The body of revered Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis, was heading to its final resting place on the island of Crete on Wednesday after lying in state at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral for three days.
Theodorakis, whose musical score for the 1964 movie “Zorba the Greek” helped foster a carefree image of Greece abroad for millions, died on September 2 aged 96.
Thousands of mourners of all ages laid flowers and sang his songs over the three days that his casket was on public display in the chapel of Agios Eleftherios beside the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral.
A farewell ceremony on Wednesday drew officials and ordinary Greeks, who gathered in a light autumnal drizzle outside the cathedral.
Greek President, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, delivered a brief eulogy during a memorial service held in the main church, describing the late composer as a “teacher and a paradigm.”
“He will always be with us, rooted in our collective memory,” Sakellaropoulou said.
“His music was a call to rise above the personal and commune with others; a code that transcended circumstances, standing for resistance, hope, camaraderie and collective struggles.”
On Wednesday evening, hundreds of citizens gathered at Piraeus port as well to bid farewell to Theodorakis, as his remains departed on a ferry for Crete ahead of his burial on Thursday. The ship containing the hearse and late composer’s coffin departed gate E2 shortly before 7 pm.
As his remains were being taken onto the ship, Piraeus Brass Band played some of the late composer’s music.
The ferry is scheduled to arrive in Crete at 7.30 am. His remains will then be carried to Hania Cathedral. At 1 pm, his body will be taken to the Church of Aghios Nikolaos in his paternal village of Galatas, where a funeral service will be conducted.
Theodorakis will be buried in the village cemetery beside his brother and parents, in accordance with his wishes.
Both the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the leader of the opposition, Alexis Tsipras, have announced that they will be in attendance.