By Andriana Simos and Argyro Vourdoumpa.
The 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution only comes around once and Greek communities across Australia definitely made sure they celebrated the momentous occasion with a number of creative events, wreath laying and flag raising ceremonies.
Here’s our list of how Greek Independence Day celebrations went across Australia:
It was a full week of bicentenary celebrations for South Australia’s Greek community.
On March 25, a reception was held at South Australia’s Parliament by The Honourable Steven Marshall MP, Premier of South Australia, and Mr George Psiachas, Consul General of Greece in Adelaide, to celebrate Greek Independence Day. In attendance were also a number of Greek Australian politicians and representatives of Greek community organisations.
On the same day, the City of West Torrens and the Mayor Michael Coxon hosted a flag raising ceremony to acknowledge the important contribution the local Greek community has made to West Torrens.
To mark the occasion, some of Adelaide’s iconic buildings were lit blue and the Greek flag was flying from the Adelaide Town Hall balcony.
A Gala evening was also hosted by The Greek Orthodox Community of SA (GOSCA) on Friday, March 26 at the Olympic Hall in the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Adelaide, Mr Psiachas, among other dignitaries. A wreath laying ceremony on March 28, was also followed by performances from the Community’s Greek schools.
On Sunday, Canberra’s Greek community held a trisagio and wreath laying ceremony at the Australian Hellenic War Memorial for those who fought for Greek Independence.
The trisagio was conducted by the representative of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, Archepiscopal Vicar of Canberra, Very Reverend Prochoros Anastasiadis, assisted by Reverend Fathers Petros Kypouros and Iakovos Siriotis.
A number of Greek community representatives and leaders were also present including, the Ambassador of Greece in Australia, George Papacostas, Deputy High Commissioner of Cyprus, Michalakis Chatzikyrou, President of the Greek Community and Church of Canberra, John Loukadellis, Vice President of St Demetrios Parish and St Charalambos Chapel of Queanbeyan, Peter Vouzas, and Major Terry Kanellos OAM, Secretary of the Hellenic Sub Branch at RSL Melbourne, among many others.
The wreath laying ceremony was followed by a luncheon held at the Hellenic Club of Canberra, where attendees enjoyed music by DJ Stavros Giannakakis and dancing by the Canberra Hellenic Dancers.
This event came as during the week, under the initiative of the Greek Orthodox Community and Church of Canberra, Greek and Australian flags are proudly flying in various locations across the Canberra CBD, including at the Vernon Circle, Allara and Nangari Streets, Petrie Plaza, Gold Creek Village and Canberra Shopping Centre.
A number of buildings were also illuminated in blue and white such as the National Carillon Bell Tower, Questacon, the National Capital Authority, Ian Potter House, Black Mountain (Telstra Tower), the National Museum of Australia, The Hellenic Club of Canberra and the Greek Embassy in Australia.
The Greek Orthodox Community of North Australia (GOCNA) didn’t disappoint with its celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the Greek Revolution.
On Thursday, March 25, members of Darwin’s Greek community attended a cocktail function at the Northern Territory Parliament House, hosted by Chief Minister, Michael Gunner.
Mr Gunner gave speech at the event, as well as Associate Professor from Charles Darwin University, George Frazis, Peter Paroulakis and President of the Greek Orthodox Community of North Australia, Nicholas Poniris.
On the night, the Cyprus Community Dance Group also gave a small performance enjoyed by all, and the GOCNA had set up pop-ups of 1821 heroes and heroines to add an educational aspect to the event.
But the festivities didn’t stop there. On Saturday, March 27, the GOCNA’s Greek Orthodox School of Darwin held a special event, with students from all grades reciting poems, playing music and performing theatrical plays.
In attendance on the day was His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope, Father Chris from St Dimitrios Greek Orthodox Church in Adelaide, Natasha Fyles MP, Kate Warden MP, Honorary Consul General of Greece in Darwin, John Anictomatis, as well as other representatives of the Greek community.
This school event was followed up with a trisagio and wreath laying ceremony at St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Darwin, which was attended by a number of officials and Greek community representatives.
This includes, but is not limited to, Bishop Silouan, Father Chris, NT Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, Natasha Fyles MP, Kate Warden MP, Honorary Consul General of Greece in Darwin, John Anictomatis, Leader of the NT Opposition, Lia Finocchiaro, and Darwin’s Lord Mayor, Kon Vatskalis.
A luncheon followed the wreath laying ceremony, where speeches were given, musical and dance performances were displayed, and people enjoyed beautiful Greek food.
The Consulate of Greece in Perth organised a series of events to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the National Day of 25th March 1821.
