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Makarios III, Archbishop (1913–1977)

Title: Makarios III
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Archbishop of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus and first president of Cyprus (1959–1977). Born the son of a shepherd in Pano Panayia, Cyprus, on 13 August 1913, Makarios III's birth name was Mikhail Khristodolou Mouskos. He became a novice monk in the Kykkos monastery, adopting the name of Makarios, and studied theology at the University of Athens and Boston University. Ordained in 1946, he was elected bishop of Kition in 1948. In 1950 he organized a plebiscite among Greek Cypriots, who represented 80 percent of the island's population, which indicated strong support for union with Greece (enosis). Makarios was elected archbishop of Cyprus on 18 October 1950 as Makarios III and became known as a champion of enosis.

In February 1954 Makarios III met with Greek Prime Minister Alexander Papagos, who tacitly supported enosis. In April 1955 Makarios lent his support to General Georgios Grivas, leader of the terrorist National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (EOAK), to begin an armed campaign against British forces, which still controlled the island. Makarios III's support of terrorism led British authorities to exile him in 1956 to the Seychelles. In 1957 he left the Seychelles and took up residence in Athens, where he kept up his enosis campaign.

In 1958, however, Makarios seemed to change his attitude toward enosis and suggested in an interview that he was prepared to accept Cypriot independence. After the Greeks and Turks decided to move forward with Cypriot independence in February 1959, he was elected president on 13 December 1959, with a Turkish Cypriot as vice president. Makarios initially tried to unite the Greek and Turkish communities, but his efforts were stymied by deep-seated ethnic hostilities and individuals who still wished to go forward with enosis. In November 1963 Makarios sought amendments to the constitution, a request that led to violent clashes between Greeks and Turks on the island. In December 1967 he was forced to accede to a Turkish Cypriot Provisional Administration in charge of Turkish affairs.

In February 1968 Makarios won reelection to the presidency of Cyprus, but in 1973 the three other Cypriot bishops asked him to resign. Makarios refused, standing successfully for a third term in 1973. His time in office was marked by repeated assassination attempts by enosis supporters who claimed that he had betrayed the cause.

In July 1974 a Greek-sponsored coup deposed Makarios, and he was forced to flee the country, first to Malta and then to London. Turkey used this as a pretext to invade the northern third of Cyprus, proclaiming a separate state in the north. Makarios returned to Cyprus as president in December 1974 and died on 3 August 1977 in Nicosia.

Lucian N. Leustean


Further Reading
Mayes, Stanley. Makarios: A Biography. London: Macmillan, 1981.; Vanezis, Procopius Nichola. Makarios: Life and Leadership. London: Abelard-Schuman, 1979.
 

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