Special event held in Canberra to celebrate the name day of Saint Nicholas


By Evelyn Karatzas.

On Sunday, December 6, the Greek Orthodox Community and Church of Canberra celebrated the name day of Saint Nicholas, of which the church is named after, holding a special service followed by plenty of food and dancing from the Hellenic dancers.

The celebrations consisted of many special guests including Ms Tara Cheyne, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer & Senator for the ACT representing the Prime Minister, Mrs Maria Vamvakinou MP, Mr Steve Georganas MP, His Excellency, Ambassador of Greece Mr George Papacostas, Her Excellency, High Commissioner of Cyprus Mrs Martha Mavrommatis, His Excellency, Ambassador of Austria Mr Wolfgang Lukas Strohmayer, President of the Greek Community, Mr John Loukadellis, as well as former Parish Priest George Carpis, current Priest of St Nicholas, Father Petros Kipouros and current Priest of St Demetrios, Father Iakovos Syriotis.

Politicians and prominent members of the Greek community attended the special event. Photo: Eva Karatzas.

Mr Seselja conveyed Scott Morrison’s well wishes at the beginning of the ceremony and welcomed His Eminence to the capital.

“I can not stay until the end of today’s celebration but I came, even for a while, to convey to you the wishes of the Prime Minister of the country and to welcome you to the Australian Capital on his behalf and on behalf of the Australian Government,” Mr Seslja said.

It was a big day for the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church as the original priest of Canberra’s parish, Father George, was promoted to High Priest and Father Prochoros was announced as the Archdiocesan Vicar of the newly announced Archdiocesan District of the ACT. This was a huge honour for the Canberra community and church, showing a bright future for our faithful in the ACT.

The event had a great turnout of people, including special performances from the Canberra Hellenic Dancers who performed some traditional Greek dances, showcasing our culture and traditions that continue to be embraced.

His Eminence Archbishop Makarios shared his positive feedback on the celebrations and how he looks forward to seeing the Greek Community of Canberra grow and continue to embrace their faith and culture.

READ MORE: St Nicholas Greek Orthodox church in Canberra finishes storm restoration.

“I am very happy. The community of Canberra is very warm and they love the church,” His Eminence said in a speech at the event.

In a speech during the service, His Eminence also thanked Mrs Tara Cheyne, State Minister for Human Rights, Culture and Business, and the expatriate Federal MPs Maria Vamvakinou and Steve Georganas, from Victoria and Adelaide, respectively, for their constant support to the Greek diaspora and to the Holy Archdiocese, especially for the clear position they took on the issue of condemning the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

READ MORE: Greek community of Canberra celebrates 80th anniversary of OXI Day.

His Eminence Archbishop Makarios (centre) thanked Steve Georganas MP (left) and Maria Vamvakinou MP (right) for their support of the Greek diaspora. Photo: Facebook.

His Excellency, Ambassador of Greece, Mr Papacostas, shared: “We are very happy that the Archbishop came and honoured us with his presence today. The church was full and this means that Hellenism respects its traditions and will continue to be so.”

President of the Greek Community, Mr John Loukadellis, stated: “After a long 15 hour day, it was an amazing day and I wish everyone celebrating a joyous and love filled day.”

Following this successful festivity of celebrations for Saint Nicholas, parishioners were welcomed to catch a bus to Nimmitabel, to visit the burial plot of Gikas Voulgaris, who was the first Greek Australian Pioneer.

His Eminence Makarios presided a memorial service to recognise and celebrate the life, sacrifice and love for Gikas Voulgaris. A wreath was laid by Archbishop Makarios on behalf of the Archdiocese of Australia and the President of the Greek Orthodox Community & Church of Canberra, John Loukadellis also laid a wreath on behalf of the Community & St Nicholas Church.

READ MORE: Paniyiri held in Canberra to mark the 108th anniversary of the liberation of Lesvos.




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