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History, Growth of the Enosis Movement

EOKA, Seychelles Islands, temporal power, church hierarchy, plebiscite

In 1948 the bishop of Citium of Cyprus, Mihail Mouskos, later Makarios III, began to organize support for enosis through the Church of Cyprus to exclude Communist influence and to restore the temporal power of the church. In January 1950 the British refused his request for a plebiscite on enosis. When the church hierarchy polled the Greek community, however, 95.7 percent favored union with Greece. In October, Bishop Mouskos was elected archbishop primate of Cyprus, with the title Makarios III, and he soon became the recognized leader of the enosis movement. A British announcement that the strategic position of Cyprus made it impossible to discuss any change in the political status of the island was followed by a terrorist campaign against the British that was instituted by an underground movement of Greek Cypriots known as the National Organization of Cypriot Struggle (Ethniki Organosis Kypriakou Agonos, or EOKA). In August 1954 Greece, which had previously avoided involvement in the situation because of its alliance with Britain, unsuccessfully sought to have the question of Cyprus brought before the United Nations General Assembly. In the subsequent UN discussion, Turkey announced that it opposed the union of Cyprus with Greece and declared that if Britain withdrew from Cyprus, the island should revert to Turkey.

Early in 1955 the Cypriots intensified their terrorist campaign against the British. A British attempt to settle the dispute by conference with the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey was unsuccessful. Early in 1956 the British government exiled Archbishop Makarios and the bishop of Kyrenia to the Seychelles Islands on the ground that the church leaders were responsible for the enosis demonstrations. The reaction in Cyprus to this move was so violent that the government declared a state of emergency. In early 1957 the UN General Assembly asked that negotiations be resumed. The EOKA leaders proposed a truce conditional on the release of Archbishop Makarios and the resumption of negotiations with him. The archbishop was released but was not permitted to return to Cyprus.

Article key phrases:

EOKA, Seychelles Islands, temporal power, church hierarchy, plebiscite, Church of Cyprus, Greek community, Cypriots, state of emergency, political status, United Nations General Assembly, General Assembly, church leaders, alliance, Cyprus, reaction, dispute, Britain, Turkey, Greece, island, percent, situation, ground, discussion, conference, change, support, request


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