His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, focuses on the indomitable mentality of the Cretans, which did not allow them to give up the struggle and surrender without a fight to the would-be conquerors of the Great-island, in his message for the 82nd Anniversary of the Battle of Crete.
“Today we honour their memory with infinite respect and gratitude, not only for the heroic struggle they gave and for their sacrifice for the freedom of our country”, he emphasises, “but also for the valuable lessons that allow us to draw from their example: That in every small and great trial that we face in our lives, we must march forward with a brave mind, never give up, never bow down our heads, nor never surrender without a fight!”
In addition, His Eminence makes a special mention of the ANZAC heroes, who fought and shed their blood on the soil of the great-island, “sharing the same high values with the people of Crete and with all the Greek people”. “With their self-denial and sacrifice, they laid the foundations of a bridge that will forever unite the two distant places, our two brotherly peoples”, he points out and concludes by stressing that “we honour them wholeheartedly and express our gratitude!”.
Here is the message of the Archbishop of Australia for the Anniversary of the Battle of Crete:
Flipping through the book of Greek history, one will come across countless pages of glory and heroism, from the depths of antiquity to modern times. Pages written with the blood of our ancestors, who did not hesitate to defend their values, ideals and native land, even when the indisputable numerical and military superiority of the opponent predicted their sacrifice for the homeland.
On the occasion of today’s anniversary of the Battle of Crete, we are invited to turn our attention to such a glorious page of our history. We are invited to look back noetically at the holy and heroic Crete and try to experience the dramatic conditions of May 1941. At the time when the Nazi advance was fully developing on the European continent, easily or difficultly sweeping any resistance it met on its way. When the small and poor Greece, having raised its stature of assertion in front of the mighty Italian-German Axis and having achieved the great Epic in the mountains of Epirus, finally succumbed under the weight of the simultaneous and coordinated attack of the invaders.
In these nightmarish conditions, how much mental fortitude do the people of a small dot on the map need to dare to resist? How much mental strength do ordinary people, old men and women and children, need in order to run with all the means they have to defend their country in a fight that seems lost from the start? How much mental strength is left in the young men who return exhausted from the mountains of Pindus and Albania, so that they continue to fight for ‘altars and hearths’, until the last drop of their blood?
And yet! These were our ancestors! And that was their attitude! An indomitable attitude that did not allow them to give up the fight. An attitude intertwined with the values of our Faith and Nation, which did not allow them to bow their heads and surrender without a fight.
Today we honour their memory with infinite respect and gratitude, not only for the heroic struggle they gave and for their sacrifice for the freedom of our country. But also for the valuable lessons that allow us to draw from their example: That in every small and or big trial that we face in our life, we must move forward with a brave attitude, never to give up, never bow our heads, and nevert o surrender without a fight !
So the character of the tribute we pay today to our heroic ancestors is twofold. But also in two directions, since God in his economy allowed us to live in this blessed Australia, as flesh from the flesh of a Nation that sacrificially participated in the epic of the Battle of Crete. We never forget the young men of the ANZAC Corps who fought and shed their blood on the soil of the great island, sharing the same high values with the people of Crete and with all the Greek people. With their self-denial and sacrifice, they laid the foundations of a bridge that will forever unite the two distant places, our two brotherly peoples. We wholeheartedly honour them and express our gratitude!