Burwood Council took part in the month long celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the Greek revolution, held under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Australia.
Dignitaries present at the event include Christos Karras, the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Martha Mavrommati, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, Jodi McKay, leader of NSW Opposition and Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism, Katia Gkikiza, trade commissioner of Greece in Australia, John Faker, Mayor of Burwood Council, Cr Heather Crichton and Cr Raj Dixit, Tommaso Briscese, General Manager of Burwood Council, Antoine Doueihi, Mayor of Strathfield, Rev. Fr George Liangas, as well as the Greek RSL sub-branch representing Peter Tsigounis.
The ceremony commenced with a parade of young school children and Greek dancers marching onto the large stage sat in Burwood park, which was decorated with hanging Greek and Australian flags. Following a Greek dance on the stage, the students joined Fr George Liangas and Mr Peter Tsigounis in the opening proceedings.
Master of Ceremonies Dimitrios Kametopoulos introduced Mayor John Faker as the first speaker to celebrate the historic occasion, who noted the unforgettable role St Nectarios Church has played in the Greek community of Burwood.
“I want to say a big thank you to the contribution you are making to our community for the last 30 to 40 years, some of you 50 years, and it’s really important that we continue to celebrate this diversity and your culture and importantly the faith,” Mayor Faker said.
Mr Christos Karras spoke about the role Greek Australians have played in shaping their new homeland, but also about the role the Greek diaspora and philhellenes played during the Greek revolution.
“The philhellenes and Greek diaspora struggled together to promote the Greek cause… and their work proved to be critical to the future of the revolution,” Mr Karras said.
Martha Mavrommati spoke about the unforgettable role Cypriots played in the Greek revolution, and continue to play a role in honouring the heroes of the Greek revolution.
“Be proud of your heritage, be proud of your language and be proud of your religion, and don’t forget what the Greeks said when they were fighting during the revolution: It’s better to be free for one minute than to be for 40 years in imprisonment and enslavement,” the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus said.
Concluding the dignitaries speeches was Jodi McKay MP, who expressed her honour in participating in the month long celebrations of the Greek revolution bicentenary anniversary, especially in her representative seat of Strathfield.
“I also what to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of St Nectarios Church last year,” Ms McKay said, adding that the work of Rev. Fr George Liangas is greatly appreciated in the Burwood and Greek communities of Sydney.
Following the speeches was a choir and musical performance by members of the St Nectarios parish, as well as a poetry recital by the Greek school students.
Mr Chris Christogeorge gave his Greek national day address in the Greek language, speaking about the heroes of the Greek revolution.
“Greek general Theodoros Kolokotronis once said that ‘God is with us and he’s helping us. Because we fight with our faith for our country, for our elder parents, our children and ultimately for our Freedom. And when God helps, we can’t be defeated'”, Mr Christogeorge said.
The Nassibian dancers followed the powerful speech by Mr Christogeorge, who were directed by Christina Efthymiades. Mr Costa Vertzayias, author of ‘1821’, also spoke about the significance of the Greek revolution when looking upon all revolutions in Europe and the United States of America.
Another poetry recital followed, along with a speech from Mr Tony Diakopanagiotis, the Greek School sub-committee President.
The event concluded with another performance from the Nassibian dancers, along with a speech from Greek school principal Dimitrios Kametopoulos, and closing statement by Rev Fr George Liangas.