By Evie Andreou
CYPRUS celebrated the 60th anniversary of the start of the EOKA struggle against British colonial rule on Wednesday, with liturgies and events held island wide.
In Nicosia, the main service was led by Archbishop Chrysostomos at Saint John’s Cathedral in the presence of President Nicos Anastasiades and other officials.
Later on, a prayer was delivered at the Imprisoned Graves within the central prisons and wreaths were laid on the graves of those who died during the 1955-1959 struggle. Also present were Defence minister Christophoros Fokaides and Justice minister Ionas Nicolaou, while wreaths were also laid by party officials, associations and members of the public.
In the afternoon, president Anastasiades attended the celebration of the anniversary at the Tasos Papadopoulos stadium in Nicosia.
Interior minister Socratis Hasikos represented the government at the celebrations in Limassol, where a service was held at Saint Nicolaos Church by Bishop of Amathus Nicolaos, followed by a procession at the hideout of EOKA military commander General Georgios Grivas Digenis.
A prayer was held and wreaths were laid, while torchbearers from the Limassol reservist commandos’ association carried a flame from Chlorakas, where Grivas first landed, and placed at the monument.
In Larnaca, celebrations began with peals of bells in all churches of the town and with the hoisting of the flag at the Eleftheria Statue Square in the presence of the town’s mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis and deputy district officer Odysseas Hadjistephanou.
“Our ultimate obligation toward all brave men of Cyprus who fought and were sacrificed in the name of freedom, is to safeguard the Republic of Cyprus and continue the struggle for a solution that will free Cyprus from foreign troops and the occupation,” said Health minister Philippos Patsalis after the service at the Saint Lazaros Church in Larnaca, conducted out by Bishop of Kition Chrysostomos.
He added that Cyprus wants nothing more than what every other state wants – peace.
A parade followed along the seafront Phinikoudes Avenue in the presence of Patsalis, town and military officials.
The Aradippou, Athienou and Lefkara municipalities held their own celebrations as well.
In Paphos, following the service at Saint Theodoros Cathedral, carried out by Bishop of Arsinoe Nektarios, Education minister Costas Kadis said that it is our obligation and learn from the spirit of the struggle and the ethos of the heroes as a parallel for our own struggle and to correct the ills of our society.
The town’s philharmonic played military music, while a prayer was delivered at the statue of Paphos-born Evagoras Pallikarides, where wreaths were laid.
Later in the evening, EOKA fighters lowered the flag at the October 28 Square in the presence of town officials and war veterans.
In the Famagusta District, celebrations begun with a student and scout parade and the hoisting of the flag outside the Paralimni town hall by mayor Theodoros Pyrilis of Famagusta.
The service was held at Saint Georgios church by Famagusta-Constantia Bishop Vasileios in the presence of Agriculture minister Nicos Kouyialis.
Later in the day, organisations from the whole district marched in a second parade. Wreaths were laid at the Monument of Heroes, while at 8pm, a candle procession took place organised by scouts and the Saint George Sunday school.
Services were also held in Ayia Napa, Deryneia and Sotira.