Makarios was born on August 13, 1913, in the village of Panayia, in Paphos
district. He became a novice at Kykko Monastery at the age of 13 and
subsequently was sent by the Monastery to the Pancyprian Gymnasium, in
Nicosia. In 1942 he graduated from the School of Theology of Athens
University. He also attended the Law School of the same university for two
In 1938 he was awarded a
scholarship by the World Council of Churches for further theological studies
at Boston University. In 1948, while still a student in Boston, he was
elected Bishop of Kitium. In addition to his church duties he assumed the
chairmanship of the Office of the Ethnarchy.
In October 1950 he was
elected unanimously Archbishop of Cyprus. The election gave him the status
of Ethnarch, that is the national leader of the Greek people of Cyprus.
Archbishop Makarios was
elected President on December 13, 1959, having received 66.29% of the total
number of votes. He took up official duties as President on August 16,
1960, the date on which Cyprus was proclaimed an independent Republic.
Prior to that date Cyprus had been a British Colony for 82 years. In 1959
the London-Zurich Agreements were signed granting independence to the
Island. During the colonial rule Archbishop Makarios pursued a vigorous
campaign for the liberation of the island. Within the framework of that
campaign he carried out visits to many countries to enlighten governments
and peoples on the Cyprus cause.
In February, 1954,
Archbishop Makarios visited Athens and persuaded the Greek Government to
place the Cyprus question before the United Nations. While in Athens, he
laid the foundation for the organization of the Island’s national
resistance and as a result EOKA, “National Organization of Cyprus
Fighters”, was formed.
On August 20 of the same
year, Greece submitted a petition to the United Nations requesting the
application of the principle of self-determination to the people of Cyprus.
After that, the colonial Government of Cyprus enforced the anti-sedition
laws for the purpose of preventing or suppressing demonstrations for
freedom; but the Archbishop defied them and continued demanding
self-determination for Cyprus.
In October 1955, he
started meetings with the Governor of Cyprus, Field-Marshal Sir John
Harding, (later Lord Harding of Petherton) with whom he discussed the
future of the Island. The talks, which continued until March 1956, did not
result in agreement. As a consequence, Archbishop Makarios was exiled to the
Seychelles in the Indian Ocean on March, 9, 1956.
On the 28th March 1957,
the Archbishop was released from exile on the condition that he should not
return to Cyprus. He went to Athens where he was accorded a triumphant
welcome by the people of Greece.
During the following two
years he attended the General Assembly of the United Nations where the
Cyprus question was discussed and worked hard to achieve freedom for his
In February 1959, he was
invited by the British Government to London for talks on the future of
Cyprus. The talks resulted in the signing of the London Agreement, as a
continuation of the Zurich Agreement, which had been signed by the
Governments of Great Britain, Greece and Turkey. Under those agreements
Cyprus would be declared an independent Republic. The Archbishop was then
free to return to the Island. He flew back on March 1, 1959, and was
accorded an unprecedented welcome by the people of Cyprus.
Throughout 1959 he had
discussions with the British Government on the implementation of the Zurich
and London Agreements.
In January 1960, he flew
to London where he attended a five-party Conference which centred mainly on
the extent of the bases to be ceded to Britain under the agreements. The
talks ended in deadlock but were resumed later in Cyprus and concluded in
In the meantime,
Archbishop Makarios was elected first President of the Republic on December
13, 1959, and was officially established as President on August 16, 1960,
the day of the proclamation of the Cyprus Republic.
In March 1961 Cyprus was
admitted as member of the Commonwealth and His Beatitude represented the
Island at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers΄ Conference. In September 1961
he participated in the Belgrade Conference of Heads of State of Non-Aligned
In September 1962, His
Beatitude participated in the Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers
held in London. He also represented Cyprus at the Commonwealth Prime
Ministers΄ Conference in Lagos, Nigeria (January, 1966), in London (January
1969), in Singapore (January 1971) and in London (June, 1977).
On the 30th of November,
1963, President Makarios submitted to the Turkish leadership 13 proposals
for amendment of the Cyprus Constitution which were aimed at removing
obstacles in the way of the smooth running of the State. The Turkish side
adopted a negative attitude towards the President’s proposals and in lieu
of an answer a Turkish rebellion, which had long been planned with the
object of bringing about the Island’s partition, broke out just before
On July 15, 1974 a coup d΄
etat engineered by the military junta of Athens led to Archbishop Makarios
Turkey, using the coup as
a pretext, invaded Cyprus in July 1974 and occupied 36% of its territory
and uprooted 200,000 Greek Cypriots. He returned on 7 December 1974 and
resumed the office of President. President Makarios continued to struggle
for the restoration of the territorial integrity, unity and full
independence of Cyprus until his death on 3 August 1977.