President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday inaugurated a collection of items belonging to former President Glafcos Clerides which were donated by Katy Clerides to the Bishopric of Tamasos.
Anastasiades said the collection of rare items highlighted a not-so-well-known aspect of Clerides; his relationship with religion and the Church.
“The Glafcos Clerides that I knew was a traditional, devout man,” he said.
“He was a man who saw everything around him as dynamic, realistic and scientific but this approach of never brought him into conflict with religion simply because he had a deep respect for the faith of the people, whatever it was,” Anastasiades added.
“Glafcos Clerides was deeply and consciously tolerant.” He put it down to Clerides’ time spent as a prisoner of war during World War II, saying a fellow POW had described Clerides in his writings as someone given to altruism even in the toughest of conditions.
“Glafcos Clerides managed to turn the tragic experiences of war, hatred and destruction into a belief in peace. The vision of peaceful coexistence on the island ran throughout his political career,” he added.
The donated collection consists of Byzantine art, paintings, icons Cypriot folk art and antiques.
Ruling DISY on earlier paid tribute to Clerides at a memorial service in Episkopi to mark the second anniversary of his death.
In his speech, DISY leader Averof Neophytou paid tribute to the former President who held office for two terms, from 1993 to 2003, and had founded the party in 1976.
Neophytou said Clerides has always followed a policy of national reconciliation and had created the conditions for a realistic and responsible line on the Cyprus issue, which has characterised the policies of the party ever since.
He said Clerides had also achieved “the highest political and diplomatic triumph since the founding of the Republic, which was none other than the accession of Cyprus to the EU.”
Clerides, he said from an early point had declared his faith in European integration process and the European orientation of Cyprus “not only because it considered that the Cyprus belongs historically and culturally to Europe, but also because he believed that a united Europe could make a constructive contribution to the solution of the Cyprus problem”.
“Glafcos Clerides succeeded in integrating Cyprus into the European Union… unfortunately, however, he did not live to see his vision completed with regard to the reunification of the motherland,” he added.
“But this vision remains with us as an historical obligation,” Neophytou added.