By Kyriacos Kyriacou – Nicosia
Thousands gathered inside and outside the Saint George cemetery in Larnaka on Monday to pay their last respects to late Defence Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos, a widely respected politician, who died on Saturday at the age of 48, after suffering a ruptured aneurysm.
The bells tolled, as his casket, draped in the Cyprus and Greek flags, passed through the crowds of people. Cyprus Archbishop Chrystostomos B’ officiated the service which took place at noon.
“Thank you father”
In a heartfelt message resonating the family`s loss, Mitsopoulos’ young daughter Hara, bid her father goodbye thanking him for bringing her and her brother up and imbuing them with morals and humility.
“Know that we are truly very proud that you were our person”, she said, expressing a “big thank you for all the wonderful memories you gifted us”.
“You were there in both good times and bad, Hara continued, thanking her late father for everything he taught her. Thank you for letting me make up my own mind and my own decisions”, she said, adding “thank you for teaching me morals, dignity and pride”, his daughter added.
Finally, she noted, “thank you for teaching me the great significance of love”.
May the Lord of Life and Death place the Minister of Defence in the land of the living, where the righteous rest, said Archbishop Chrysostomos laying a wreath on behalf of the Holy Synod.
His beloved “son”
President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades could not hold his tears as he delivered the eulogy. “The late Defence Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos did his utmost for his country, his home town and his family and he leaves behind a legacy as a politician with ethics, integrity and compassion, an excellent husband, a loving father and a pious Christian”, he said.
Visibly emotional Anastasiades, addressed Mitsopoulos as “my son.”
“Today I want to tell you what the papers say for you. For the past eleven years, you have been telling me what the press said for me and together we worked out our reaction. Today, allow me to tell you what the papers say about you,” the President said. He referred to the headlines in the press, which reflect, as he pointed out, the love and admiration of the whole of Cyprus, citizens, politicians, friends and associates.
President Anastasiades also noted the messages of condolences and praise from the Greek leadership and the fact that Greek Minister of Defence Dimitris Avramopoulos and Minister of Development Costis Chatzidakis were present at the funeral service.
Wreaths were also laid by the House of Representatives President Yiannakis Omirou, Archbishop Chrysostomos B’, the late Defence Minister’s family, the Ambassador of Greece on behalf of the Greek President Carolos Papoulias and the Minister of Defence of Greece Demetris Avraamopoulos, the political and military leadership of Cyprus. After the wreaths were laid, the national anthem was sung.
Mitsopoulos, 48, was rushed to hospital last Friday morning, after he was found unconscious in his office having suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage due to a ruptured brain aneurysm. He passed away on Saturday.