of the saddest aspects of the division of the island of Cyprus. I very much hope in years to come we will see a united Cyprus with everyone able to live together. All Cypriots together and these sites once again restored to their former beauty.”
Mike Wood MP added: “This event is so important as a sign of our solidarity with the Cypriot community both within the United Kingdom and of course within Cyprus.
“Cypriot communities across the UK, but particularly for me around the West Midlands, are such important parts of our community. The work that the Conservative Friends of Cyprus in particular do in making sure that the voices of the Cypriot diaspora are heard within the Conservative Party, within government and within our wider communities is really, really important.
“I was in Cyprus with the All-Party Group for Cyprus back in November as the guest of the Cypriot Parliament, meeting both parliamentarians and community groups within Cyprus and listening to the concerns around Turkish aggressions, the provocations, the worries of the local community within Cyprus. It was worrying. This is on our European doorstep. And of course it affects directly the families of so many people within our communities.
“I think there’s obviously a strong desire for a free and united Cyprus amongst many of the population within Cyprus and also within our communities here in in the UK. Of course what we don’t know is particularly whether President Erdogan is willing to invest in that peace, the stability and the benefits it would bring for the whole island of Cyprus.”
Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Cyprus, Jason Charalambous, told our newspaper: “We’re very pleased to be maintaining this tradition of the cutting of the vasilopita as Conservative Friends of Cyprus. We’ve traditionally held this event in Parliament. Unfortunately, this year it wasn’t possible due to the ongoing restrictions caused by Covid.
“We’re very grateful to His Eminence for hosting us. We know that the archdiocese is a welcoming place, open to any group within our community.
“We’re very grateful to the Members of Parliament who made the journey from Westminster to be here. It’s very important that as a community we are flying the flag within British politics for Cyprus, for the British Cypriot community to show our elected officials that we are a community that deserves to be listened to and acknowledged and for our views to be acknowledged.”

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