The young Cypriot novice scribbled his first political slogan on the refectory kitchen wall nearly fifty years ago: Zeto i Enosis (“long live enosis” [union with Greece]). That his land should be free from British colonial rule was to become an obsession with Michael Mouskos, son of a shepherd farmer in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus (current population: nearly 650,000).

He entered the twelfth-century Kykko monastery before he was thirteen, completed his schooling in Nicosia, was made deacon in the Orthodox Church, and took the name Makarios (“Blessed”). In 1938 he went to Athens where, caught up in the German and Italian occupation, he graduated in theology, read law, and helped out in the fashionable Church of St. Irene. He was consecrated to the priesthood in 1946 (from which time he was not allowed to marry) and took over a parish in Piraeus, the port of Athens. Not for long, however: a grant from the World Council of Churches sent him for post-graduate study to Boston University.

This too was a short-term stay, for early in 1948 a telegram from Cyprus announced that the 34-year-old student had been elected bishop of Kition. That year, having stayed in Boston long enough to grow the obligatory beard, he went home to be consecrated at a time when the British yoke was felt to be increasingly onerous.

The church spearheaded the public demand for enosis. None was more zealous than the new bishop, and it came as no surprise when, on the death of Archbishop Makarios II, he was elected Makarios III. Initially he exercised a moderating influence on militant elements under Colonel George Grivas (later a general). But when Britain resisted self-determination for the island, and the United Nations and even Greece proved unhelpful, Makarios collaborated with Grivas, the five-year EOKA campaign began (the title translates from Greek as “National Organization for Cypriot Struggle”), and control slipped from the archbishop’s hands.

Further negotiations with Britain failed, and in 1956 Makarios, Bishop Kyprianos of Kyrenia, a priest, and a prominent Orthodox layman were seized and taken to exile in the Seychelles islands. They were there for a year, and Makarios was to spend nearly two years more in Athens before being allowed to return to Cyprus in 1959. When independence came in 1960, Makarios was the obvious choice for president, while retaining his archbishopric. To both offices, it should be noted, he was elected democratically by the people.

From the beginning both clergy and laity have protested his dual role. Bishop Kyprianos produced a memorandum for the holy synod charging that the dual role was against the Gospel (“no man can serve two masters”), canon law, and the public good.

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Makarios was disarming: the presidency was only temporary, forced on him by circumstances. By December, 1963, Metropolitan Yennadios (or Gennadios) of Paphos, the senior bishop, had also challenged Makarios twice in synod, but pressure was removed that month when the confrontation between the Greek and Turkish sectors of the population caused a diversion.

Nevertheless the archbishop’s critics were to exploit this: the intercommunal strife, they charged, indicated the wrath of God. P.S. Ioannides, the prominent layman who had been exiled to the Seychelles with Makarios, published newspaper articles criticizing not the person of the president, but his policies, with special reference to the dual role. He was given a prison term for his pains (“you can’t criticize the president”). That meant also that he could not criticize the archbishop. Makarios had resolved the perennial church-state dichotomy by uniting both offices in himself.

His fellow bishops again sought his resignation in 1968, when a belated election was held, but Makarios again prevailed. He was reelected for a five-year term.

In March, 1972, with an eye to the next election, the exasperated bishops once more demanded their colleague’s resignation. Not only did he decline to accept the document they proffered, but the matter did not appear on the official record of the synod.

But this time the bishops had new grounds for complaint: Makarios had been gathering Czechoslovak arms clandestinely, and had, moreover, stored them in the archbishopric. They were evidently for use against Grivas, who was again organizing guerrilla activity in the name of enosis (union with Greece), to which Makarios was now giving little more than lip service, apparently seeking some accommodation with the nation’s Turkish minority. While the bishops made no secret of their enosis sympathies, they strongly affirm that these were secondary in their challenge to Makarios—that while they would prefer a pro-enosis president, their chief aim was to get Makarios to concentrate on his churchly duties, and to get a layman elected as president.

At the March meeting, Makarios temporized. “If you insist,” he told the bishops, “I will resign,” adding that he had no wish to divide the church. Their answer: “We insist.” Next day, however, a crowd of people gathered before the archbishropric where Makarios lives (he uses the presidential palace only as offices) and urged him not to resign. Their slogan, significantly, was not the familiar one of enosis but “Makarios and only Makarios.” Crowds don’t just happen, say his critics, sure that Makarios had instigated this one and that Communist elements formed the bulk of it.

