Cyprus Mail
Guest Columnist Opinion

My fight for a crematorium failed but I’m leaving with many happy memories

Archbishop Chrysostomos - 'If cremation ever becomes a facility here, I shall not allow my priests to officiate at services'

Expat View

By Clive Turner

This is what you might call ‘a wave and goodbye’ piece. After living here for 17 years and writing many ‘Expat View’ articles, my wife and I are returning to the UK to rejoin our families. They want us back. Our home here is far too big for just two people, and as we get older and our grandchildren grow up and can no longer come out here for weeks on end, filling the house with energy and laughter, it is time for a step change in our lives – and a new era.

We have enjoyed our lives in Cyprus, along with the other 150,000 expatriates who have shared this island with our hosts. There has been much to enjoy, not least the Cypriot culture, the country’s history, the many lovely restaurants, the weather, (despite this last winter being probably one of the wettest on record) and the feeling of safety and security, although this last has sadly deteriorated in recent years.

Yes, there have been disappointments. One in particular for me has been that we shall leave here without seeing a crematorium in place. With many thousands of supporters hoping to change a situation where Cyprus remains the sole EU country without one; all my years spent lobbying have come to naught. The fact that we do now have a bill accepting the necessity and desirability of such a facility is an advance, but a licence is still needed, and the interior ministry remains a stumbling block in this respect. And I shall never forget our supremely self-regarding archbishop telling me: “I shall not stand in your way, but I will not help you. If cremation ever becomes a facility here, I shall not allow my priests to officiate at services.”

“That would be against the law,” I said.

“I make my own laws,” said the man, not universally known for his modesty.

I remember asking him if he knew that 1,000 years BC, the Greeks used to honour their heroes with cremation?

“Well,” he said, “that was then and now is now.”

But cremation will come here one day, to serve the many other cultures who live here but happen not to be of the Greek Orthodox Faith. On so many criteria it makes perfect sense.

Yes, so, sadly a lot of our local friends have either died or themselves have gone back to their native countries, which is no criticism of the time they spent here, but simply that either an inevitability occurs or a recognition that for us all, individual lives eventually call for reassessment and a fresh evaluation.

But there is positive news for expatriates choosing to continue living here. Were we to stay in Cyprus we would have been among the 120+ people taking advantage of an entirely new project which within a couple of years will offer something very badly and sorely needed on the island.

It is a bespoke retirement village, called Lazarus Mill, to be constructed in Tsada, near Paphos. Let me clarify I have absolutely no commercial interest in it or any other involvement in this venture. But I believe will garner huge support and be very warmly welcomed on the island, I wish it well and Godspeed.
There will be a miscellany of 82 apartments, with studios, one, two, and three bedrooms, and a boutique hotel for visiting guests – and a club house – together with a restaurant and a coffee shop. There will be two swimming pools, indoor and outdoor, a gym, a medical centre, comprehensive security, an amphitheatre, shops, a movie and function room, plenty of open space and greenery with sitting areas, and a quiet environment to suit an older community.

It looks like a clear winner to me, and along with countless others in our age group I can only wish it had been created years ago. It is also on flat ground and with wheelchair friendly options.

It is astonishing that there has to date been nothing like this available in Cyprus and with what would seem to be manageable purchase costs, I believe we should all wish it well.

May I wish those of you who have followed my pieces and kindly written to me, every good fortune and happiness ahead.

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