Whenever I go back to Cyprus, I will always visit my home village of Dhavlo. I will drive via Kantara, open the windows to smell the pine trees and the fresh air, and look down on the bluest sea you have ever seen.
I spent the happiest years of my life, my childhood years, in Dhavlo. The home of my parents is built next to the village church of St. George which is now in a desperate state. It is also now next to a flock of sheep; a city boy will never get used to that smell.
Dhavliotes have been scattered across Cyprus and the world, but every year there is a get-together, a Synestiasi, in Cyprus. Unfortunately, this year it has been cancelled due to the very recent tragic death of Athinoulla Louca, our Muktari’s wife.
It is important for all villages, not just the ones in the north, to come together, because our roots are in those places. Our children and grandchildren should know where they came from. They should know the injustice wrought upon us and how all of Yiayia and Pappou’s hard work was taken from them in 1974.
This year we will celebrate the feast of Saint Sozon on Sunday 1st September, 11.00am at St. Mary’s Cathedral, for the liturgy and also hold a memorial service for all the departed Dhavliotes, for Father Chrysostomos who was finally buried 45 years after he was murdered, and the other Dhavliotes who are still missing following the invasion.
After the liturgy, we will meet for refreshments and tasty savoury treats prepared by the ladies of the Philoptochos and discuss a project to map our village family tree so come prepared with names of grandparents please. All welcome.
Let us gather today and together sing to Sozon, / the true and divinely wise martyr, / an expert fighter for the faith, / the mystical seer of divine grace, / a generous provider of healing, / who prays to Christ God for us all.