Sep 21, 2020
On Sunday the 20th of September, the parish of St. Catherine’s in conjunction with the Hellenic Lyceum of Sydney organised a commemorative event in honour of the 98th anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe in 1922. Present were His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia and the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr Christos Karras.
The guest speaker was the renowned Professor Vrasidas Karalis, Head of the Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies Department, Sydney University. Professor Karalis eloquently and very vividly presented to a very engaging crowd the tragic consequences of the catastrophe on the Modern Greek nation and the huge humanitarian crisis that followed. Mr Karalis pinpointed the reasons why the Asia Minor military campaign, organized to protect the Greek populations in the major cities of the Asia Minor coast, was a complete disaster. These reasons were: political discord, disunity and military strategic blunders committed by both the supporters of King Constantine and Eleftherios Venizelos, the Prime minister of Greece. Prof. Karalis ended the presentation on a positive note by saying that we-as Greeks- should always strive for unity in order to preserve our Greek cultural heritage here in Australia.
Following the presentation, a wonderful performance of traditional Greek songs from Asia Minor was given by the Melisma choir led by Mr Dimitrios Koumbaroulis. The splendid and very moving performance brought everyone’s minds back to the beauty of the cosmopolitan and vibrant city of Smyrna!
Archbishop Makarios was then asked to conclude the event with a few remarks. His Eminence recounted a story relating to St. Chrysostomos of Smyrna, the Metropolitan of the city of Smyrna who refused to leave his flock whilst the Turkish army was advancing towards the city. He chose to remain with his flock and was later brutally lynched by the bloodthirsty Turkish mob.
Following the presentation, everyone was treated to a light dinner provided by the Ladies Auxiliary of St. Catherine’s.
On behalf of the Parish, we would like to firstly thank His Eminence Archbishop Makarios for providing us with His blessing to organize this event and for attending the presentation.
A big thank you to the renowned and eloquent Professor Vrasidas Karalis for accepting our invitation to speak at our event. We look forward to his next presentation on the importance of Hagia Sophia throughout the ages on Thursday the 8th of October.
We thank wholeheartedly the Hellenic Lyceum Of Sydney- the President Mrs Liana Vertzayia, Mr Dimitrios and Mrs Stavroula Papapetrou and Mrs Dimitra Michopoulou- for assisting us in co-organising, promoting this event and for providing the traditional Greek costumes for our children to showcase on the night.
Many thanks go to Mr Dimitrios Koumbaroulis and the Melisma Choir for such a mesmerizing rendition of Asia Minor folk songs.
A big thank you to our very good friend Chris Baghos, our wonderful MC for the night. A wholehearted thank you to our photographer, Eirini Alligiannis, who always brilliantly covers our Parish events. Many thanks to our tireless Ladies Auxiliary who provided refreshments and snacks for everyone.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who attended our event especially to Dr Patricia Koromvokis, Head of Modern Greek Studies at Macquarie University, and to the wonderful group of students from M.U.G.A who always support our events!