2 (1)

The Archbishop of Australia at a special event at the Parliament of Australia – a “hymn” to Greek-Australian friendship

2 (1)

“I am an Australian with a Greek heart”, explained His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, during the greeting he addressed at an event dedicated to Greek-Australian friendship, which was hosted at the Federal Parliament of Australia, in Canberra, on Wednesday, 27 March 2024.

The event was organised on the occasion of the Anniversary of the rebirth of the Greek Nation and the centenary of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, by the Greece-Australia Friendship Parliamentary Group, co-chaired by the Australian Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon. Clare O’Neil MP, and the Federal Member of Parliament, Mr. James Stevens, and by the Parliamentary Friends of Greek Australians Group, with Federal Member of Parliament Mr Steve Georganas MP as President and Senator Hollie Hughes as Vice President.

This important event, through which the strong bonds of friendship that unite Australia and Greece were confirmed and sealed, was honoured with the presence of the Prime Minister of Australia Mr. Anthony Albanese and the entire political leadership of the country, including the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, the Hon. Milton Dick MP, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration, Mr. Andrew Giles, the Minister for Indigenous Australian Affairs, Ms. Linda Burney, State Ministers and many Federal and State MPs and Senators.

The Greek State was represented by the Deputy Minister of the Interior of Greece, Mr. Theodoros Livanios, accompanied by Greece’s new Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr. Stavros Venizelos. The High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, His Excellency Mr. Antonios Sammoutis, and many representatives of Greek Australian organisations and associations from all over the Australian territory were also present.

Words of praise for the substantial contribution of the Greek community to the progress of Australia, as well as for the time-honoured Greek-Australian friendship, were pronounced by all the officials, who addressed the event and the participants. The Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Anthony Albanese, declared himself an “honorary Greek” and a “lover of everything Greek”, while he made a special mention of the sincere friendship that connects him with the Primate of the Orthodox Church in Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, in whose honour, moreover, a dinner was hosted at the Prime Minister’s residence in the evening of the same day. Equally, the Leader of the Opposition in the Federal Parliament, Mr. Peter Dutton, addressed praise for the timeless and multifaceted contribution of the Greek Community, who at the same time expressed his appreciation towards the person of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

The Archbishop of Australia then delivered an inspiring speech, referring to the double feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and the Anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821. His Eminence then connected these two great events with an equally significant and ontologically important event for the Greeks of the fifth continent, that of the establishment of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.

His Eminence summarised the brilliant course of continuous progress which the Holy Archdiocese has followed during the one hundred years since its foundation, and recalled that it is the only Christian Church in the whole of Australia which has a single, national system of administration. “This allows us to maintain unity and, above all, to speak with the single voice of the Church and the Greeks of the fifth continent,” he remarked.

Concluding his reference to the historical course, the work and the role of the Orthodox Church in Australia, Archbishop Makarios spoke from the heart about the heavy responsibility, national and ecclesiastical, which God commanded him to bear. “When I am asked, what are you, Your Eminence, Greek or Australian, I answer with pride: I am Australian with a Greek heart”, he underlined emphatically and continued:

“I am an Australian born and raised in the country that founded Democracy. I am an Australian who was taught from a young age in Greek school that one should not seek wealth but the truth. And this, I was told, is called philosophy. I’m Australian, but my mother tongue is Greek, a language that has been spoken continuously for 4,000 years.

This language contains all the terminology of science and is also the basis of many languages. This address, which you are listening to now, consists of 50% Greek words. I am Australian, but I represent the Orthodox Greeks of Oceania, over 1,000,000 people. I am an Australian, but I have an obligation to teach my people to uphold the great idea of the Greeks, as reflected in the Greek flag. The Greek flag has five blue lines and four white ones.

Each line represents a syllable of this great idea of the Greeks: E-leu-the-ri-a -i- Tha-na-tos. (Freedom or Death) I am an Australian who tries not only to maintain but also to strengthen the ties between our two homelands, Greece and Australia. I took on this esteemed role and enormous responsibility along with the great contribution of the Archdiocese of Australia and the rich history of 100 years in this country.”

Afterwards, His Eminence thanked everyone for their presence at the event and invited them to participate in the anniversary celebrations for the centenary of the Holy Archdiocese, culminating in the Apostolic Visit of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

In closing, he asked the Greek Deputy Minister of the Interior to convey everyone’s love and appreciation to the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “As you have heard, I declared that I am an Australian with a Greek heart,” he noted addressing Mr. Livanios, adding that “I will be very happy if, after all that you have experienced here in Australia, you return to Greece, declaring that you are a Greek with an Australian heart”.

After the addresses had concluded, the participants of the special event in the Great Hall of the Federal Parliament of Australia, enjoyed a music and dance program, with sounds and colours from Greece, as well as traditional Greek delicacies.

Start typing to see posts you are looking for.