Dear Consul, Members of Parliament, Dr Ken Michael, former Governor of WA, Mr. Norm Eaton, Veteran of the battle of Crete, Mr. Graham Johnson, Representative of the 2/11th Battalion, Mr. Bill Evangel, President of the Hellenic-Australian RSL, relatives of Veterans, Members of the RSL, brothers & sisters, Friends of Greece.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete and Mainland Greece and for this reason the Greek-Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia together with the Consulate of Greece in Perth decided to organize a memorial service followed by a luncheon in this very special place, the chapel of St. John the Theologian. This chapel is very special and has significant connection to the Battle of Crete, since we owe its existence to the late Geoff Edwards, Veteran of the Battle of Crete, who donated this land so the chapel that we are currently in can be built. He also named the surrounding area Prevelly. Geoff Edwards donated this land to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia as a token of appreciation to the monks of the Holy Monastery of Prevelly in Rethymno/Crete and the people of Crete, who had sheltered, hidden and helped him, as well as numerous other Australians, to escape to the free world.
This chapel is a monumental commemoration which demonstrates that it was through the battle in Crete that a lasting bond was forged between Australia and Greece. Seventy five years after the Battle of Crete and Mainland Greece, the friendship between our two countries has grown stronger as we continue to remember and pay tribute to the bravery and determination of those who fought and fell in Greece.
On behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, the Greek Consul of Perth, Mr. Andonios Koliadis, the president of the Cretan Brotherhood Mr. Manoli Geroyiannakis and all the members of the Greek Orthodox Community of WA, I would like to thank Mr. Norm Eaton, Veteran of the Battle of Crete, who travelled from Bunbury to be with us today on this very special occasion. We would also like to thank all the relatives of the veterans of the Battle of Crete for also making the effort in coming to today’s service. Your attendance today reminds us even more of the sincere debt of gratitude we owe to all the people, who fought in 1941 in Greece.
Freedom, as emphasized by His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos in his message for the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete, and which I will read out shortly in Greek, is the essence of human life and for this reason every honourable person will sacrifice everything for it; even his/her biological life in order to save and honour freedom.
His Eminence reminds us in his message that we must not forget that tyrants do not always come from outside. At times unfortunately tyrants are also born from within our own people and even at times from within our own families. For this reason let everyone who has comprehended the importance of freedom be vigilant so that we remain firm and not give in to any form of tyranny and oppression that may dishonour the human person Whom God created in His Image and Likeness.
I would also like to thank everyone today who took the time and effort to attend today’s service. Special thanks must go out to the small but dynamic organizing committee and the volunteers who worked very hard in order to make today’s event successful.
Now we will conduct a bi-lingual memorial service for all the Greek, the Australian and the allied soldiers who fell during the Battle of Crete.