St George Greek Orthodox Church in Rose Bay in the eastern suburbs of Sydney celebrated its 60th anniversary on Saturday, November 12 with a black tie ball at The Fullerton Hotel.
On the night, the ballroom was filled with families, friends and parishioners from the parish, as well as a number of special guests. This included Archbishop Makarios of Australia; Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales; the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Ioannis Mallikourtis; St George Rose Bay parish priest, Father Gerasimos Koutsouras; and the President of the Parish Committee, Spero Raissis; among many others.
All attendees were treated to a three course meal on the night as they listened to a number of speeches highlighting the 60-year history of St George Rose Bay.
Event emcee, Mary Coustas, started the official proceedings with a video by students from the parish’s Sunday School singing the national anthems of Greece and Australia.
Next, Archbishop Makarios, Ms Beazley, Mr Mallikourtis and Mr Raissis all took to the stage to speak.
In his speech, Archbishop Makarios thanked parishioners, benefactors and donors for their support of St George Rose Bay over the years.
“I have no doubt that he [Saint George] is well-pleased with your noble endeavours to see this parish flourish as you bring God’s light to this corner of Sydney,” the Archbishop said.
Ms Beazley spoke next about her “proxy connection” to the parish and stressed that whilst St George Rose Bay is not a legend, “it is legendary.”
“When I was thinking about you as a parish, your church as a place in our community, it did seem to me that three things were of particular importance. The first is community – that’s your heart. It is your devotion at your church and as part of that community which binds you,” Ms Beazley said.
“Also at the heart of this parish of St George is commemoration because it is a church which has been dedicated to service people, to Greeks, Greek Australians who have served in the Australian Defence Services… that is an extraordinary dedication.”
The Consul General was next to the stage and shared his observations about the Greek community in Australia since his arrival in Sydney last month. Mr Mallikourtis stressed that whilst Greeks have flourished in Australia, there needs to be an increased focus on how to preserve the Greek language for future generations.
Last to speak was Parish President, Mr Raissis. He spoke about the accomplishments of the parish, including its fellowship programs, and announced that a portion of the funds raised on the night would be donated towards the St Andrews Theological College in Sydney.
At the conclusion of these official speeches, Archbishop Makarios presented a small gift to volunteers at St George Rose Bay in recognition of their dedication and long-term service.
Young Greek dancers from the parish’s dancing school then came out to perform a number of Greek dances. Everyone was then encouraged to get onto the dancefloor and enjoy some live Greek music.
*Photos by Realtime Photography & Video.