The Greek Omogéneia of Victoria, led by its youth, honored with emotion and pride the Heroes of the Greek Struggle for Independence, on the occasion of this year’s Greek National Anniversary of March 25, 1821.
The official celebrations of the Anniversary in the Greek city of Melbourne began on Saturday, March 18, with the conducting of a Trisagion Memorial Service, for the fighters and heroes of 1821, at the Shrine of Remembrance, by Archbishop Makarios of Australia. Archbishop Makarios was joined by Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, and Archiepiscopal Vicars of Melbourne and Northcote, respectively, while present at the ceremony, which concluded with the laying of wreaths, were representatives of the political and consular authorities, and the Greek organizations and associations of Victoria.
In particular, the memorial service was graced by the presence of the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews MP, the Leader of the Opposition in the State Parliament of Victoria, John Pesutto, the Greek-Australian Federal Member of Parliament Maria Vamvakinou MP, who represented the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, the Consul General of Greece in Australia, Emmanuel Kakavelakis, the President of the Intercommunity Council of Victoria, Tony Tsourdalakis, and others.
The anniversary celebrations continued on Sunday, 19 March 2023, Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, and included a spectacular parade of Schools and Greek Associations at Lakeside Stadium in the Melbourne suburb of Albert Park. Earlier, at the Archdiocesan Church of Saint Eustathios, after the Divine Liturgy, the official Doxology was held for the Anniversary of the Greek Revolution and the birth of the Modern Greek State, which was presided over by Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who was also joined by Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, in the presence of a large congregation.
At the climax of the events, at the Lakeside Stadium, there was an enthusiastic atmosphere and thousands of Greeks cheered and applauded the participants in the parade, especially the new generation of Greeks. Among them, was Archbishop Makarios who watched the grand parade with much emotion and pride, while he gave credit to the organizers and participants who duly honored our heroic ancestors.
During his short address, Archbishop Makarios referred to the decisive role played by the Orthodox faith in the uprising of the Greeks and in their victorious struggle to obtain the much-desired Freedom. He also recalled the spiritual legacy of Theodoros Kolokotronis to the new generation, which is summarised in the following exhortation of the Elder of Moria: “You must guard your faith and strengthen it because when we took arms, we first said ‘for Faith’ and then ‘for Country’”.
“There is no homeland without faith,” the Archbishop emphasized and added: “That’s why you see that our flags always have the cross. The cross guards us, the cross protects us, and the cross is the source of our strength, our joy, and our hope. We owe everything to the cross and our faith. Our ancestors, the Greeks, fought for the holy faith of Christ, and the freedom of the homeland.”
In closing, Archbishop Makarios paternally urged all Greeks, whether they go to church often or not, to keep the flame of the Orthodox faith unquenchable in their hearts. “Never forget that in our veins flows the blood of martyrs who fought for the homeland, but also do not forget that in our veins flows the blood of saints of the faith, who fought and sacrificed for Orthodoxy and for Christ”, he underlined.