Delegation of the Hellenic Armed Forces visit Melbourne’s Greek Centre

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A high-ranking delegation of the Hellenic Armed Forces, who are in Australia to attend the events for the 83nd Anniversary of the Battle of Crete, visited the Greek Centre in Melbourne on Thursday, May 23.

Leading the delegation is Vice Admiral Christos Sasiakos GRC N, Deputy Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff), accompanied by Captain Pavlos Angelopoulos GRN N, Staff Officer of the Bilateral Relations Directorate of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, and Lieutenant Commander Stylianos Mitsiotis, Staff Officer of the Public Relations Directorate of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff. The delegation was accompanied by the Permanent Military Attaché of the Greek Embassy in Canberra, Colonel Ioannis Fasianos.

Bill Papastergiadis OAM, President of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM), welcomed the esteemed visitors.

After explaining the history of the GCM and its long-standing connections with the Cretan community, he stated, “We value your presence here in Melbourne and at the Greek Centre. It underscores the significance of this anniversary, not only for Cretans but also for the entire Greek diaspora, helping us ensure this anniversary continues to remain part of our collective memory and historical legacy.”

He continued, “May 1941 marks a historic moment for Crete, Greece, and the entire world. The indomitable spirit of the Cretans, their courage, and their unwavering faith in freedom have inspired and continue to inspire us. The events surrounding the Battle of Crete allow us to honour the heroic spirit of the Greeks and the allied Australians and New Zealanders, and to also pay tribute to those who fought for our Freedom. Our connection in war has remained one that has followed us in the decades after.”

hellenic armed forces delegation visits Greek Centre
Bill Papastergiadis (left) with Vice Admiral Christos Sasiakos GRC N, Deputy Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff).

Vice Admiral Christos Sasiakos GRC N, Deputy Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, stated, “In commemoration of the anniversary of the Battle of Crete, we have come to Melbourne… Beyond the observances of this significant historic event, our presence here serves to reinforce the bonds between the Greek community and the Hellenic Armed Forces, as well as with the broader Greek diaspora.”

Once again, the Greek Ministry of Defence, in recognition of the sacrifices made by the Anzacs in 1941 and the enduring transnational friendship between Greece and Australia, has organised the arrival of the high-level delegation to Australia for the commemorative events.

The Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Emmanuel Kakavelakis, expressed, “We are particularly gratified each time we host representatives of the Hellenic Armed Forces. The commemorations of the Battle of Crete stand as one of the most significant events for the Greek community, marked with grandeur in Melbourne annually.”

“These events substantially contribute to the continued enhancement of the already exemplary relations between Greece and Australia. Our present duty is to preserve the sacred legacy they have bestowed upon us and to confront our own challenges for the unity and advancement of our homeland,” Mr Kakavelakis added.

Natasha Spanos, President of the Coordinating Council of the Battle of Crete and the Rest of Greece, remarked, “We are delighted that, once again, we have the Hellenic Armed Forces with us to honour the Battle of Crete. We commemorate not only the Greeks who sacrificed their lives but also the Australian and New Zealand allies who stood by our side during a pivotal moment in Greek history. Through this honourable battle, a profound friendship was forged—a chapter of bravery and selflessness that permanently linked Australia, Crete, and the entirety of Greece. Additionally, we honour the civilian population of Crete, who fought with unparalleled self-sacrifice for the noble ideal of Freedom.”

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