By Andriana Simos, Chris Spyrou and Eleni Patsalides.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni visited the Greek Orthodox Church in Kogarah on Saturday evening for the traditional Anastasi service.
The service was presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia and was attended by over 1,000 Greek Orthodox worshipers as well as a number of other dignitaries.
This included Mr Morrison’s wife, Jenny Morrison; the Greek Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Christos Karras; Greek Trade Commissioner to Australia, Katia Gkikiza; MP for Rockdale, Steve Kamper; MP for Barton, Linda Burney; MP for Banks, David Coleman; and George’s River Council Mayor Nick Katris; among many others.
After the Anastasi service inside the church, this congregation was led by Archbishop Makarios to a podium outside, where people had gathered and shared the holy fire among themselves.
Several speeches followed. Bishop Makarios spoke first and thanked Mr. Morrison and Mrs. Mendoni for attending Anastasi, before briefly explaining the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Then the Australian Prime Minister said, in Greek: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death with death underfoot, and to those in the grave, give him life.”
“As I watch the lights here in Kogarah tonight, my heart is full of hope,” Mr Morrison continued.
“You light up this country tonight with your faith and belief in your community. And that allows us, I think, to move forward with great confidence.
Last but not least, Ms Mendoni expressed how grateful she was to be able to attend her first Anastasi service in Australia with the local Greek community.
This was followed by the traditional chant of ‘Xristos Anesti’, which had to be moved indoors due to a sudden downpour.