The National Federation of Cypriots in the UK organised a Doxology to commemorate the National Days at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God on April 7th 2024. The National Days mark the beginning of Greek Revolution of 1821 and the Cyprus Anticolonial Struggle of EOKA of 1955-1959 and honour those who fought and sacrificed their lives for our freedom in both liberation struggles.

The Doxology was officiated by Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain. Also in attendance was the newly appointed High Commissioner for the Republic of Cyprus in the UK, Mr Kyriacos Kouros, Bambos Charalambous MP, the Deputy Ambassador of Greece Mrs Iphigenia Kanara, Deputy High Commissioner Spyros Miltiades, Consul General Odysseas Odysseos, Cultural Counsellor Marios Theocharous, Head of the Cyprus Educational Mission Maria Loi, Deputy Education Counsellor Erini Veroni and the Cypriot and Greek Military attachés. His Excellency, the Cyprus High Commissioner, Mr Kouros was the Main Speaker following the Doxology and this was his first community engagement since assuming the role.

The High Commissioner began his address with an overview of the Greek Revolution of 1821. The Filiki Etairia, who began the Revolution, “became the symbolic landmark and reference point in the world’s struggles for freedom and throwing off all forms of slavery and oppression.” The Ottoman Empire, he said, could not “contain the momentum and passion of the Greek revolutionaries” leading to the end of their rule in Greece.

He added that Cypriots played a crucial role in the Revolution, “strengthening the effort by all means”. Archbishop Kyprianos and the “many Cypriot volunteers who left for Greece” were central to these efforts. The “Phalanx of Cypriots, with their own flag,” he noted, “became famous for their achievements.”

The High Commissioner then remarked on the Cyprus Anticolonial Struggle of EOKA of 1955-1959 and its relation to the Greek Revolution. He stated that “the vision of freedom of 1955-59 was inspired by the epic of 1821,” with “almost all Cypriot fighters having names of heroes of the Greek Revolution.” He went on to say that all who fought during the EOKA struggle, listing those of Liopetri and Machairas Monastery and all those commemorated in the Filakismena Mnimata, forced colonial rule to end and led to the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus.

In closing, the High Commissioner stressed that the Cyprus Problem is President Nikos Christodoulides’ top priority and that “we will exhaust every possibility and use any hope to create the conditions for the liberation and solution of the Cyprus problem.” He praised the UK Cypriot diaspora, saying it “has an important role and that is to contribute to supporting our efforts for a just solution of the Cyprus issue, exerting a strong influence on the decision-making centres of the UK, one of the guarantor powers for the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.” He also thanked the community and the Federation for its warm welcome and said that the Government of Cyprus recognises its significant work over the decades.

Federation President Mr Christos Karaolis also addressed the congregation. Mr Karaolis said that “decades of occupation will not stop us.” He added that “We will be there to call on our elected representatives and the international community to consistently implement international law and human rights – to make clear that if invasion and occupation is illegal in Ukraine, it is illegal in Cyprus.”

Mr Karaolis also remarked on the tragic 50th anniversary of Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus, stating that on this tragic anniversary year, “we must all redouble these efforts to campaign for a free, united Cyprus within the agreed UN framework that: ends the Turkish occupation and presence of its troops; allows refugees to return to their cities, towns and villages; and enables all Cypriots to live together in peace and prosperity.”’

In doing so, Mr Karaolis emphasised, “we wholeheartedly support President Nikos Christodoulides’ initiatives and efforts towards resuming talks for a solution to the Cyprus issue” and that “we will also look forward to working closely with the newly appointed High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in the UK, Kyriacos Kouros.”

The celebration ended with the National Anthem and was followed by a reception. The reception was an opportunity for the newly appointed Cyprus High Commissioner, Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, as well as members of diplomatic missions of Cyprus and Greece to engage with representatives from member organisations of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK.