Philip Christopher Speaks to TNH about His Dear Friend Nikos Mouyiaris

PSEKA President Philip Christopher and Congressman Gus Bilirakis at a fundraiser in his honor at Dionysos restaurant in Astoria. (Photo: TNH/Kostas Bej)

BOSTON – Philip Christopher, the well-known entrepreneur, President of PSEKA and fighter for the liberation of Cyprus from Turkish occupation, spoke exclusively to The National Herald about his close friend and comrade-in-arms Nikos Mouyiaris, the prominent businessman, scientist, and philanthropist who died on January 5.

Christopher said that “Nikos was a simple man, a great Hellene and philanthropist. We fought together for forty years for justice for Cyprus; we organized together the Pan Cyprian Association of America. He was a man who believed that there is no second life and the words of the poet Odysseas Elytis describe Niko’s character more than anybody else because Nikos wanted to help all people and organizations.”

He added that “Nikos was a person who was continuously helping all the institutions of Cyprus, especially his village Athienou where he spent a lot of money on the museum, the school, the orphanage and many other things. Here in the USA there is no organization that Nikos didn’t help. He established the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) because his vision was to create something similar to the Jewish-American Lobby.”

Christopher also said that “Nikos didn’t only help Hellenism, Greece, and Cyprus but he helped schools and orphanages in Africa and institutions in many places. The Elytis Institute at Rutgers University was very important to him because he loved Elytis very much.”

Christopher emphasized that “Niko’s death is a big hurt not only for me personally and his family but for the entire Greek-American Community, for Hellenism as a whole; we lost a great Hellene.”

The two of them met, Philip Christopher said, “when Nikos arrived in the U.S. but we became closer in 1974 with Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus. After that we launched together the big fight. Nikos wasn’t rich when he first came from Cyprus as a student. He was working and studying at the same time, he received his diploma and he started his cosmetics company called MANA Products which he developed to be a big company. He wanted to succeed in his businesses in order to be able to help others, which he did. There are many other wealthy Greek-Americans, but nobody has the soul that Nikos had, his purpose was to help.”

Christopher said “we were getting together every week, except for the last two weeks of his life because Nikos couldn’t talk, but until December we were together continuously.” He added that, “the good thing was that he didn’t suffer at the end. We knew from the beginning that the fight against the brain cancer was difficult. He fought to live because he wanted to help more people.”

Asked what Nikos Mouyiaris was saying during their last meetings, Christopher said “his wish was to continue the fight, to remain united. He also wanted to establish a big Greek Cultural Center in Manhattan for the young generation. His thought was that Hellenism shouldn’t perish.”

Christopher said, “there will not be an official funeral. His daughter Arianna who lives in London is due to give birth this month and then she will come to New York and we will see what we can do as a Memorial Service, in any case there is not going to be a funeral.” He added there will not be a viewing at a funeral home. Asked if that was his wish, Christopher said, “probably it would have been his wish, but I don’t want to go into details.”