GOCSA President visits monument site for Mati wildfire victims in Greece

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On the 5th anniversary of a deadly wildfire that devastated east Attica, Greece, in 2018, the President of the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA), Peter Gardiakos, and SA-BEST MLC Frank Pangallo attended a memorial service held at the seaside town of Mati on Sunday, July 23, to commemorate the 103 victims of the blaze.

“We came here to pay our respects and pray for the souls of the people who lost their lives in Greece’s worst natural disaster. We will ensure they will not be forgotten,” Mr Gardiakos said.

“No matter how far away from our homeland, South Australia’s Greek diaspora will be on the side of our compatriots whenever they need us.”

The memorial was held at the Koimisis tis Theotokou Church, Mati.

Following the service, Mr Gardiakos and Mr Pangallo, with Marathonas Council Mayor Stergios Tsirkas and local visual artist Calliope Iconomacou visited the site where a monument for the victims of the wildfires will be erected.

The project has progressed to the foundations and structural base and is expected to be completed in September 2023.

The design of the Memorial as conceptualised by project manager Calliope Iconomacou and the The Cargo Team.

The monument entitled ‘Memory’ (Μνήμη) and designed by Ms Iconomacou, project manager of The Cargo Team, will depict a large sphere three meters in diameter made of dark metal sheets. Inside the sphere, a sound installation will be broadcasting music composed especially for this project by composer Constantinos Michailidis. On the outside, water will flow slowly and continuously.

A large portion of this project (AUD$109,000) is being funded by money raised through the Greek and Cypriot Communities of South Australia, under the auspices of the Greek Fires Appeal Committee, the Australian Hellenic Medical Charity Inc, and a significant contribution by the South Australian state government.

Mayor Tsirkas said that “South Australia’s support is much appreciated” and thanked Mr Gardiakos and Mr Pangallo for attending the service.

At the site where the monument will be erected.

Mr Gardiakos placed a white orchid on the site of the monument and said that “GOCSA is proud to be a part of such an important project that will remind us of those who lost their lives but will also be a place where families will be able to gather and remember their loved ones.”

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