The Greek nation bids farewell to beloved composer Mikis Theodorakis

By George Gilson

A massive number of mourners gathered outside of Athens Cathedral today to bid farewell to the beloved composer Mikis Theodorakis, who died at age 96 and left a deep imprint on the Greek soul and national consciousness, at the funeral.

He is remembered as a fighter for freedom, a fighter of the National Liberation Front (EAM) which was the main resistance movement against the Nazis, a fervent enemy of the 1967-74 Greek junta which exiled and tortured him and banned the playing and singing of his songs throughout the country, a proponent of Greek-Turkish friendship, a fervent supporter of struggles for liberty around the world, the man who exemplified the sacred and mystical marriage of music and poetry and rooted Greece's towering poets in the hearts and minds of the Greek people, a unifying symbol for the Greek nation.

Inside were gathered top state and political leadership along with family and friends of the composer.

After the Greek Orthodox funeral service conducted by Archbishop Ieronymos, emotionally charged eulogies delivered by President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who placed a single white rose on the coffin, and Greek Communist Party General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas, repeatedly drew applause (mostly fervently for Koutsoumbas, to whom he had written that he honoured his communist past and wanted to leave the world as a communist.

Excerpts from President Katerina Sakellaropoulou's eulogy:

"Today, we bid farewell to Mikis Theodorakis, all together, of all ages and all generations. Those who shared experiences with him, and those who embraced his songs as a call to transcend the individual and converge with others, as a code that went beyond any particular confluence of events,...

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