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Mikhail Makarios

(b. 1913)


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(b. Pano Panayia, Cyprus, 13 Aug. 1913; d. Nicosia, Cyprus, 3 Aug. 1977)

Cypriot; President 1959–77 The son of a peasant, Makarios studied divinity at an Athens monastery. After being ordained a priest in 1946 he studied in the United States. He became Bishop and then Archbishop of the Orthodox church in Cyprus in 1958. This position of ecclesiastical leadership involved him in the politics of the island. His support for EOKA, a movement which worked for a union of Cyprus and Greece, brought him into conflict with Britain, which wanted Cyprus to become independent within the Commonwealth, and Turkey, which had a large minority population on the island and wanted partition. The British arrested him in 1956 on suspicion of terrorist activities and he was exiled for a time. In 1959 he abandoned the quest for union with Greece, EOKA was disbanded, and Cyprus was granted independence. He was elected President in 1959 and again in 1968 and 1974. His efforts to integrate Greek and Turkish communities on the island were criticized by intransigent supporters of the union with Greece. In 1974, with Greece under military rule, there was an attempted coup in Cyprus by the Greek Cypriot National Guard and Makarios was forced to flee. Shortly afterwards Turkey invaded Cyprus and partitioned the island. Makarios returned to the island at the end of 1974 but was unable to reverse the partition. After his death the posts of primate and head of state in Cyprus were separated.

Subjects: Politics.


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