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Last farewell to ‘global citizen’ Lyssarides (update 2)

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Photo Christos Theodorides

Vassos Lyssarides was a world citizen and a visionary fighting for Cyprus’ and every people’s freedom and dignity, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday at the funeral of the Edek founder who died last week at the age of 100.

Lyssarides’ funeral started at around 11am at Tis tou Theou Sofia church in Strovolos.

Anastasiades said after the ceremony that Lyssarides was “an emblematic personality” who passed into eternity after winning the appreciation and recognition of the political world and people through his life work.

Lyssarides was “a visionary patriot” who dedicated himself to his country’s dignity and freedom and was among the leading actors in Cyprus’ most important struggles for freedom, the president said.

“His action was not limited to the narrow borders of our small homeland. It extended, like his free spirit, to countries that were enslaved to either colonial powers or dictatorial regimes,” Anastasiades said. “It would not be an exaggeration to say that Vassos Lyssarides was a global citizen. A visionary whose democratic principles and values dictated his duty to stand by every people who fight for freedom and their national dignity.”

“His body may be buried today but not his spirit and his free soul,” the president said.

Eulogies were also delivered by Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos and Archmandrite Georgios Christodoulou on behalf of Lyssarides’ family.

Sizopoulos said Lyssarides had a life full of struggles and concerns, “for the people of our country and Hellenism, the peoples of Africa and Asia who groaned under the colonial yoke, the abolition of racist Apartheid in South Africa and the liberation of Nelson Mandela, the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of a Palestinian state, the restoration of the rights of the Kurds.”

Lyssarides he said, was “an insightful and tireless leader, polite, fair, modest who offered to his homeland and his people selflessly, as much as he could.”

He added that Lyssarides did not gain value from but rather gave value to the public posts he held, as an MP for 46 years, and as House President between 1986 and 1991.

“Your memory our dear doctor will remain eternal,” Sizopoulos said.

Deputy Minister for Diaspora Greeks Konstantinos Vlasis said a few words and laid a wreath on behalf of Greece’s Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis. Head of Greece’s Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) Fofi Genimata was also present.

Lyssarides was praised as a patriot, a poet and a freedom fighter.

Prior to the church service, many people paid their last respects.

Scores of members of Edek’s youth branch marched to the church in Lyssarides’ honour chanting ‘great Vassos Lyssarides’.

At the church yard red carnations were distributed to the people gathered there.

Scores of people with red carnations and Edek flags and posters bid their final farewell to Lyssarides with applause as his coffin was carried out of the church by the party’s leadership.

As the coffin was put in the hearse Edek’s song Free Man (Lefteros) blared through the speakers.

Lyssarides, who died on April 26, was buried at Constantinou and Elenis cemetery in Nicosia, next to his wife, Barbara who died in 2019 at the age of 85.

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