| SOCIAL ISSUES |Phileleftheros



After the major issue of the removal of the photograph of Makarios from the spot on the wall of the Presidential Palace, above the fireplace, where it had been for years, came [the issue of] the depiction of the Virgin Mary on the uniforms of students at the Pallouriotissa secondary school.

The school’s decision to offer two different uniform designs caused an uproar on the internet, among some media and politicians, forcing the school’s administration to (vigorously) defend its commitment to the Greek Christian symbols of the nation. [Translator’s note: Author refers to reactions after the school offered students of other religions the choice of an alternative uniform attire without the depiction of the Virgin Mary in the school logo] 

From what can be inferred from the announcement, the decision was made last year, it concerns the winter uniform (and only the pants) and is conditional (depending on what the new teachers’, parents’ and students’ associations decide).

The school affirms that it holds the banners of Christianity and Hellenism high and guards the sacred symbols of the school to the utmost. “The banner of the school with the emblem of the Virgin Mary stands as a shield of resistance against the conqueror. The Greek flag symbolises our national heritage, our history and traditions, the struggles of our race for Freedom and Dignity. The Cypriot flag symbolises our statehood, the Republic of Cyprus, that came through the struggles and sacrifices of the heroes of our special homeland.” Moreover, at the beginning of the school year, a blessing ceremony was held in the presence of all students regardless of religion.

In a few months’ time, when exam results come out, we will be talking about the low level of education, searching for where the fault lies by staring at the bottomless pit (for yet another year) and seeking indications of critical thinking. Already, desperate parents of children with special needs are looking for solutions so their children can attend school.

Nevertheless, what is being identified as a problem in the new school year is the symbol of the Virgin Mary on a school uniform. As if one’s faith and identity is judged by a symbol. Those with authority and those without authority are roaming around television channels expressing their anger. But no student will be made better by the clothes they wear.

No one will excel and contribute to the advancement of the country because of the uniform they wore in their school days. Nor is his patriotism and respect for the sacredness of the land judged by an embroidered symbol on the school uniform he once wore. Instead of dwelling on symbols as a sign of our Greek identity, let us reflect on why, after 12 years of education, students are not learning proper Greek. Let’s start with this in order to preserve our Greekness.


Daily columnist at Phileleftheros for 20 years and editor-in-chief of the architecture magazine Synthesis. Earlier she worked for Alitheia and Politis. She was born in Dikomo and has been living permanently in Nicosia. She is married with one son.

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