“Kouromichelakis, for me, is duty, ethnism”- with these words Professor Anastasios Tamis described the Cretan hero of his latest book Filius Patriae: Second Lieutenant Ioannis Kouromichelakis.
The epic historical narrative was officially launched on Sunday, April 30 in front of a full house at the Nikos Andrianakos Centre at Alphington Grammar School in Victoria.
The presentation of the book was organised by the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand (CFANZ), under the auspices of the National Research Foundation “Eleftherios Venizelos,” in collaboration with the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GCM), Alphington Grammar, the Greek-Australian Chamber of Commerce and the Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies.
Many officials were present on the day and spoke about the book, which tells the story of a true war hero who fought for Greece in many battles before taking his last breath in Kale Grotto, Asia Minor in August 1921.
After the singing of the national anthems of Greece and Australia, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta spoke about the book’s importance.
“Heroes like Ioannis Kouromichelakis have to stay alive in our memories. It is because of their struggles that Greek people are in every corner of the earth,” the Bishop said.
The President of the CFANZ, Tony Tsourdalakis, said in his speech: “It is really important not to forget the heroes that gave their lives and their last breath for the ideals of freedom and independence.”
The President of the GCM, Bill Papastergiadis, spoke about Kouromichelakis as a hero who could have avoided going to war, but eventually sacrificed his life and the opportunity to see his family growing up.
“This symbolises many things – the values and the virtues that we all have inside us,” Mr Papastergiadis added.
Professor George D. Babiniotis spoke through a recorded message about the language of the book.
“Simple, flowing, easy to understand, scientific where needed and experiential. It impresses the reader with an interchanging style each time based on the text’s content,” he said, before concluding that heowes Professor Tamis for teaching him many things on multiple topics.
Later, Lieutenant Commander of the Royal Australian Navy, Pelagia Markogiannakis, described in detail the hardships of a person on the battlefield from the diseases to the lack of water and sleep, as well as the trauma and how life back home continues, with or without the person fighting.
Professor Tamis, who was warmly applauded, spoke about what Kouromichelakis fought and died for and analysed the national identity with a historical journey from ancient Greece to Roman and Byzantium era. The Professor also called for Greek Australians to pass the ethnicity to the next generations.
“We came in Australia to stay, not to leave, but we have to form mechanisms of opposing, to be able to hold what we brought from our homelands,” Professor Tamis said.
He was followed by Christina Kotsifaki-Sarris, descendent of Kouromichelakis.
“Today is a day of memory, emotions and joy,” Ms Sarris said. “The memory of my great grandfather, written down and highlighted through the pages of the book, is now eternal.”
The event ended with a book signing and opportunity for people to purchase the book. Σημειωτέον, ότι το ποσό των $4000 και πλέον δολαρίων που συγκεντρώθηκε από τη διάθεση του βιβλίου, θα δοθεί στο Παράρτημα του Ιδρύματος Ερευνών και Σπουδών «Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος».