Choletria was always present in all struggles for the freedom and democracy of Cyprus. Father Lazaros characteristically remarks that “the small community of Choletria played its own part in the liberating fights of our people. The pantheon of our country’s heroes is also dignified with brave men who were born on the land of Choletria”.
WORLD WAR I
According to verbal testimonies, some of residents of the village fought in World War I. Unfortunately, as Father Lazaros states, only two names were saved, “one of which was Neophytos Georgiou and the other one was Stavris of Tssattali”.
WORLD WAR II
Choletria also took part in World War II. What is more, Father Lazaros writes that “taking into account that it was a small village, the number of men sent to war was relatively big”. Thanks to Father Lazaros, the names of some of our fellow villagers who took part in World War II have been preserved.
With the declaration of the war during the first months of 1939, Giorgis, son of Pantelis and Polymnous, enlisted into the fight. Primarily, he fought in Crete and next he became a guerilla on the mountains.
Many of our fellow villagers were recruited as mule drivers. Father Lazaros writes that “they would carry ammunition with the mule-donkeys at the front defense line all night”, and adds that “they took part in the battles of Kassino of Toomprouk at El Alamein, Egypt, Italy and elsewhere. They came face to face with death many times, but God protected them”. Some of them are “Charalambos Onisiforou, also called Parperis (Barber), Neoklis Neophytou, Giasonis Ioannou, Andreas Nisiforou, Athanasis Ioannou, Tzirkallis Costi and Giorgos Antoniou”.
National Liberating fight
During the national liberating fight of 1955-1959, Theodoros Christophides was killed by the explosion of a self-made bomb the moment that he was getting ready to throw it against the British soldiers. This, according to Father Lazaros, “happened on the 30th of July 1958”. Theodoros Christophides was only 21 years old.
During the period of the inter-communal riots, two of our fellow villagers, Demosthenis Perikli and Galateia Christophides, lost their lives, while Aristodemos Pazilios was seriously injured.
On the 14th of February 1964, as Father Lazaros remarks, “Turkish-Cypriot chauvinists from Stavrokonou killed Demosthenis Perikli, a good and peaceful man, while he was returning from work”.
On the 7th of March of the same year, during the rumbles that took place in Ktima (Paphos), Galateia Christophide was killed by a bomb thrown by Turkish-Cypriots. In the same rumbles, Aristodemos Pazilios was seriously injured. Pazilios died from his wounds in March 1966.
Dark pages in history
Father Lazaros also refers to incidents which were written in the dark pages of our island’s history.
In particular, Father Lazaros writes that on the 1st of July 1973, the seventeen year old student Kyriacos Papalazarou was killed in cold blood by a member of EOKA B’.
On July 15th 1974, the day the military coup erupted, Phedias Stokkos, member of the reserve body, was killed by the betraying organization EOKA B’.
On July 20th 1974, when the Turks invaded the island, Soteris Papalazaros, a first year medicine student, was killed in the battle that took place in Episkopi of Lemesos. Soteris Papalazaros, as Father Lazaros states, “fought in every legal power against the members of EOKA B’ who took part in the military coup. He also fought along with other brave men at the Fifth City School of Lemesos in Agios Ioannis”.
In conclusion, certain phrases from the auctorial work of Father Lazaros are worth mentioning: “Beyond the eponym heroic dead, there are tens of anonymous and inconspicuous heroes, sons of the earth of Choletria who actively took part in the liberating fights of our people”.
Papalazaros Neophytos, Palies istories tis Koinotitas Choletrion (Old stories of the Community of Choletria), Paphos.
Papalazaros Neophytos, I Koinotita Choletrion kai to Istoriko tis Metoikisis (The Community of Choletria and the Historic background of the Migration), Paphos 1993