Thousands of Greeks on Wednesday paid their last respects to Mikis Theodorakis, the world renowned composer, who died last week in Athens.
After lying in state for three days, his body was carried out of the chapel of St. Eleftherios and taken to the Athens Cathedral amid applause from the crowd that had come to pay their final respects.
As rain fell outside the Athens Cathedral, crowds waited and officials started to arrive for the farewell ceremony at 15:00, among them Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leaders of opposition parties and foreign ambassadors.
The family of the late composer were gathered around his coffin, while a special moment was the arrival of popular Turkish composer Zülfü Livaneli, a friend of Theodorakis, and Finnish singer and activist Arja Saijonmaa.
Legal dispute on the burial site
Mikis Theodorakis will be buried in Crete on Thursday, after a legal dispute between members of his family and a fan group over the burial site.
The president of the Pancretan Association of Friends of Mikis Theodorakis, Georgios Agorastakis, and the Theodorakis family fought over the place where the body of the great Greek will rest.
The family of the composer, his daughter, Margarita, his son, Giorgos, and his wife, 94-year-old Myrto Altinoglou wanted to have the burial in Vrachati, a village near Corinth, where their summer home is located.
However, Agorastakis, presented a notarial deed that the deceased had signed in 2020 expressing the will to be buried in the Galata village, Chania, Crete.
On Tuesday, an Athens court decided that Theodorakis will be buried in Galata, next to his parents and brother as was his wish.
Theodorakis wanted to be buried next to his family
Theodorakis wanted to be buried next to his parents and brother, in Galata village in Chania, Crete, where his parents were born.
The composer’s wish was recorded on January 16, 2020 in a notarial deed, giving instructions to the executors on what he wants to do.
His last wish, according to the document, is “to be buried in the Galata cemetery of Chania where his deceased parents and brother are buried and where a tomb has been given for him and his wife, if he wishes so, by the Nea Kydonia Municipality.”
“The tomb in question has already been built by his friend, architect Manos Perakis, with the care of the Pancretan Association of Friends of Mikis Theodorakis and in complete accord to his instructions and has already been completed.”
In the deed, Theodorakis also expresses the will for his body to be transported to Chania by ship and not by another means of transport.
At the same time, the deceased “has appointed as executors of his wish his friends and associates Georgios Agorastakis and Irini Parmenidou, in order, acting either jointly or individually, to take all necessary actions before any authority or service to the fulfillment of his wish.”
Mikis Theodorakis’ body to arrive in Chania
Mikis Theodorakis’ body will be transported to Chania on Thursday morning to be buried at the Galata cemetery in the afternoon.
The body will be transported to Crete by boat, to arrive in Chania at 7:30 am on Thursday.
Preparations for the arrival of the body in Chania and later for his burial in Galata are at their peak.
Chania Mayor Panagiotis Simandirakis announced in a press conference, the body of Mikis Theodorakis will arrive at 7:30 on Thursday morning by ferry to the port of Souda.
The body will be transported to the Presentation of Virgin Mary Metropolitan Church for people to pay the respects to the great composer.
At 1:00 pm it will be transported to Galatas village, to the church of Agios Nikolaos, where the funeral liturgy will take place in a close circle and with strict observance of the banksnewscol for public health.
After that, Mikis Theodorakis will be buried at the village cemetery, as was his wish, next to his parents and brother, Giannis.
Greek PM and President of the Republic will attend the funeral
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President of the Republic Katerina Sakellarapooulou will arrive at Chania on Thursday to attend the funeral.
Also, Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni will be present at Mikis Theodorakis’ burial service at the Galata cemetery.