Pontians in Melbourne and Sydney honour Panagia Soumela

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The member organisations of the Federation of Pontian Associations held a number of celebrations honouring Panagia Soumela (Our Lady of Mount Mela) this weekend.

Melbourne’s Akrites Tou Pontou Cultural Association began celebrations on Saturday with a rich event incorporating an unforgettable performance by the Akrites dancers.

In a show of solidarity, members of the Pontian Brotherhood of South Australia and Pontoxeniteas NSW joined in the celebration, the first for Akrites under their new President, Harry Tsairis.

Akrites were supported by a huge lineup of musicians from Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney in a sold-out success with the Azad Gharibian Dance group and members of the Armenian community coming out in force to support Akrites.

In his welcome, Harry Tsairis said he was “humbled by the extraordinary support of Akrites members, dancing group and Federation members,” committing himself to do his best to continue developing the rich history of the Akrites club, making special mention of the Azad Gharibian dancers and the Melbourne PAOK Club.

The following day, it was Sydney’s turn, with the Pontoxeniteas and Panagia Soumela Sydney associations commemorating the Dormition of the Panagia with Holy Liturgies followed by processions of icons of Panagia Soumela to their respective clubhouses for luncheons.

Pontos’ largest and most famous monastery was dedicated to the Panagia in 325CE. Though it has not been home to monks since 1923, the monastery remains a pilgrimage site and focal point of Pontian identity.

The eyes of Federation members and friends are now on Adelaide where members from all states will gather to join their brothers and sisters in celebrating Panagia Soumela this Saturday, August 27.

The month of Panagia Soumela events close with the annual dances of the Panagia Soumela Association (Saturday 3 September) and the Pontoxeniteas Sydney Association (Saturday 17 September) in Sydney.

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