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Mikis Theodorakis’ Body Lies in State at Athens Cathedral

Mikis Theodorakis
Crowds gather on Monday in central Athens to pay last respects to the Great Greek, Mikis Theodorakis. Credit: Greek Reporter

A crowd of people started to gather outside the chapel of the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral on Monday, to pay their respects to the late composer Mikis Theodorakis, whose body was brought to the chapel at 15:00 on Monday afternoon and lies in state for three days.

The public will be able to visit and pay their final respects until 19:00 on Monday on the first day, between 10:00 and 19:00 on Tuesday and from 10:00 until 16:00 on the last day, on Wednesday.

A farewell ceremony will be held at 15:00 on Wednesday afternoon and the body will then be taken to Theodorakis’ home village, Galata in Chania, where there will be a funeral service in the village church on Thursday, followed by a burial in the village cemetery in accordance with the composer’s final wishes.

Greece lost a part of its soul

Greece declared a three-day national mourning period after the death of Mikis Theodorakis, the greatest Greek composer in its history, whose music has touched generations.

Mikis, as he is affectionately known by millions of Greeks around the world, died at his home in central Athens on Thursday. He was 96.

“We lost a part of the soul of Greece,” said Culture Minister Lina Mendoni in a condolence message posted on Twitter.

The President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, spoke of a “pan-Hellenic figure and at the same time a universal artist, an invaluable asset of our musical culture.”

The composer penned what is probably the best-known piece of Greek music, the film score to “Zorba the Greek,” an instrumental which is still played and danced to around the world to this day.

Works encapsulated world of Greek music

Mikis Theodorakis produced a staggering number of musical works, encompassing both symphonic music and most predominantly Greek folk music, from which he drew most of his inspiration, making it famous the world over.

His ability to compose music which conveyed emotion and struggle is perhaps best displayed in his composition “The Ballad of Mauthausen.” This music has been described as one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written about the Holocaust.

The legacy which the incomparable Theodorakis leaves behind is not only that of the greatest Greek composer of all time, but also that of a visionary humanitarian. Starting out as a socialist, in his later years he tried to unite all the Greek people, regardless of their political affiliation.

Theodorakis’ life encapsulated man’s struggle for freedom

Theodorakis declared “Nothing is more necessary and valuable to man than freedom. If you don’t have food, if you don’t have education, if you don’t have comforts, you suffer. If you don’t have freedom, you don’t exist. Because then you don’t count as man.

“What is freedom? Freedom is responsibility. It is to be responsible. It is to have at every moment, in every case, your share of responsibility in the group and the community.”

The composer felt a lifelong responsibility to compose music which would speak for freedom, human dignity and human rights. He made his personal goals universal.

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