Saturday, April 13, 2024

Archbishop of America: The Turkish invasion of Cyprus is unjust and illegal

Archbishop Elpidophoros of America condemned the illegal Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus.

In his address, at an event commemorating the 69th Anniversary of the E.O.K.A Liberation Struggle 1955-1959 from British Colonial Rule that took place at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Resurrection in Brooksville, New York, on March 30, 2024, Archbishop Elpidophoros spoke of the “unjust and illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus.”

Addressing the organizing committees of the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations and the International Coordinating Committee Justice For Cyprus, along with the Consulate of Cyprus in New York, Archbishop Elpidophoros said that “we shall pursue every path that leads to a just and peaceful settlement for a unified Cyprus, which means the removal of the Turkish occupation army in accordance with international law, respecting the rules-based international order.” “We shall not be deterred by the wagging tongues of those who would sow fear and oppression. The Heroes of the Liberation Struggle whom we remember this evening deserve our very best. And we will give it to them!” he added.

Furthermore, the Archbishop emphasized the significance of honoring the memory of the valiant heroes who fought for Cyprus’ independence, underlining the imperative of unity and peace for the island.

He delved into the rich historical tapestry of Cyprus and lauded the unwavering resilience of its heroes.

Moreover, he underscored the critical importance of upholding justice and freedom, while expressing optimism for a harmonious and cohesive Cyprus in the years ahead.

Concluding his address, he extended gratitude to the event organizers and urged all present to offer prayers for the fallen defenders of their nation.

Read the full address of Archbishop Elpidophoros:

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This evening, with this marvelous and emotional cultural presentation, we have marked sixty-nine years since the struggle for independence and autonomy from Western Powers, for the historic and venerable island Nation of Cyprus. Especially in this year of the sad half century anniversary of the unjust and illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus, to remember the freedom fighters who cast off the yoke of the fading British Empire seems a necessary preamble to the commemorations to come this July. They are truly Heroes of the same stature as their brethren of 1821, and they well merit due glory and honor!

As I survey this gathering, I am heartened by the presence of our young people, as they will carry the memory of these Heroes into the future. And let us never forget that the story of this extraordinary Island is long a deep, far outdating those who have wrongly attempted to colonize, seize, and purloin its treasures.

Let me be clear – Cyprus is a sacred place, ἕνας ἱερός τόπος, with a history that dates back more than twelve thousand years! The oldest wells in the world are found on Cyprus, a fitting metaphor for the profound depths of cultural nourishment that have continually sprung from its divine landscape throughout the millennia.

There have always been those rapacious souls who yearned to take Cyprus for their own. But the heroic Hellenic soul – the soul of Cyprus – would never give up without a fight.

The Heroes to whom we ascribe glory and honor this evening – some whose names are forgotten to the history books, but certainly not to God – are most worthy of our commemorations. Thus, we commenced this evening with a prayer for their eternal rest from the struggle in which they engaged.

But their ἀνάπαυσις must be the cause for our ἀνάβασις – by which I mean a relentless expeditionary ascent to a free, unified, and peaceful Cyprus. We must take no rest, no pause, no respite, until our righteous mission is completed. We stand on the shoulders of those giants who gave their lives for a free and unfettered Cyprus. Free from foreign interventions, and unfettered to pursue the good and welfare of its own noble People.

Their sacrifices will be honored by us, our children, and our children’s children – until the integrity, peace, and sovereignty of the Nation are secured for the generations to come. As the Omogeneia here in America – Hellenes of Cyprus, Greece, and Asia Minor, we will not rest until we have championed the cause.

We must always be open to the possibility that those who in the past proved to be our enemies, can become friends. In this way, Cyprus is much like Sicily, that other remarkable Island of the Mediterranean. It was a prize that lit the fires of conquest in many European hearts, but Sicily could never truly be conquered. It absorbed all those who tried. Cyprus is very similar in this regard. Because the power of Cyprus is its deep and long history, a narrative that predated recorded time. Cyprus is here and will be here. It is Hellenic above all else, for its ancient roots cannot be fathomed by those who see it only for the taking.

In the meantime, we shall pursue every path that leads to a just and peaceful settlement for a unified Cyprus, which means the removal of the Turkish occupation army in accordance with international law, respecting the rules-based international order. We shall not be deterred by the wagging tongues of those who would sow fear and oppression. The Heroes of the Liberation Struggle whom we remember this evening deserve our very best. And we will give it to them!

I want to thank the parish of Holy Resurrection, all the participants in the heart-filled presentations of music and readings, and to the organizing committees of both the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations and the International Coordinating Committee Justice For Cyprus, along with the Consulate of Cyprus in New York, for bringing these Heroes to our minds. Especially at the close of the same week in which we honored the Immortal Heroes of 1821, our commemorations tonight that honor those whose battle commenced this same week are truly most fitting.

Remember that God is Wondrous in His Saints! Θαυμαστὸς ὁ Θεὸς ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις αὑτοῦ! * The sacrifice of those we remember this day will not be vain. Thus, in that hope of the resurrection of our fallen brothers and sisters, we pray: Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη αὐτῶν!

May God bless all of you for you love and devotion to this cause, and may God bless, protect, and shelter under the shadow of His wings, the blesséd people of Cyprus.

Γένοιτο!

* Psalm 67:35 (LXX).

Photos: GOARCH/Dimitrios Panagos

 

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