Adventists Unite for Historic Sabbath on Divided Cyprus

The gathering of more than 200 people is the largest in the church’s century-long presence on the island.

Adventists Unite for Historic Sabbath on Divided Cyprus

Trans-European Division, with Adventist Review staff

Members and friends of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cyprus were reminded to bring their passports to worship on a recent Sabbath.

More than 200 Sabbath-keepers, many crossing the border in Nicosia, the last divided city in the world, united to worship their Creator God on the historic day.

Cyprus has been divided since a Turkish occupation of the northern part of the island in 1974. The south is controlled by Greek Cypriots.

This then was a high Sabbath, with morning worship crossing the divide and seeing the largest gathering in the church’s century-long presence on the Mediterranean island.

Moses Elation, 91, grandson of the first Adventist believer on this biblical island, was moved to tears by the occasion, which he attended with his wife, son, and grandson.

“I thoroughly enjoyed an extremely uplifting worship, a student choir of a professional quality, and the fellowship that followed,” he said.

The Adventist Church has two churches with 87 members on Cyprus, according to the latest statistics compiled by the world church’s Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research.

The Sabbath day was more than worship and fellowship. It also provided an opportunity for attendees to visit places associated with the biblical missionaries Paul and Barnabas, who are believed to have arrived on the island around 46 A.D.

Acts 13:4-12 describes the visit, saying the two men “traveled through the whole island” and “proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues” (NIV).

It was on Cyprus that a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus tried to dissuade the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, from embracing the faith taught by Paul.

Paul chastised Bar-Jesus, saying, “Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?” and struck him with blindness.

“When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed,” verse 12 says.

The Adventist believers who took the Sabbath tour of the island committed their lives to the same calling of those first Christian missionaries.