Cyprus Mail

President praises late priest who was ‘an emblematic figure of our modern history’

Papalazaros died on Sunday aged 92

President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday said the funeral costs of Father Lazaros Neophytou who died on Sunday at the aged of 92 will be covered by the state as a recognition and appreciation to his family’s contribution to the struggles for the country’s freedom.

Father Lazaros, from Choletria, Paphos, or Papalazaros as he was widely known, was father of two heroes who died defending the Republic, the president said in a written statement.

“He was an emblematic figure of our modern history,” Anastasiades said.

He added that the state, as a sign of respect and recognition of Papalazaros Neophytous’ family’s contribution “to the struggles for the defence of the Republic and the freedom of the country,” will cover the funeral costs.

Papalazaros was born in Choletria in 1928. He fought in the resistance against the 1974 Greek Junta-backed coup. He had nine children. One of his sons, Kyriacos, was shot in 1973 by Eoka B militiamen in the Paphos bishopric. Father Lazaros had said in an interview a few years ago that they were looking for him and shot his son instead. Another of his sons, Soteris, was killed during the 1974 invasion.

Main opposition Akel said Papalazaros was a historic figure “for Cyprus’ people, the left wing and the Republic”.

“As a priest and a fighter for the Cypriot Left, Papalazaros integrated in his words, life and thought the values of social justice and equality, solidarity and love for man,” the party said in a statement.

Akel added that the entire party leadership will attend his funeral and that leader Andros Kyprianou would also deliver a eulogy.

Papalazaros’ funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon at his village, Choletria.

House President Demetris Syllouris and most parties issued statements praising Papalazaros’ heroism and extending their condolences to his family.


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