2020 Assemble Conference brings hundreds of NSW youth together

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The Youth Assemble conference 2020 brought together hundreds of Greek Orthodox youth, aged in their late teens, twenties and thirties. The Greek youth came together at St Euphemia College Bankstown, Sydney, to discuss their Greek Orthodox faith and culture under the guidance of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios.

The theme of this years Youth Assemble conference centred on ‘Salt and Light’ with a variety of speakers revealing how to use these concepts, raised by St Matthew, into people’s own lives.

The Youth Assemble began at St Euphemia church with a service and moved into St Euphemia College next door following the service end. Prior to the commencement of the conference, youth and priests were given the opportunity to gather and make use of a loukoumades station, coffee station, or purchase Assemble 2020 merchandise.

Loukoumades station at the 2020 Youth Assemble. Photo: Peter Oglos
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios with Greek Herald writer Peter Oglos.

Soon after, people were moved into the school hall to begin the conference, led by His Eminence.

“Today we are gathered together for this conference, here in Sydney, as good friends…. So I have a great joy to be with you, like I was with some of the Youth in the other states, and I look forward to speaking with you, hearing from you and learning what you want from our church and what you expect from your Archbishop,” Archbishop Makarios opened at the Youth Conference.

Among His Eminence were other panelists, who spoke at different points of the day about the ongoing theme of ‘salt and light’, as well as talking about their own journeys. Speakers included Dr Dimitri Kepreotes, Mr Denne Cruz, Dr Philip Kariatlis and Mr Adnrew Psarommatis.

Dr Dimitri Kepreotes graduated Macquaire University with a PhD on the continuity of Greek education (paideia) from Plato through to St Photios the Great (9th Century) and St Nicodemos the Athonite (18th Century).

“The poetic verses, as you will hopefully see, are light-hearted but with a serious undertone, a reminder that our course in life is always a mixture of both,” Dr Kepreotes spoke prior to his panel.

Lunch served and led by a prayer from His Grace Bishop Emilianos. Photo: Peter Oglos

Lunch commenced shortly after Kepreotes’ speech with His Eminence, His Grace Bishop Emilianos and the clergy offering a prayer prior to the food service.

Also speaking at the conference was Mr Denne Cruz, who communicated his life story with the audience, entailed with the hardships of converting to a Greek Orthodox Christian.

Read More: Denne Cruz: How a homeless American man found a home in the Greek Australian community

Dr Phillip Kariatlis spoke shortly about St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College followed by a presentation by Mr Andre Psarommatis. Mr Psarommatis has been translating Archbishop Makarios’ works from Greek to English and added another dimension of what ‘Salt and Light’ means to the Greek Orthodox youth of Australia.

The conference finished with an open panel, led by His Grace Bishop Emilianos, Father Athanasios and Dr Philip Kariatlis, answering questions regarding the NSW youth’s involvement in the Greek Orthodox Church. The Greek Orthodox youth had the option to stay for dinner, hosted in the St Euphemia School hall.

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