Memorial to mark Greek Revolution bicentenary unveiled in SA in presence of Evzones

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A memorial to commemorate the bicentenary of the Greek Revolution has been unveiled at St George Greek Orthodox Church in Thebarton, South Australia this morning in the presence of Greece’s Presidential Guard.

The memorial was set to be erected in 2021 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the unveiling was postponed until this Friday – which marks the 82nd anniversary of Greece’s National Day (‘OXI’ Day).

The unveiling ceremony began with a contingent from the Hellenic Presidential Guard standing guard inside St George church in the morning for a Doxology service led by Bishop Silouan of Sinope and parish priest Father Diogenis Patsouris.

There were a number of officials present during the Doxology including Greece’s Deputy Defence Minister, Nikos Hardalias; the Consul General of Greece in Adelaide, George Psiachas; Federal Member for Adelaide, Steve Georganas; SA Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Tom Koutsantonis; SA Minister for Multiculturalism, Zoe Bettison; SA Best MLC Connie Bonaros; Mayor of the City of West Torrens, Michael Coxon; Chair of the Foundation for Hellenic Studies, Greg Crafter; Chair of the SA Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, Adriana Christopoulos; and the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis; among many others.

After the Doxology, these attendees moved outdoors for a number of speeches and the unveiling of the memorial by Mr Koutsantonis. The memorial has been supported by the SA Government.

Mr Koutsantonis spoke first about the “long connection” between Australia and Greece which stems from when the Greeks and the Anzacs fought together during WWI and WWII.

The SA Minister also described the importance of the flame which will be constantly lit inside the memorial.

“In 1821, the light of Greek Independence had not gone out after 400 years of occupation. It burnt bright. Today, at St George, in Australia, that flame burns again. We will never forget… Freedom or Death!” Mr Koutsantonis said.

Next to speak was Greece’s Deputy Defence Minister. Mr Hardalias spoke about the history of OXI Day, before thanking local Greeks for their warm welcome of him during his official visit to Australia this week.

The official ceremony concluded with the national anthems of Greece and Australia, as well as refreshments and canapes.

Commemorative events to mark OXI Day will continue tomorrow in SA with a wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial along with members of the Hellenic Presidential Guard.

*All photos copyright: The Greek Herald / Argyro Vourdoumpa

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