SYDNEY – This year 2024, which constitutes a milestone for our local Church, as it marks the first century of her witness here in Australia, holds many opportunities for us to look back, review, and reflect in a fruitful manner. We have much to learn from this evaluation of our history.
First of all, we must realize that the history of Orthodoxy and Hellenism in the Antipodes is an integral part of the history of the Australian Nation. Contemporary Australia would not be the same without our presence; without our churches and schools; without the Greek Orthodox values, ideals, and traditions that our ancestors brought from their homeland. Truly, Australia would not be the same without Holy and Great Friday and the Resurrection as celebrated by Greeks; without the efforts made by Greek migrants, the sweat they shed and the prosperity they achieved over the past decades.
Furthermore, we must realize that this blessed multicultural country has been a fertile ground for the tree of Orthodoxy and Hellenism to grow and bear fruit; ground on which “sweat and blood” were spilled, which, fortunately, did not go in vain!
The link between Greeks and Australians, the Archdiocese and the local community, as it has been created and strengthened over time, prescribes that we participate wholeheartedly in today’s celebration of Australia Day.
To participate with pride, for our own contribution to the lasting progress and prosperity of the Australian people; to participate respectfully, for the contribution of all other communities that make up the multicultural mosaic of Australia, firstly remembering the indigenous peoples, who are the first inhabitants of the fifth continent; to participate with courage, for the recognition of the injustices of the past, and with determination, for the advocacy of a free and open society today, which embraces all of us and enables us to live in an environment of justice, mutual respect and concord.
Let us seize today’s opportunity and come closer to each other. Let us be inspired by our common achievements and envision an even better future for our children!
May God bless Australia!