Sydney’s Cypriot community honour EOKA freedom fighters

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Sydney’s Cypriot community came together on Sunday, March 31 to honour the fallen heroes and heroines of the EOKA (National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters) struggle against British colonial rule from 1955 to 1959.

EOKA was an underground nationalist movement of Greek Cypriot freedom fighters dedicated to ending British colonial rule in Cyprus and to achieving the eventual union (Greek enosis) of Cyprus with Greece.

This year, a Divine Liturgy and memorial service was held at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Redfern, Sydney to mark the 69th anniversary of the start of the EOKA struggle.

EOKA Sydney Cypriots

There were a number of official guests present including the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Ioannis Mallikourtis; the Deputy Head of Mission at the Cyprus High Commission, Stavros Nicolaou; the President of the Federation of the Cypriot Community of Australia, Michael Christodoulou; the Co-President of the Justice for Cyprus Co-ordinating Committee (SEKA NSW), Chris Koulinos; and the President of the Cyprus Hellene Club, Panikos Achilleos; among many other leaders of local Cypriot and Greek community organisations.

Following the memorial service, attendees moved outside to the church courtyard and laid wreaths in front of the cenotaph in honour of those Cypriot men and women who lost their lives fighting for freedom for Cyprus. The National Anthems of Greece and Australia were also sung.

Later, coffee and light refreshments were served in the church hall. There were speeches by Mr Nicolaou and Mr Mallikourtis, as well as a poem recital by Mr Achilleos.

“We need to honour the heroes and the political military leadership of the struggle, and to not forget that most of the heroes did not even know how to hold a weapon. There were a lot of students and youth who died and were tortured to give us our freedom,” Mr Koulinos told The Greek Herald after the event.

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