|Ethnarch Makarios III was a reformer and the first President of the Republic of Cyprus and is rightly considered one of the most important personalities in Cyprus' modern history. He was born in Panayia in Paphos and was accepted as a novice monk at Kykko Monastery at a very young age. He attended the pancyprian Gymnasium and the Theological School at the university of Athens and continued his studies in Religious Sociology in boston U.S.A. In 1948 he was elected Metropoitan of Kition and in 1950 was elected Archbishop of Cyprus.
As Archbishop he inspired the liberation efforts of the Greeks of Cyprus to overthrow British rule and unite Cyprus with Greece. Following the E.O.K.A. liberation struggle (1955-1959), he was elected President of the Republic of Cyprus, laid the foundations for organising the new state and guided Cyprus into the U.N. He followed a non-aligned foreign policy and succedded in securing an identity for the Republic of Cyprus, continuously battling against internal and external enemies, always with the interests of its people as his main concern. Unfortunatelly, the 1963 Turkish rebellion and the aggressive actions and manipulations of Turkey, which were always aimed at the division of Cyprus, interrupted the new Republic's smooth course.
The treacherous coup perpetrated by the Athens junta in July 1974 provided Turkey with the pretext to invade Cyprus and take over 36% of its territory, displacing 200.000 Greek Cypriots in their own land. The tragic events broke his heart and he breathed his last on the 3rd August 1977 and is now included in the pantheon of immortals.
Text: Paschalis Eliopoulos
Source: Stamps and Philatelic Service, Cyprus Post