With a reception held at the Hellenic Club and hosted by the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Christos Karras, in presence of 100 political, religious and community leaders the state’s Greek consulate commemorated the 200th Anniversary from the beginning of the Greek Revolution.
“For the Greek Diaspora here in Australia and living abroad, Greek Independence Day takes on a special meaning. It is a celebration commemorating the start of the Greek war of Independence and reminds us of what our ancestors fought and died for. The Greek bicentenary is a once in a lifetime event for Greeks in Australia and abroad,” said the MC for the night, Director of the Business Leaders Council at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Paul Nicolaou.
The list of distinguished guests included: Rev. Father Christophoros Krikelis representing His Emminence Archbishop of Australia Makarios, the Official Secretary to the Governor of NSW Colonel Michael Miller representing the Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley, Eleni Petinos member for Miranda representing the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Multiculturalism Geof Lee, Jodi McKay member for Strathfield and Leader of the NSW opposition, the High Commission of Cyprus in Australia Martha Mavrommatis, City of Sydney Councillor Mr Robert Kok representing the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Mrs Clover Moore, Courtney Houssos MLC, Mark Buttigieg MLC, Steve Kamper MP, Consul Generals of consulates from at least 17 countries, Trade Commissioner Katia Gkikiza and representatives of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW.
“Today we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the start of the Greek Revolution of 1821, the start of a long struggle, against the odds, which lead to the birth of the modern Greek state, in a region of course where Greeks had existed for thousands of years, speaking more or less the same beautiful language that we Greeks speak today, with the long polysyllabic words and the rich etymology,” Mr Karras said, explaining that the bicentenary anniversary is also an opportunity to celebrate the common bonds between Greece and Australia and the contribution of the Greek diaspora to Australia’s multicultural character.
In his speech, the Official Secretary to the Governor of NSW, Colonel Michael Miller, whose father fought in some of the battles that took place in Greece during WW2, referred to the Greek connection with NSW through their common resistance to the German occupation.
Member for Miranda Eleni Petinos, said that the NSW government is proud to join in the celebrations for the momentous occasion by lighting up the Opera House sails in blue and white colours on Thursday.
“On Thursday the NSW Parliament will be suspending standing orders and will be moving a motion in bipartisan support of the 200th Anniversary and it gives me great pleasure to say that we will be doing this with Steve Kamper and Sophie Cotsis,” Ms Petinos said.
Addressing the attendees, Opposition Leader Jodi McKay read a speech that she recently gave at the Parliament of NSW.
“We have our Greek members in Parliament but there are many of us who are not Greek, but are very proud to represent the Greek community, like I am,” she said and went to present the Consul General with the speech, on behalf of the Labor Party.
The evening continued with a speech from academic Vrasidas Karalis and the attendees were entertained with songs from the Hellenic Choir and traditional dances from the Hellenic Lyceum of Sydney.