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Papadopoulos laid to rest once more
A SOMBRE mood without, however, an atmosphere of grief dominated at the re-burial ceremony for the former President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday.
The service was attended by approximately 250 people, including his close family and members of the government, with the Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis representing President Demetris Christofias.
The late President’s son, DIKO deputy Nicos Papadopoulos said: “For us, today, a vigil has finished. Our own Golgotha is over. And we hope our father will find, at last, peace.”
The memorial service, carried out by Isaias, Bishop of Tamassos, commended the former President to God, which was followed by a semi-spontaneous recital of the national anthem. Those gathered closest to the grave threw flowers over the coffin whilst the anthem was being sung by the crowd and the final shovelfuls of earth were added.
An overcast, yet nevertheless bright and clement day, accompanied the service. Though silence reigned during the actual service, excepting participation in its religious aspects and the national anthem, the unusual circumstances by means of which Papadopoulos’ remains were stolen soon became the most commented-upon topic once the service had ended.
“Even dead, they still fear him,” said one mourner of the significance which the former President was apparently still able to exert on the daily life of the Republic even after his death.
The general consensus prevailing amongst members of the public attending the service was that Papadopoulos was a strong and able leader, a statesman and a politician, who may have held to a hard and uncompromising line, yet was always motivated by patriotism and the good of his country.
“Al Capone does not have his sort of strength, it is a different strength, that of a leader and a strong and steady will,” said another.
Papadopoulos’s remains were stolen from his grave in December last year, the night before the first anniversary of his death. They were recovered by police on Monday night buried in another person’s grave at a Nicosia cemetery, following a tip-off to his family about the location.
So far police investigations, and public opinion, contend that the theft of Papadopoulos’ remains was masterminded by prison lifer, rapist and murderer Antonis Prokopiou Kitas aka Al Capone from his prison cell. Two other men, one an Indian national and the other Kitas’ brother Mamas, are on remand for the macabre theft.
Once the remains were recovered, Papadopoulos’ widow Fotini expressed the family’s relief saying: "The discovery of our beloved Tassos' corpse has put an end to the agony that we have been living through the last three months and has brought back peace and tranquility to our family".