Greek community of Canberra celebrates 80th anniversary of OXI Day

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By Evelyn Karatzas.

OXI day, the 28th of October, is celebrated all around the world to commemorate the day Greece said NO to the Italian’s taking over Greece back in 1940, prior to World War 2.

On Wednesday at the Greek Embassy of Australia, the Greek Orthodox Community & Church of Canberra held a special ceremony to celebrate this day. Special guests such as the Hellenic Club of Canberra President, Mr Stef Pashalidis, the Ambassador of Greece in Australia, His Excellency Mr George Papacostas, the High Commissioner of Cyprus, Mrs Martha Mavrommatis, the Cyprus Community of Canberra President, Mrs Georgia Alexandrou, as well as other presidents of local Greek associations, were all in attendance to the event to share speeches and words of wisdom on the significance of OXI day and what it means to Greeks. The event was MC’d by President of the Greek Community & Church of Canberra Mr John Loukadellis.

John Loukadellis (left) and the High Commissioner of Cyprus, Mrs Martha Mavrommatis (right).

The event had a total of 220 people in attendance, running from 6-8pm in the gardens of the embassy. It showcased 25 children from the Greek School of Canberra performing songs and poems about Oxi Day, followed by the Canberra Hellenic Dancers Atalanti group performing traditional Greek dances to further celebrate and commemorate the occasion. Kiria Anastasia, Kiria Dora, Kiria Stella, Kiria Marilena, Kiria Eva and Kirio Sotiri were all very proud of their students for their amazing efforts today.

“We were very blessed that we got to celebrate this historic and religious event as a community, united to remember the fallen heroes of 28 October 1940, for they sacrificed their today for our tomorrow,” Mr Loukadellis shared.

The High Commissioner of Cyprus, Mrs Mavrommatis, stated “we are very proud of our kids because we know that our community has a future and ‘Hellenicism’ will never die as we continue to grow our culture, language and our religion and will forever be proud Greeks.”

The event was a hit with the younger generation as well.

CMS radio’s Greek radio programme host, Mr Dimitris Saragas, further stated: “I am very proud to be a Greek” after seeing the kids today do an “amazing job” in keeping the traditions and culture alive in Canberra.

Theodore Leonidas Merkoureas, senior teacher of the Atalanti Canberra Hellenic Dancers group, also shared “oxi day is an extremely important day in Greek and world History and we’re always excited to support and promote our national culture.”

Mr Loukadellis stated: “I am extremely proud of the efforts of our teachers and our amazing students and Hellenic Dancers performance at this evenings events. We would also like to thank the Ambassador of Greece, H.E Mr George Papacostas, for his continued support of our community and for opening the doors to the embassy for our community to celebrate OXI Day in such a beautiful residence” and further thanked everyone who came and supported the event.

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