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Makarios went on the offensive. His senior adversary, Metropolitan Yennadios, was not allowed to return to his diocese—and Makarios’s supporters there made sure he didn’t. He went instead to Limassol to the home of his colleague Metropolitan Anthimos of Kitium. As they entered the bishop’s house a mob attacked them, and they were saved by the intervention of their own supporters. Three months later Makarios’s supporters in Paphos (the president’s own home region) voted Yennadios out of office because of his attitude toward his superior.

An uneasy truce saw Makarios continue as president until his term expired in February, 1973. Before then, however, there was a repeat performance of the earlier pro-Makarios demonstration, and again the allegations of Communist involvement. (The party does have a large following in Cyprus. In the 1970 elections, however, the Communists put up only nine candidates for the thirty-five vacancies, and all were elected. This self-imposed limitation and low profile apparently serve the party’s long-term Cyprus aims better at this juncture.)

So Makarios “yielded to importunity” and entered on a further five-year term. The bishops, thoroughly frustrated, met in March, 1973, and deposed him as archbishop. They held their action to be in accordance with canon law. In Orthodoxy, thirteen bishops are usually necessary, but Cyprus had only four diocesan bishops (including the archbishop) and has in any case been autocephalous since A.D. 478 (a constant source of pride in a different context). In any other country the intervention of the state would have enforced such a majority decision, but this was not possible where God and Caesar walked together and, as it were, traded hats at will. So Makarios rejected their claim to have deposed him, and the conclusion must be that he could not be deposed at all.

The bishops pushed on. Having given him one month in which to appear (a hearing would have required thirteen bishops), they then pronounced their decision “definitive and final,” pronounced his relegation to the rank of layman and to his baptismal name of Michael Mouskos, and appointed Yennadios as locum tenens in his place. Makarios hit back. Not only did he accuse them of attempting his “spiritual assassination,” but he chose to see in their action a plot against the safety of the state, and declared that “all necessary measures” would be taken against sabotage and to safeguard the position of the church.

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Then, transferring his role from defendant to plaintiff, he called a synod of the Orthodox Churches of the Middle East to meet in Nicosia. Of the “big five,” the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul and the primate of Greece did not respond. The three others, however, were based in the Arab world which Makarios (as president of the republic) had been assiduously cultivating. The patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria came in person; the patriarch of Jerusalem ensured his representation. They were joined by other bishops, a quorum was obtained, and in July, 1973, proceedings began under the presidency of Patriarch Nicholas of Alexandria.

After deciding that they were a lawfully constituted assembly, the synod went to work on two tasks: to revoke the archbishop’s deposition (did he in some sense take it seriously after all?), and to try the errant bishops for conspiring against the archbishop, holding secret meetings, and provoking disunity. The first part was simple, especially as the three leading antagonists—bishops Yennadios, Kyprianos, and Anthimos—complained they were not consulted or asked to put their case, and Makarios was duly saved from being Michael Mouskos. Surprisingly, the synod invited the three to announce the revocation. Not surprisingly, they refused.

Before the second phase, the patriarch of Alexandria preached in Nicosia at a service in which fifteen bishops participated. There was no question of the forthcoming trial of the bishops being sub judice: the patriarch embarked on an impressive series of sonorous curses that consigned the three dissidents to anathema, of which the press carried full reports. To insult the archbishop meant imprisonment; to insult his fellow bishops was commendable and deserving of wide circulation.

A summons was made to the three (not by direct communication, they protested, but through the newspapers) to attend the synod meeting for judgment. Having been cursed on Sunday, they had no mind for a repetition on Wednesday, so they declined to attend, holding that the synod had no authority over the Cypriot Church.

On July 14 they were deposed, Yennadios for the second time. On the dual role of Makarios, which the three critics had held to be contrary to canon law, the synod ruled that Makarios’s assumption of the presidency in response to public demand “constituted an imposed duty which was not contrary to the spirit of the Holy Scriptures and canon law.” The machinery of the state, which had done nothing for the bishops, now swung into motion. All public offices were informed that the rebels’ signatures as bishops were no longer valid, and they were not allowed to conduct services.

