Twenty years of GreekSerbian Sydney friendship

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram In 1994, after the years when the invaluable help and support of Greeks from Greece, Cyprus and diaspora was outpouring for Serbian people in their war-torn countries of former Yugoslavia, one small Serbian Orthodox parish community in Western Sydney wanted to show the appreciation for everything Greek people did for them. From the event held in 1994, titled Greek-Serbian Friendship day, an annual Greek-Serbian Orthodox and Cultural Friendship day was born. Held every September since then, the event will tomorrow celebrate its 20th anniversary. As the co-organiser on behalf of the Greek Community and MC of the event Dimitrios Kametopoulos told Neos Kosmos, the event was an initiative of Serbian Orthodox church and parish community “St Archdeacon Stephan”, at Rooty Hill. Due to the tireless efforts of this Serbian parish and their Greek counterparts, the Greek-Serbian friendship day has every year seen thousands of people pass through its doors. “The Serbian church and the general community wanted to show their appreciation to Greeks for their invaluable help during the Yugoslav wars, and particularly the Serbs in Bosnia wanted to show the appreciation for the orphan kids who were hosted by families from Northern Greece – Thessaloniki, Florina, Kastoria… Greeks supported Serbian people on moral, material and psychological level during the 1990s war, as well as during the NATO bombing of Serbia,” Kametopoulos says. All that appreciation was enhanced with the long history of friendship of Greeks and Serbs through common threads they share – Orthodoxy and tradition. “Furthermore, the Greek businesses in Serbia happen to be amongst the largest entrepreneurs today, while there are thousands of Serbs who choose Greece as their holiday destination from year to year,” he adds. Multiple connections of the two nations have culminated in a wonderful annual event, that this Sunday reaches its 20th anniversary. For this special occasion, six other Sydney Orthodox communities have been invited to take part in the Friendship Day. “Every year in September, the Sydney Serbians and the Sydney Greek community get together, and celebrate. For the first time this year other Orthodox communities have been invited to participate and co-celebrate with us – Russian and Ukrainian dancing groups will took it to the stage, as well as Bulgarian, Romanian, Assyrian, Armenian and Palestinian Orthodox communities’ dancing groups,” Kametopoulos says. The aim of this 20 years old event that seems most obvious – bringing together the Orthodox youth in Australia – could be an aim down the track. But, at the moment, as coordinator Dimitrios Kametopoulos says, it is, above all, bringing the communities together and appreciating their common threads. “It’s an appreciation of culture, of traditional music from each country, of youth and getting everyone together. And it’s all under the banner of this great event, Greek-Serbian Orthodox and Cultural Friendship Day.” This year’s program will start with Orthodox liturgy, con-celebrated between the Serbian and the Greek priest. The liturgy will be followed by the cultural program, with kick-off at 12.30 pm and six hours of music and dancing. “Due to its multi-communal and multilingual character that the event puts on this year, as it opens up to other communities, couple of thousands of people are expected to make their way to Serbian Orthodox Church in Rooty Hill,” Kametopoulos says. The Greek-Serbian Orthodoxy and Cultural Friendship Day will be held tomorrow, 22 September, at Serbian Orthodox Church and Parish Community of “St Archdeacon Stephen” (259 Hyatts rd, corner Woodstock Ave, Rooty Hill, Western Sydney). For more information, contact Dimitrios Kametopoulos 0414 714 807 or Ljubica Ridley on 0401 753883last_img read more