Greece pledged solidarity with Cyprus as it paid tribute to President makarios who died from a heart attack in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia early on Wednesday (3 August).
Greece pledged solidarity with Cyprus as it paid tribute to President makarios who died from a heart attack in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia early on Wednesday (3 August). News of the death of the Archbishop, once symbol of the cause of union between his Mediterranean island state and Greece, spread swiftly in Athens, Greece, and throughout the country.
The 63-year-old Makarios survived exile, several assassination attempts and a coup during a turbulent career. The major crisis of his political life came in 1974 when he was overthrown by the Greek-officered Cyprus National Guard and fled to exile in Britain. There, a few weeks later, he watched helplessly as Turkey seized the northern 40 per cent of the island for the Turkish-Cypriot community. He combined his role as head of the Cyprus Greek orthodox church with his political career with distinction and dexterity.
SYNOPSIS: The news of the President's death came too late to be included in Greek morning newspapers, but it was prominently reported in all the afternoon papers. Greek radio stations cancelled normal programmes and played solemn music as a mark of respect for the departed leader. Flags were flown at half mast on all public buildings and some foreign embassies as well as in main squares. Greek Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis, in a message to acting Cypriot President, Sypros Kyprianou, expressed his Government's sorrow on the death of the Archbishop, the shepherd's son who led his island to independence from Britain in 1960 and dominated its turbulent politics. "In this difficult moment" said Mr. Karamanlis, "I give the assurance that the whole of Greece participates in the mourning of the Cypriot people and stands by its side."
Greek Socialist leader Andreas Papandreou also paid a tribute to the late President.
Archbishop Makarios suffered a mild heart attack in April this year, but returned to public life within three weeks. He had rarely suffered from illness during his gruelling public life.