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Cyprus: Memorial for the victims of the “Helios” plane tragedy, in Paralimni

As it has been 17 years since that black Sunday of August 14, 2005, when the ‘Sun / Helios’ went out for 121 innocent souls who so unjustly lost their lives after the plane crash in Grammatiko Attica, at the Metropolitan Church of Saint George in Paralimni, Cyprus, the annual memorial service for those who had passed away was held by the Metropolitan Vasileios of Constantia and Famagusta. The Memorial Service was preceded by the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Vassiliou.

As stated on the website of the Holy Metropolis of Constantia and Famagusta, this is one of the greatest August tragedies that shook Cyprus after the second phase of the Turkish invasion in 1974 and the assassination of Solomos Solomou in 1996.

Entire families were exterminated, it is pointed out, children were left orphans, dozens of relatives were plunged into mourning with indignation and the many “whys” that plagued their thinking from the first moment until today. Others left with the pain of losing their loved ones.

The mourning was particularly heavy for the Municipality of Paralimni, which mourned a total of 12 people and four others originally from Paralimni and residing in Limassol. Two entire families,  of Christos Pyrillis and Antonis Antoniou, perished in the wreckage of the plane, as well as three members of the Koutsoftas family, who left behind the then two-year-old Vassilis.

The Minister of Health of Cyprus, Michalis Hatzipantela, attended the annual memorial service on behalf of the state. Also present was the Mayor of Paralimni, Theodoros Pyrillis, the Mayor of Lefkonikou, Zina Lysandrou, members of parliament, representatives of the security forces and dozens of believers.

This was followed by a Trisagion Service and laying of wreaths on the graves of the victims at the Paralimni Cemetery.

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