ATHENS – Just as his body was about to lie in state for three days, a family feud over where famed composer Mikis Theodorakis would be buried was settled when it was decided to honor his wishes to be interred on Crete, next to his parents and brother.
That will take place on Sept. 9 in Galatas, near Chania although his daughter had wanted it to be in Vrachati, outside Corinth, where the composer had a summer home. An Athens First Instance Court issued a temporary ban on the burial until the family could work out the dispute and after unnamed Theodorakis collaborators had intervened, citing his expressed wishes and producing notarized documents.
The news came from Greece’s KKE Communist party with which he had a fractured relationship both as a devout member but who had jumped ship to be elected as a Member of Parliament with its arch-rival New Democracy in 1990. He left KKE in the 1960’s and rejoined the party in the late 1970’s. He had written a letter in October 2020 to Communist Party Secretary-General Dimitris Koutsoumbas, essentially entrusting him with the funeral arrangements, certifying his wishes. “Now, at the end of my life, at the time of taking stock, details are erased from my mind and the ‘Big Things’ remain. So, I see that I spent my most crucial, forceful and mature years, under KKE’s banner. For this reason, I want to depart this world as a Communist,” Theodorakis wrote.
Theodorakis had written a letter to the Mayor of Chania in 2013 expressing his wish to be buried in the cemetery of Galatas, a location west of Chania, from where his father hailed. “My family does not approve of my wish; however, the law recognizes everyone’s right to decide about the disposal of their body,” Theodorakis had written in the letter. KKE’s political bureau said his body will lie in state at Athens’ Metropolitan Cathedral from Sept. 6-8, beginning a day earlier than first announced. A “farewell ceremony” will take place Sept. 8 and the body will be flown to Crete later that day. (Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)