A celebration of Greek culture was the theme of the night as the community took part in the official launch of the Greek Festival of Sydney at Enmore Theatre on Friday night.
There were a number of political officials and leaders of the Greek community that spoke at the event, including Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Christos Karras, Very Rev. Prohoros Anastasiadis, representing His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, Martha Mavrommati, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, Hon Scot Farlow, representing NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Geoff Lee MP, Opposition leader Jodie Mckay MP, and Inner-West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne.
Starting off the night was an acknowledgement of country by an Indigenous performer, who connected with audience members after speaking about his Cypriot wife. This was followed by a performance by the Paroula Greek School dancers.
Speaking at the event, Consul General of Greece in Sydney Christos Karras said the Greek revolution is a “critical chapter” in Greek history and the formation of the modern Greek state.
“2021 will be a milestone for Greece and the worldwide celebrations for this landmark anniversary, to give us the opportunity to reflect on Greek culture, on the Greek way of life and the potential of Greeks in the homeland and abroad,” Christos Karras said.
“The Greek festival of Sydney showcases Greek cultural and artistic heritage in life, celebrating Greek art, literature, history, food and music.”
Very Rev. Prohoros Anastasiadis spoke at the event on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, who is currently in Constantinople with the Holy and Greek Synod.
“We’ve gathered this evening for two reasons. Firstly to reflect, and secondly to admire and thank,” Fr Anastasiadis said.
“To reflect on 200 years of independence. To reflect on the ideals of bravery, courage, the struggles and all that is right. To reflect on 39 years of the Greek festival, a festival that aims to promote all that is Greek, our orthodox faith, our language and our culture.”
High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Martha Mavrommati was very vocal about the “passion” that should be felt by Greeks as they celebrate 200 years of the Greek War for Independence. Mavrommati gave thanks to Australia for being able to gather in a theatre. A luxury that won’t be enjoyed by Greece, Cyprus, and the many other countries in the world.
“Cyprus participated in the Greek revolution, but Cyprus continues its own struggle for freedom of our country. So let us tonight enjoy the music so our children have a future of this world because it is a beautiful multicultural country,” Martha Mavrommati said to thunderous applause.
“So let us say, god bless Australia, god bless this multicultural country, god bless Greece and Cyprus.”
Inner-West Council mayor Darcy Byrne opened his speech by introducing people to the “Hellenic Republic of the Inner-West”.
“Here in Enmore, here in the Inner-West, is the birthplace of Australian multiculturalism and the beating heart of Greek-Australian culture. We made the decision to rename central Marrickville as Little Greece,” Darcy Byrne said.
Sydney’s political and cultural leaders continued speeches until the performances of the Kostas Mountakis’ Tribute Concert, which was performed live on Thursday night, took to the stage to satisfy the audiences musical bones. Also performing on the night was George Doukas and the D Strings and Iho Nyx.
The Greek Fest was the first official event of the 39th Greek Festival of Sydney, organised by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW.