the establishment of the Cyprus Republic in
1960, many minority
religious groups became recognized through constitutional law.
Among these groups were the Maronites, the Armenians and the
Latins. The Latins, a Roman Catholic religious group, has a
history that dates back many centuries.
the Latin population is estimated at approximately 1,700 Cypriot
nationals, while the number of Latin registered voters is 645.
1960, when the Constitution was being drafted, the group wanted
to be referred to as a “Roman Catholic religious group”. The
Maronites then objected because they too were Roman Catholic.
Taking the initiative, Sir Hugh Foot, the last British Governor
of Cyprus, suggested they be referred to as “Latins”. The
group accepted the compromise.
the 1960 Constitution came into force, our religious group
numbered 1,100 people, but it steadily decreased because of
deaths, mixed marriages and emigration,” Benito, the group’s
elected representative said.
1991, when I was elected Representative, there were only 291
group members on our list and it seemed that we were
disappearing. Then I discovered by talking to various people
that many Roman Catholics, who had obtained citizenship were
uninformed about their constitutional right to belong to the
Latin religious group.”
Mantovani told The Cyprus Weekly that now, most Roman
Catholics who become Cypriot citizens usually leave the section
on their application form for enrollment to the electoral
register blank. The reason for this is that most of them are not
familiar with the term or its connotation. This causes the
community to lose potential members.
Benito Mantovani was elected as the Representative of the Latin
community in 1991, he began a campaign to locate and register
all the members who were eligible. He took the initiative after
speaking with various Roman Catholics who were not properly
informed of their right to be members of the Latin religious
group. Thus, Mantovani formed an advisory committee and with the
help of a cultural committee and several priests from the
community, he managed to raise the population to what it is
the fact that only about 50 of the original families are still
living in Cyprus, this does not stop the Latin community from
preserving their culture and religion. The Latin religious group
is directly linked with Rome. Churches have been established in
Nicosia, Larnaca and the Limassol seafront. They work closely
with other religious groups so they may maintain their religion.
government of Cyprus has arranged it so that the Latin children
may attend the traditional schools of Terra Santa and St. Joseph
free of charge.
social gatherings are constantly being organized, from church
services, to monthly dinners, to recreational activities.
facility, in which computer skills for employment will be
taught, opened on September 24, 2000. This facility will offer
leisure activities also.
Latin community has established itself and has created a voice
for itself in Cyprus. The representative, Benito Mantovani seems
hopeful about the future. He hopes that the presence of the
Latins will have a positive impact on the shaping of Cyprus as a