Archbishop Makarios of Australia marks International Greek Language Day


Archbishop Makarios of Australia has sent a message to mark International Greek Language Day on February 9.

In the message, he praised the role of the Greek language in humanity and called for Greek people to celebrate this day with pride.

Full message in English

“Look what a wonderful thing it is to consider that, from the time when Homer spoke until today, we speak, breathe and sing in the same language. And this never stopped, whether we think of Clytemnestra talking to Agamemnon, or the New Testament, or the hymns of Romanus or Digenis Akritas, or the Cretan Theater and Erotokritos or the folk songs.

Today, when, together with the memory of our national poet Dionysios Solomos, we also honour the greatness of the Greek language, let us look at another great poet born by our homeland. Giorgos Seferis invites us to turn our attention to a “wonderful thing,” which is not relegated to the distant past that is lost in the “night of the past,” but is in “the marrow of our bones.”

So aptly and in such a condensed way, he outlines the essence of what essentially constitutes a primary element of our identity: our Greek language.

The Greek language has been praised by numerous intellectuals and cultural personalities throughout the world because over the centuries it has been – more than any other code of communication and understanding – a vehicle for the expression of the human spirit and a driving force for the advancement of science.

It played a fundamental role in the establishment of European and international culture, and for that reason it has rightly been characterised as a universal language.

The Greeks of Australia, blessed to live in a multicultural society where we hear every day words that trace their origins to the language of our ancestors, we have more reasons to celebrate today with pride.

And it is this pride that gives us strength as we hold on our shoulders the great responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the precious treasure we have inherited.

It is this pride that allows us, despite the objective difficulties and the great distance that separates us from our beloved homeland, to keep our Greek language alive in the Antipodes and to systematically cultivate it, so that it is also a property of the younger generations.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia will not cease to maintain the power of its mission and its work, the operation of educational structures which, as modern “arks,” lead in saving the language, but also the traditions and all the values of our faith and race.

And this blessed purpose could not be achieved without the sacrificial ministry of our people – executives and volunteers of the educational institutions and the parishes-communities. On the occasion of today, I thank them from the bottom of my heart and may God always bless their works.




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