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Cross on Grave of Famed Writer Nikos Kazantzakis Vandalized on Crete

IRAKLIO, Crete – A wooden cross on the grave of Greece’s perhaps most famous writer Nikos Kazantakis, with works like Zorba the Greek, was broken at the tomb that’s his resting place in his hometown Iraklio on the island of Crete.

It bears the epitaph depicting his life from 1883-1957: “I hope for nothing, I fear nothing. I am free,” but the desecration at the site on Martinengo Bastion, one of the six bastions of Venetian walls, brought sadness and swift denunciation.

Katerina Zografistou, President of the Greece Branch and a member of the Coordinating Committee of the International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis, said she was dismayed over it.

A snapshot of the grave of the writer Nikos Kazantzakis at Martinego, Heraklion, Crete, after the vandalism by unknowns, Wednesday, August 2, 2023. (Stefanos Rapanis/EUROKINISSI)

“The vandalism of the cross on Nikos Kazantzakis’ tomb is not only an offense to the memory of a great Greek writer, but it also exhibits disrespect towards our culture,” she told the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA).

“Respecting our monuments is not just a choice but our obligation; otherwise, we do not deserve to have renowned writers or monuments,” she added, Greece having relatively few dedicated to its most famous, including from ancient days.

Iraklio Vice-Mayor of Culture Aristea Plevri, said the cross would be quickly fixed but it wasn’t said whether anyone was questioned or detained nor what the motivation might have been.

The site regularly gets a line of visitors who want to pay their respects to Kazantzakis, famous for tangles with the church and priests, so much so he was threatened with excommunication.

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