Cyprus axes "Big Mak" statue of first leader
NICOSIA (Reuters) - A towering bronze statue of Archbishop Makarios, Cyprus's first post-independence president, was axed on Thursday after complaints it was too big.
The 10 meter (about 30 ft) high bronze statue of the late Archbishop has been a landmark of the Cypriot capital Nicosia for more than a decade.
The island's Greek Orthodox Archbishop, Chrysostomos (eds: one name) ordered its move soon after he was elected head of the 2,000 year old church in 2006.
The statue dwarfs its surroundings, with many saying that it is out of place in the elegant environs of the medieval city. The Church has said the statue will be moved to the island's mountains, close to Makarios's grave.
Makarios, who died in 1977, had legions of followers and not everyone was happy at the removal of the statue.
"Makarios was a giant, we all loved him and I still have pictures of him at home," said pensioner Christina Tymbiou, 73 as she watched workmen use blowtorches to cut the statue away from its foundations.
"Makarios went to heaven, but this archbishop will go to hell for this," she said, referring to the incumbent.
Big Mak, as it is dubbed by some locals, has been replaced by a modest two meter high marble likeness which has already been erected in the area.
(Writing by Michele Kambas, editing by Paul Casciato)
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