Mission…To Australia…In Search of Hellenes and Hippocrates – A TNH Documentary by Clelia Charissis

December 17, 2022

The vision of the Greek global medical community, inspired by Hippocrates, the Father of Clinical Medicine, took us from Bucharest to the 7th stop of journey of the Global Doctors Hippocratic Institute and the pulse of the Greek community of Australia: festive Melbourne!

Together with Dr. Georgios Patoulis, the President of the International Institute of Greek Doctors and the Regional Governor of Attica, Dr. Konstantinos Pantos, the renowned scientist-pioneer of IVF, and numerous other noted physicians and scientists including Dr. Antonios Polydorou and Dr. George Antonakis, we set sail for the Hellenic Diaspora World Congress (HMSA) which was to be held at the Hellenic Centre in Melbourne November 17-19 with the participation of the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia, and the Global Doctors Hippocratic Institute and hosted by the Greek community and its president Vassilis Papastergiadis.

Another beautiful setting for our TV show in the 20-hour flight from Athens to Australia was the short stop at Doha Airport in Qatar, which this year hosts soccer’s World Cup.
The long journey did not overwhelm us, since our eagerness along with the warm welcome of the Greek community awaiting us at Melbourne airport and the festive atmosphere of the city, rewarded us from the first moment of our arrival!

Mission to Australia by Clelia Charissis

It is worth conveying to you that in the eyes of those we are travelling with on this great campaign of 35 stops of the Global Doctors Hippocratic Institute, we experience anew with them each time the passion for transforming the new generation into one that will look ahead with its eyes fixed on the memory…on the wisdom of our ancestors !

The global conference included presentations and interactive talks of academic, medical, and scientific content by distinguished Australian and international scientists . The ultimate goal of the important actions and international contacts of the Global Doctors Hippocratic Institute is to transform Greece, the country of Hippocrates, into an international scientific center for the “interpenetration of medical schools around the world which will be interconnected with Hippocratic Medical Philosophy and Ethics.”

In the context of its programs, the cooperative venture was officially announced with the signing of an agreement between the Medical Schools of the University of Melbourne, Athens, and Patras for support and education activities for Greek students. Present were Greece’s Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Marios Themistocleous, the President of the Hellenic Medical Association of Australia Professor Marini Pirpiri, the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne Vassilis Papastergiadis, and the Consul General of Melbourne Manolis Kakavelakis.

Mission to Australia by Clelia Charissis
Mission to Australia by Clelia Charissis

The unveiling of the bust of Hippocrates at the University of Melbourne Medical School by the Global Doctors Hippocratic Institute sealed this global vision for the transmission of the values espoused by the ‘sacred oath – the Hippocratic Oath’ as the guiding principle. The first exchange, as officially announced by Dr. Patoulis and Dr. Polydoros, will begin in the coming summer of 2023 with the swearing in of the graduates of the University of Melbourne on the island of Kos, where the first Summer School organized by the Global Doctors Hippocratic Institute titled ‘Hippocratic Values and Medicine’ will take place.

Melbourne, the capital of the State of Victoria and second largest city in Australia after Sydney, has a population of nearly five million people, of which a quarter are foreigners and 350,000 are Greeks. It is a modern multicultural megalopolis with big blocks in its business district crowned by skyscrapers, with impressive avenues and bridges interspersed with vast expanses of greenery that balance between luxury, technology and ‘jewels of art’ such as the lush Collin Street – Melbourne’s 5th Avenue, the Victoria Gallery, RMIT University, the Library of Victoria, and the Greek Museum!

Melbourne, hospitable and open to all, one of the largest ‘capitals of art and culture’ in the world, with multiple neighborhoods that announce the presence of Greeks… Asians… Italians… straddles the line between the look of New York and London, its citizens offering generously to their fellow human beings everything and for all tastes!

If one were to personify Melbourne, one could describe her as a beautiful, intense, artistic, artistic, entrepreneurial, aristocratic, personality subject to great mood swings since in one twenty-four hour period she changes from rain to sunshine, from spring to autumn, and from summer to winter!

Mission to Australia by Clelia Charissis

The city often ‘dons sporting attire’ as one of the things that characterizes it is that every year, in addition to its year-round local sports scene, it hosts one of the major international sporting events – one of the four Grand Slams of professional tennis, the popular Australian Open in the luxurious facilities of the Albert Reserve Tennis Centre!

Buildings mostly of Victorian style “literally embroider the architectural structure of the city” and the historic tramway crossing most of the decorated festive streets …betrays its strong theatrical role of transporting you to the “evergreen past and the spectacular future!”

The history of the Greek diaspora in Australia is long, storied, and fascinating.

The first Greeks to arrive in Australia were seven young men from Hydra, who arrived there in 1828, convicted of piracy by the English justice system. According to available historical sources, these were seamen who were not ‘pirates’ but Greek ‘patriots’ who attempted to prevent the British from supplying the Ottomans with weapons by attacking a British ship carrying supplies to Egypt. Five of them were repatriated in 1836.

Mission to Australia by Clelia Charissis
Mission to Australia by Clelia Charissis

The first Greek free emigrant to arrive in Australia – in Sydney – was a sailor named John Peters in 1838, while the first Greek woman was a certain Ekaterini Plessa, who arrived in 1853.
The main stream of migration from Greece to Australia began after 1880 with the discovery of gold in Balarat. After World War II, thousands of Greeks migrated to Australia to gain a better lives and prospects for themselves and their families.

Nowadays, on the famous London Street, the great Greek Festival of Melbourne is held every year, attended by thousands of people, being a living example of our strong tradition, customs, and culture.

Fitzroy, the oldest Greek neighborhood of the city, which is adorned by the first Greek Orthodox church in Australia, embodies the memory of the Greek expatriates of old and their passage to the current busy and bustling area of Oakley, where the pulse of the Greeks beats loudly today! There is a pedestrian street full of Greek shops and voices that resound with the passion of those who love the Blue and White!

Restaurants, cafes, pastry shops, stores… all with “the spirit and taste of the homeland,” make you think you are in a purely Greek neighborhood!

To these expatriates…who were deprived of the embrace of our homeland…and with tears in their eyes, talk about mother Greece and their uprooting for a better life – waiting to return. We can proudly say that they are the worthy ambassadors of our culture’s continuity!

From their own words and actions, from thousands of miles away, on the other side of the world… foreigners learn to love Greece , before they even reach its shores…!

From what can be seen from what we have taken with us in our luggage, you can believe that Greece beckons us from everywhere…but any time tourists from each place look around, here and there – they have to say that: Greece has moved to Australia and Australia has moved to Greece!

Mission to Australia by Clelia Charissis
Mission to Australia by Clelia Charissis

Zina Koutselini’s TV show ‘Truths with Zina’ which is broadcast on STAR, welcomed us back in the studio with enthusiasm along with everything we experienced during our filming, becoming a companion of our travels around Greece and the world to every destination of our MISSION! After all…MISSION and TRUTHS… are two concepts that look into the eyes of the viewer with respect, seeking, optimism, and transparency!

Follow us on Instagram: Clelia_charissis; apostoli_mission

Special Thanks to:
-GLOBAL DOCTORS HIPPOCRATIC INSTITUTE – George Patoulis, Konstantinos Pantos, Antonios Polydorou
-The professor of University of Patras Mr George Antonakis
-The Greek Community of Melbourne and its President Vasilis Papastergiadis, as well as George Menidis, Christos Sikavitsas
-Τhe Greek Community of Oakley
-The Soccer team Hellas Melbourne

Clelia Charissis is dressed by:


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