Cretans celebrate a century of unification

first_imgIt was Sunday 1 December 1913 when the Greek flag was raised on top of the fortress of Firka, on the western side of the harbour of Chania, to announce the unification of Crete with Greece. Last Sunday, on 1 December and 100 years later, Cretans of Victoria gathered to celebrated the anniversary of the unification of their island with Greece. A wreath laying service was held at the monument of the Cretan Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, at the premises of the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and Victoria in Brunswick, attended by community officials and representatives and members of the Pancretan Association and the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and Victoria. Honouring the 100th anniversary of unification with their presence were Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, H.E. Eleni Lianidou, GOCMV President Bill Papastergiadis, Mayor of Moreland Mr Lambros Tapinos, president of the World Council of Cretans Tony Tsourdalakis, presidents of Pancretan Association John Nikolakakis and Cretan Brotherhood Dimitris Papadimitriou and others. In his speech, GOCMV President Bill Papastergiadis emphasised that the history of Crete is unbreakably connected with the history of other parts of Greece. “The liberation of Crete is a testimony of battles, starting with the dawn of the revolution of 1821 where thousands of Cretan soldiers took part in the battle for independence and the regeneration of Greece. At the altar of freedom, sacrificed were thousands of Cretans that fuelled the revolution,” President Papastergiadis said. In his speech, Mr Papastergiadis highlighted the fact unknown to many community members, that the first fundraiser ever held in Melbourne by Greek immigrants in 1896 was a fundraiser to support the revolution of Crete. “Then, in 1896, more than 40 of Melbourne’s Greeks gave some financial assistance to the Cretan struggle. This first gathering gave also the idea to set up some Greek community in Melbourne, so after a year the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne was founded. “The struggle for the liberation of Crete was a struggle for all Greeks of the diaspora in that time,” Mr Papastergiadis said. The wreath laying service on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of unification was followed with live music and performances of Cretan dancing groups. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more