On Sunday 24th January 2016 the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove made a private visit to the Greek Orthodox Church of Archangel Michael, Crows Nest (NSW). His Excellency was accompanied by Lady Cosgrove and their friends from the north shore parish, Michael and Anastasia Houvardas.
The parish priest, Fr John Daskalakis, who celebrates 50 years this year servicing this parish spanning the entire north shore – from Kiribilli to Palm Beach – stated:
“This Sunday will remain in our memories forever.” Sir Peter Cosgrove replied: Γειά σου! (Yia sou!)…. I’d like to say on behalf of Lynne and I that we are very privileged to be amongst you today….“I’d like to thank you, Fr John (Daskalakis, parish priest)… and all the Greek Orthodox Community of St Michael’s for letting us see this wonderful example of your religion. Since Lynne and I have been in this job – almost two years – we’ve gone to so many different places of worship. Through our friendship with the Houvardas family, I said: I’d very much wanted to go to a Greek Orthodox service – and I know that there are Greek Orthodox churches all over the place – but I said what about the one where you worship? And he (Mr Houvardas) agreed to that.”
His Excellency also expressed that he is so pleased to be here at the start of Fr John’s commemoration of his 50th year of being the priest at this parish. Sir Peter Cosgrove continued his address with Fr John by his side, “One of the great components of modern Australia are Greek-Australians… People who come to this country with the richness of their culture – science, philosophy, medicine, arts, sports… All of the things which Australians find embedded in their present day culture can be found in all their richness within the Greek-Australian community. Today’s service was an example of that…I had heard of its richness, but it is profound. It sits at the centre of the culture of Greeks all over the world, an ancient religion, profoundly moving…
“Fr John, I thank you so much for allowing us to share the Liturgy with you. And in the shadow of Australia Day… I can’t imagine a way to mark the very significant contribution to this nation made by Australians who are Greeks – Greeks who became Australians. I thank you for what you do for Australia… Ευχαριστώ, ευχαριστώ, ευχαριστώ.”
Source: The Greek-Australian Vema: February 2016
Picture 1: (Photographed in front row, L – R) Mr Michael Houvardas, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, Anastasia Houvardas, Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove, Mrs Maria Daskalakis, Mr Chris Lepouris, Parish President
Picture 2: Fr John Daskalakis, and His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove.