Photo taken on Sept. 8, 2021 shows the farewell ceremony of late Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens, Greece. Greece bid final farewell on Wednesday to the country's renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis, who passed away last Thursday aged 96. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
ATHENS, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Greece bid final farewell on Wednesday to the country's renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis, who passed away last Thursday aged 96.
Best known internationally as the composer of the syrtaki dance from the 1964 movie "Zorba the Greek," Theodorakis left behind a wide body of work.
He composed scores for many other films, such as "Serpico" and "Z," popular songs based on poems written by major Greek poets as well as Federico Garcia Lorca and Pablo Neruda, in addition to operas, symphonic works and music for ancient tragedies.
Following three days of national mourning and another three days during which thousands of people lined up to pay homage to Theodorakis, political leaders, artists, academics and a large crowd gathered inside and outside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens on Wednesday for the farewell ceremony.
"With respect and emotion, on behalf of all Greeks, I bid farewell to Mikis Theodorakis. He will always be here, a flower sprouting in our memory," Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said.
"Both his creation and his political stance have always been determined by the belief that an artist can find poetry and truth among the people and that without faith in people no creator can spread his wings to the world," she said.
Theodorakis served as a member of Parliament (MP) of the Greek Communist Party KKE in the 1980s and as minister in the 1990s.
"Dashing, revolutionary, passionate, your music is a declaration that our world needs change and can change," Dimitris Koutsoumpas, general secretary of the KKE, said during Wednesday's ceremony. "You showed us the power of the Greek people, the power of the peoples of the world."
Theodorakis will be buried on Thursday in his hometown on the island of Crete. On Wednesday, as his coffin was carried out of the cathedral, people applauded, singing lyrics from his songs and shouting "Immortal."
"I am here today to honor our great Mikis, the significant composer and man who fought throughout his life for democracy and rights. He was a leader," Niki Pappa, one of the citizens in the crowd, told Xinhua. Enditem