On Thursday, March 25, the National Day Reception took place at the Perth Town Hall, in the presence of the Lieutentant Governor of WA, the Honourable Peter Quinlan, as well as other dignitaries, amongst which was the Hon Dr Tony Buti MLA, representing the Premier and the Lord Mayor of Perth, Mr Basil Zempilas.
On March 28, the annual Wreath Laying Ceremony of the Consulate was held at Kings Park State War Memorial in the presence of the Governor of WA as well as other representatives of the federal, state and local government.
The Wreath Laying was preceded by a Doxology at the Church of Evangelismos. Australian and Greek dignitaries paid their tribute by laying their wreaths and the ceremony was concluded with short speeches by the Consul of Greece in Perth, Ms Georgia Karasiotou, the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of WA and Mr Simon Millman MLA, Representing the Premier of WA.
Right after the Wreath Laying Ceremony, a special Bicentenary Celebration for the Hellenism of WA took place at St Andrew’s Grammar School. Prime Minister of Greece Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis sent a video message and the attendees were honoured by the virtual “live” presence of the Secretary General for Public Diplomacy and Greeks Abroad, Prof. John Chrysoulakis.
Famous Greek singer George Dalaras also sent a video/musical message, while Anastasios Karamintzas\Anastasis live offered us a journey in time and space with the performance of Greek songs by famous Greek composers and musicians.
A special Exhibition titled «Greece Liberated: Recognition and Establishment of Diplomatic and Consular Relations» is currently being held until April 3 at the ground floor of the Perth Town Halland and it’s open Daily: 10.00-16.00, except Sunday 28 March and Friday 2 April
On Sunday, March 28, the Greek community of Tasmania celebrated the Bicentennial for Greek Independence.
Everyone was invited to attend church services at the Hobart parishes of St Georges and Holy Trinity, and this was followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Hobart Cenotaph and then a community celebration at Hellenic House in North Hobart.
Wreaths were presented at the cenotaph from the Greek Community of Tasmania (and associated Greek community bodies), the Tasmanian representative for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and various Tasmanian state and local government representatives, and invited dignitaries.
A special highlight was the guest speaker, Dr Stavros Paspalas, Director of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens from the University of Sydney, who spoke to the community at Hellenic House about the importance the Greek War for Independence, in relation to the world stage at the time.
The senior members of our community also greatly enjoyed the day as they joined in with the Greek school students singing songs and reciting poems they had learned as children themselves.
The highlights on the day were many, but the most special was seeing the happy faces of the children as they shared centre stage on the day, participating in everything from the wearing of the National costumes of Greece, singing the National Anthems of Greece & Australia, dancing traditional dances, reciting poems in Greek and enjoying the celebration of our Greek identity.
In Queensland, a trisagion service was held at Brisbane’s Shrine of Remembrance for the fallen heroes and heroines of the Greek Revolution. The service was conducted by Reverend Father Timothy Evangelinidis, District Secretary for Queensland and Papua New Guinea Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
Brisbane’s Hellenic Dancers formed a guard of honour as His Excellency, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, as well as other representatives from the local Greek community, arrived at the Shrine.
This service was followed by the official Consulate of Greece of Queensland’s reception, which turned the Greek Club in Brisbane blue and white to mark the bicentenary of the Greek Revolution.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, attended the official reception, as well as High Commissioner for Cyprus, Martha Mavrommatis, among others. All were treated to great food and Greek music and dance performances.
New South Wales:
Of most significance in New South Wales, was the lighting of the Sydney Opera House blue and white on March 25 to mark the bicentenary. Sydney’s Greek community turned up in large groups to see the Opera House lit up officially by the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. People could also be seen dancing and singing the Greek National Anthem proudly.
Across the city, a number of other events were also held, including the ‘Greek Legends of the 20th Century’ tribute concert, the Greek Consulate of Sydney’s special reception, and the traditional wreath laying ceremony at the Martin Place cenotaph on Sunday.
In the Randwick and Canterbury Bankstown Council regions, the Greek flag was also raised at the Town Hall and Earlwood Senior Citizens Centre respectively.
Victoria’s Greek community was out in force on Sunday, March 28, as they held their official commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution.
The celebrations began with a Divine Liturgy and Doxology service at Victoria’s first Greek Orthodox Church, The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. This was followed by cultural festivities down at Lansdowne Street in East Melbourne organised by the Greek Community of Melbourne.
In recognition of the 200th anniversary of the 1821 Greek Revolution, the Greek Community of Melbourne also lit up its 15-storey cultural centre in blue and white, while the Greek Orthodox Community of Oakleigh and District (Community), lit up Saints Anargiri Church with the Greek heroes of the Revolution.