OPINION

August 17, 1955

VOW TO THE VIRGIN MARY: Nicosia, 16 – About 20,000 Cypriots gathered at the Byzantine monastery of the Virgin of Troodos, situated on a peak of the mountain of the same name, to celebrate the Virgin’s feast day. «Next year may we be free,» was the rallying cry. The Ethnarch Archbishop Makarios made a moving, patriotic speech. (…). «The motherland’s struggles are also struggles of faith,» he said, «just as the struggles of faith are those of the motherland. Religion has maintained the national consciousness, but when religious feeling is lax, there is a decrease in nationalism. (…) Let us take an oath that as faithful members of the flock we will persist until death with the nation’s demand for freedom and that in the face of violence and tyranny, imprisonment and exile, and even death, we will continue our struggle until that sacred day when our blue and white flag (…) will wave over a free Cyprus.» Amid scenes of extreme emotion, thousands of people knelt down in tears, taking oaths and crying: «Long live freedom!», «Shame on Britain», «Long live union (with Greece).» The entire area shook with the ringing of bells and the shouting, that could be heard from kilometers away.