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One curious feature is that the now doubly-deposed Yennadios had been replaced two months earlier. The two other bishoprics were each divided in two: elections were subsequently held in three of the vacancies, and appointments made. The three deposed men were given the chance to stay in their sees as monks and guests of the government, but they refused this as humiliation.

The one see unfilled to date is part of the diocese of Kyrenia, previously held by Makarios’s old comrade in exile, Kyprianos, whose opposition the archbishop may regret more than that of the others. Moreover, this bishop commanded great loyalty among his clergy. Of 100 in his former diocese, says a spokesman, sixty-seven signified in writing their objection to his deposition. By violence, threats, and the withholding of state salaries, however, the Makarios machine forced them to renounce what they had signed. Only seven have held out; they are now dependent on the gifts of friends for maintenance. Makarios III had won the battle, had turned against his own boyish graffiti now that enosis no longer suited his purpose, and won’t have to rustle up that spontaneous crowd again until 1978. Moreover, guerrilla leader Grivas, 75, died late last month. Enosis may not live much longer.

Table Talk

Both President Richard Nixon and Vice-President Gerald Ford were busy with prayer breakfasts last month.

A revival atmosphere of sorts prevailed for awhile among the more than 3,000 who attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton hotel in Washington, D. C. Many of the nation’s legislators and government leaders were present. Senator Harold Hughes of Iowa, the main speaker, recounted his own conversion nearly twenty years ago, spoke movingly of the love and forgiveness of God (“the debt has been paid in the blood of the Saviour”), and had everyone at the tables hold hands and pray. In the simultaneous praying that ensued many pleas were uttered for national revival. After the last “amen” the crowd gave Hughes a standing ovation. President Nixon spoke briefly (“I pray that we listen to what God wants us to be as a nation”), and Vice-President Ford led in a prayer for God’s forgiveness and blessing nationally.

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Ford was the guest of honor—and speaker—at several functions. At a prayer breakfast sponsored by the National Religious Broadcasters in Washington he acknowledged that aberrations, frustrations, and controversy may mar national life and be disturbing personally. But, he affirmed, “our faith will carry us through.” He told of a “new mood” he observes in America, especially among young people. The Jesus movement and similar expressions of spiritual awakening are largely the reason, he said. It all signals a return to the religious basics that undergird the nation, he believes.

Ford, an Episcopalian, is devout but is not outspoken about his faith. At a prayer luncheon attended by 1,000 in Grand Rapids there was no mention of God or Christ in his speech. But his son Michael, 23, a Gordon-Conwell seminarian, redeemed the occasion with a testimony of his own conversion. Then he led in prayer—for his dad (“bless him with discernment and good judgment … and may the Holy Spirit indwell in him”). Afterward, they embraced briefly.

Religion In Transit

The 2,000-member First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted to leave the Southern Presbyterian fold and to join the new National Presbyterian Church. It led the denomination in mission giving, and Pastor Ben Haden has a nationwide broadcast.

Paul A. Crow, Jr., 42, the first full-time general secretary of the Consultation on Church Union (COCU), will leave that post in April to become president of the Council on Christian Unity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Danish film director Jens Joergen Thorsen now says his porno movie on the purported love affairs of Jesus will be filmed in an Arab oil state (he won’t name it). France earlier refused him entry, and Denmark withdrew a subsidy.

Pope Paul VI is suffering from leukemia, says Jesuit theologian Malachi Martin in an article in last month’s Intellectual Digest.

Members of the Sao Paulo, Brazil, Seventh-day Adventist Central Church, mourning the loss of nineteen of their young people who perished in a bus-truck collision, nevertheless by their faith and testimonies are exerting a powerful influence for Christ in the Sāo Paulo area, say observers. The bus was loaded with youths returning from a church youth congress in Gramado.


STEPHEN F. BAYNE, 65, Episcopal bishop and educator who was the first executive officer of the worldwide Anglican Communion; in Santurce, Puerto Rico, of an apparent heart attack.

DONALD H. MORRIS, 71, chancellor and former president of Abilene (Texas) Christian College, the Churches of Christ school; in Abilene, of a heart attack.

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