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Greek-Orthodox Colleges of Victoria honouring Hellenic Culture at a Hellenic Arts Gala

A Hellenic Arts Gala brought together the two Victorian based Greek-Orthodox Colleges of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.

On Wednesday 31st of August, Middle and Senior School students from St John’s College and Oakleigh Grammar School had the opportunity to participate in a very special event dedicated to Hellenic Culture.  The event took place at the premises of St John’s College in the suburb of Preston.

Oakleigh Grammar students accompanied by their teachers arrived at St John’s College just after 3.30pm.  Principal Mrs Anna Urban along with her students and teaching staff warmly welcomed the guests.

Mrs Urban, in her welcome speech, spoke passionately about the initiative of the two schools to collaborate and celebrate their Greek cultural heritage.  She also referred to the value of the word “friendship”, stressing that this gathering of the two schools gives students the opportunity to get to know each other and create new friendships.

The event began with an official Doxology conducted by the His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta together with the Holy Clergy of the Archdiocesan District of Northcote.

His Grace Bishop Evmenios welcomed all students and teachers from both schools and he conveyed the warm wishes of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia who is currently in the centre of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople.  His Grace also expressed his gratitude that the two schools of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia jointly organised such a special event where students have the opportunity to honour and celebrate Greek Culture.

In order to emphasise to the students, the value of Greek culture, His Grace mentioned, “The Greeks made important contributions to philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and architecture.  Literature and theatre were important aspects of Greek culture and influenced modern drama.  It was a period of political, philosophical, artistic, and scientific achievements that formed a legacy with unparalleled influence on Western civilization.”

He also referred to the relationship between the Orthodox faith and our cultural heritage by saying, “Hellenic culture, throughout the ages; beyond its cultural and ideological impacts, was always closely intertwined with its faith, as is evident throughout Greece and throughout the world.  Hellenism and Orthodoxy, to this very day, are closely aligned especially in the diaspora where the Greek Orthodox Church is at the forefront of maintaining Hellenism and all that it encompasses.”

His Grace expressed his wish for this event to become a yearly celebration bringing the students of Oakleigh Grammar and St John’s College together in a multitude of different events so all students can have the opportunity of meeting, spending time, having fun with each other.

During the event, the students were divided into groups and attended three different workshops related to music, Greek dance and arts.  One of the highlights of these workshops was the creation two amazing mosaic artworks which depict Saint John the Baptist, Patron Saint of St. John’s College, and the Saints Anargiris, Patron Saints of Oakleigh Grammar.  The mosaic artworks will be completed in the upcoming weeks.

After completing the workshops, the students enjoyed a wonderful dinner hosted by the Parents Association of St. John’s College.  Selected students of both schools achieved some special awards for their outstanding work during the three workshops.  The Principal of Oakleigh Grammar, Mr Mark Robertson, warmly thanked the Principal of St. John’s College, Mrs Anna Urban, for her hospitality and cooperation in making this special event possible.  Both Principals promised that every year the two schools will cooperate and hold an event dedicated to Greek Culture.

Of course, an event full of Greek culture could not be without music, dance and fun.  The evening ended with the students listening to Greek music and dancing with kefi and meraki.

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