Makarios III

Makarios III mäkäˈrēôs [key], 1913–77, Orthodox Eastern archbishop and Cypriot statesman, first president of Cyprus (1960–77). Born Michael Mouskos, Makarios was elected bishop of Kition in 1948 and archbishop of Cyprus in 1950. Leader of the Greek Cypriots in the movement for enosis (union with Greece), he was exiled by the British in 1956 on charges of encouraging terrorism. He was released in 1957. In 1958 he began to press for Cypriot independence from Great Britain rather than union with Greece. When agreement was reached on the independence of Cyprus, he was elected president. Makarios pursued a neutralist policy, favoring a peaceful solution between the island's Greek and Turkish communities. After his term of office had expired in 1965 and had been extended to 1968, Makarios was reelected in 1968 and 1973. In 1972 he came under increasing pressure from the Greek government to allow for greater Greek influence in Cypriot affairs; the Cypriot Orthodox Church pressured him to resign if he failed to do so. Gen. George Grivas, leader of the enosis movement, launched a terrorist campaign aimed at overthrowing Makarios. This effort finally succeeded (July, 1974), when a Greek-sponsored coup deposed Makarios. After several months of exile he returned to Cyprus in Dec., 1974, and resumed the presidency.

See biography by P. N. Vanezis (1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Modern Greek History: Biographies