The Deputy Minister of National Defence Mr. Alkiviadis Stefanis attended today, Thursday 13 February 2020, the reception ceremony of the relics of the Greek Combatant in Cyprus Major Georgios Katsanis, who fell from a sniper’s bullet at a combat at the castle of St Ilarion in Cyprus, at the invasion of the Turks in 21 July 1974.
The ceremony took place at the Military School of Combat Support Officers in Thessaloniki and Mr. Stefanis represented the Head of the Greek Government Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The Deputy Minister of National Defence was accompanied by the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff General Konstantinos Floros and the Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff Lieutenant General Charalambos Laloussis.
In his address, the Deputy Minister of National Defence stated the following:
“I am deeply moved and truly honoured, as I am given the opportunity to attend today, representing the Greek State, the reception ceremony of the relics of Major General Georgios Katsanis; a respectful ceremony to honour the hero who lost his life on the island of Cyprus, during the tragic events of 1974.
The heroic Officer, along with the other Greek combatants of Cyprus, with their struggle against the Attilas, honoured the Greek flag, performed their duty in full and defended what is holy for Cypriot Hellenism, thus being a timeless guiding light and a springboard for national dignity and pride.
From his sacrifice, we can currently draw lessons of merit, courage and self-sacrifice, knowing that nurtured with solid faith, free spirit and high morale, we shall shape a new generation of Greeks, faithful to the ultimate value of our country and eager to give their last drop of blood and their last breath, for the ideals of freedom and independence.
The Greek people, inheritors of the priceless intellectual treasure and the history of its ancestors, views the sacrifice of all the fallen in the line of duty combatants in Cyprus, as the ultimate offering to the Country, as an element of exemplary dedication to the ideals of our race, and as a prerequisite for national rallying and historical exaltation of the entire Hellenism.
The honour we pay with this humble ceremony to the heroic Lieutenant General Katsanis Georgios, at a challenging time for our country, is a national duty and a sacred obligation, which underlines the common course of the two states in Hellenism, and is a model for unity and fellowship, highlighting once more the importance of our common effort to reach a mutually acceptable, fair and permanent solution to the Cyprus’ issue, based on the European acquis and the International Law.
It is an effort which on one part inhibits the accomplished facts of the Turkish invasion in Cyprus from being accepted as an unalterable reality, and on the other side forbids defeatism, phobic syndromes and the sense of weakness to reverse the -adverse for Hellenism- facts.
With this ceremony today, we once more confirm the truth which conflicts oblivion, thus making our collective subconscious a vehicle of remembrance and honour, so as to continue and fulfil a massive struggle waiting for justification.
A struggle which nullifies the drag force, nailing down and condemning our national essence to decline and alienation.
Therefore today, by bringing back the relics of our heroic Officer, we restore a big national pending issue, not due to a mere obligation or a typical procedure for the settlement of the relics, but as a religious and national demand, the ultimate duty stemming from the depth of our cultural inheritance.
The heroic combatant of Cyprus returns to its patrimonial Greek land, 46 years after the Cypriot tragedy, so that his soul will find peace, and his body will rest.
As for the hero’s relatives, please accept the warm condolences of our State, but also the expression of respect and pride from us all, for the loss of your family member who sacrificed his life for the ultimate ideals of the Cypriot people’s freedom and independence.
His sacrifice will be recognised in eternity, as a symbol of high value that will remind the perpetual faith of the Greek people in defending the Hellenic ideals.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For all the Greeks, the Cypriot tragedy did not end in 1974; a mutual goal of the two Hellenic states still remains: to find a definitive solution to the Cyprus issue, to end the dishonourable Turkish occupation and to ultimately reunite with Megalinissos, always in the context of a mutual, acceptable and permanent solution, on the basis of the principles and values of the European Union, the relative UN Resolutions and the decisions of the Security Council.
I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Cypriot Government for all its efforts, as well as all those who have worked for the return of our hero to Greece; I wish that soon all the relics of the fallen Greeks in Cyprus will be collected, identified, repatriated and laid to rest, with all the appropriate honours, as prescribed by our course in history, and our western civilisation.
Lieutenant General Katsanis Georgios,
We thank you for all that you have offered to your country.
We are deeply grateful and we kneel before your heroic figure.
The flame of your patriotism shall remain burning in our souls.
May the earth rest lightly on you!
May you always be remembered!!!”