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Tribute to the heroes of the Battle of Crete in the heart of Sydney

The official event of remembrance and in honour of the 80th anniversary of the historic Battle of Crete took place on Saturday, 22 May, at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, in the heart of Sydney.

His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia held a Trisagion service for the fallen Greek and Allied heroes of the Battle and then laid a wreath at the monument in Martin Place.

The presence of Australian ANZAC veteran, Mr Alf Carpenter, who had taken part in the Battle of Crete and is now 104 years old, was particularly stirring. Archbishop Makarios, being of Cretan heritage, had a further reason to be moved by the presence of Mr Carpenter, with whom he spoke warmly.

In his short talk on the anniversary, His Eminence made mention of the heroes of the Battle of Crete and focused on their selfless sacrifice for the high ideals of freedom and justice but also on their contribution to the forging of a lasting friendship between the people of Greece and Australia. “United in war, we are also united in peace”, he said, noting that the ideals that inspired those who fought in the Battle of Crete eight decades ago, remain relevant today in peaceful Australia. “Proudly standing together to remember and honour our ancestors”, he said, “we learn from their example that, undoubtedly, does not cease to inspire and motivate us in our everyday lives as we pursue a peaceful coexistence in a multicultural society.”

During the proceedings, Colonel Brad Kilpatrick and Major General Matthew Pearse from the Australian Army delivered speeches, while recorded messages were played from the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, Mr Konstantinos Floros and the General Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Greeks Abroad, Prof. John Chrysoulakis.

The event was also honoured by the presence of many Australian political and military officials as well as representatives of consular authorities and Greek community associations. Specifically, among those present were the Governor  of NSW at Royal Australian Navy, Mr Robert Valler, representing Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley, Governor General of NSW; the NSW Minister of Police and Emergency Services, Mr David Elliott, representing the NSW Premier Ms Gladys Berejiklian; MP Matt Thistlethwaite, representing the leader of the Federal Opposition, Mr Anthony Albanese; the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr Christos Karras and his wife, Trade Commissioner, Ms Katia Gkikiza; the Consul General of New Zealand, Mr Bill Dobbie; Mr Emilios Michael, representing the High Commissioner of Cyprus in Australia, Ms Martha Mavromatis; the Deputy Consul General of Germany, Mr Klaus Steitz, and others.