By Rebekah Gregoriades

Quoting Thucydides “for the whole earth is the tomb of famous men”, President Nikos Christodoulides said burying the remains of Greeks missing since intercommunal strife in the 1960s and the 1974 invasion, and repatriating others, was “a matter of national pride for all Greeks”.

“The moments we are called upon as state and society to honour people who sacrificed their lives ‘for faith and country’ are shocking,” he said at a ceremony in Nicosia on Thursday to hand over the remains of 15 Greeks for repatriation.

Christodoulides said the fallen and those still missing were addressed as a humanitarian issue by his government and that repatriating the remains of Greeks was “the least we could do for all those who fought and died for our freedom”.

The ceremony took place at Makedonitissa tomb, dedicated to Greeks and Greek Cypriots who fell fighting for Cyprus. As the remains are identified through DNA tests, they are handed over in groups to the Greek authorities for repatriation. Families can opt to have their loved ones buried at Makedonitissa.

Identification programmes are run by the government and the Committee on Missing Persons.