In 2021, the bicentennial of Greece’s declaration of the War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire will be widely celebrated throughout the world. In Sydney, the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW and its organising committee of notable Greek-Australians, will deliver a programme of events designed to highlight and celebrate this important milestone. The organising committee was formed and announced in December 2019 and includes artists, academics, journalists and historians who have collaborated to produce a cohesive collection of events.
The programme has been thoughtfully curated to create insight, provoke thought and inspire through a series of lectures, plays, exhibitions, concerts, film screenings and panel discussions. More than 20 events have so far been programmed, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
President of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, Harry Danalis said “2021 marks the anniversary of a momentous year in Greek history and we are glad to be able to present a series of events that acknowledges and celebrates this. It has been important to us to engage artists and coordinate events that truly appreciate and commemorate the significance of this moment in our history”.
Among the many events announced is the recital of the Greek national anthem in full, accompanied by a symphony orchestra and performed at the Great Hall, University of Sydney. Dionysios Solomos wrote the 158 stanzas of the Hymn to Freedom in 1823, while hearing the Turkish cannons firing at the siege of Messolonghi, and it went on to become the nation’s anthem. It is the longest national anthem in existence and scarcely recited in full, making this an especially unique project.
The organising committee of The Greek Orthodox Community of NSW’s 2021 programme includes Effy Alexakis (Documentary Photographer), Harry Danalis (President, Greek Orthodox Community of NSW), Leonard Janiszewski (Historian, Macquarie University), Athanasios Kallos (Sydney University Greek Society), Efthymios Kallos (Journalist, SBS Greek Radio), Professor Vrasidas Karalis (Academic, University of Sydney), Nia Karteris (Festival Chair, Greek Festival of Sydney), Lex Marinos (Actor), Michael Tsilimos (Secretary, Greek Orthodox Community of NSW), Dr Helen Vatsikopoulos (Journalist and Academic, University of Technology Sydney) and Dr Alfred Vincent (Academic).
200 Χρόνια Ελεύθερη Ελλάδα – 7 May to 8 June 2021
A concert titled 200 Χρόνια Ελεύθερη Ελλάδα, to be performed nationally by Dimitris Basis, Greek band and a 40-piece symphony orchestra under the direction of conductor George Ellis. The concert will pay tribute to songs of revolution, liberation and empowerment by four major Greek composers; Manos Hatzidakis, Stavros Xarchakos, Mikis Theodorakis and Vassilis Tsitsanis.
The Women of the Revolution – 7 March 2021
A lecture by Dr Panayota Nazou on the women of the Greek Revolution at the University of Sydney.
Recital of the Greek National Anthem – 25 March 2021
The recital of the Greek National Anthem in full by prominent Greek-Australians, accompanied by a symphony orchestra at the Great Hall, University of Sydney.
25th of March Celebration – 27 March 2021
The annual 25th of March celebration at Martin Place and the Sydney Opera House forecourt, presented by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW. A procession followed by speeches, poetry recitals, music and dance performances.
Ο Παπαφλέσσας – March 2021
A performance of Spyros Melas’ play Ο Παπαφλέσσας by Hellenic Art Theatre, directed by Stavros Economidis.
Ήμουν παιδί του εικοσιένα με τον Θεόδωρο – March 2021
A children’s performance of the play Ήμουν παιδί του εικοσιένα με τον Θεόδωρο Κολοκοτρώνη by Hellenic Art Theatre, directed by Stavos Economidis.
Painting and Photographic Exhibition – March 2021
An exhibition by artists Philip George and Margarita Georgiadis at Parliament of NSW, supported by Australian Members of Parliament and Greek diplomats.
Rigas Feraios – March 2021
A lecture by Dr Alfred Vincent on the works of writer, political thinker and revolutionary Rigas Feraios, accompanied by a musical performance.
Greeks of the Diaspora
The launch of the publication of Greeks of the Diaspora, a journal magazine made up of articles written by local and international academics, printed by Greek-Australian Newspaper O Kosmos. Edited by journalist Dr Helen Vatsikopoulos.
The Relationship Between Greece and Turkey
A panel discussion on the relationship between the Greek and Turkish people, chaired by Dr Helen Vatsikopoulos at the University of Technology Sydney.
Non-Greeks of the Revolution
A lecture that will shed light on non-Greeks who participated in the Revolution including minority groups in Greece as well as Philhellenes of Europe who provided support. Presented by the students of SUGS (Sydney University Greek Society).
1821 & the Greek Diaspora in Australia
A panel of young professional Greek-Australians discussing the idea of what significance 1821 and the 200 years since holds for them. Panellists will include Andonis Piperoglou (historian); Patricia Koromvokis (modern Greek language academic); George Mpliokas (former MUGA President); Alexandra Dellios (historian); Athanasios Kallos (Greek Festival Committee Member and Member of the 2021 Anniversary Committee) and Peter Polites (award-winning writer).
1821 of Memory: Recollection and Meaning of Greek National Day for Post-War Greek Arrivals
A panel will discuss the recollections of earlier Greek-Australians migrant settlers who experienced Greek School and celebrations of Greek National Day. Discussion will revolve around the photos and memories each panellist has of School or Community 1821 celebrations.
Students of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW
The students of the afternoon and Saturday schools of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW will produce and present a film about the events of 1821.
28th Greek Film Festival – From 5 to 24 October 2021
The 28th Greek Film Festival will present a selection of films within its annual programme that focus on the Greek Revolution and events directly influenced by it.
The Greek Revolution in European Art
A lecture by Professor Vrasidas Karalis on the Greek Revolution in European Art at the Art Gallery Of NSW, with a strong focus on Vryzakis Theodoros painting’ The Exodus from Missolonghi, 1853.
Capodistria is a three-act tragedy in verse by Nikos Kazantzakis. The modern play will be performed as a series of readings, directed by Professor Vrasidas Karalis.
The Greek Revolution in Cinema
Academic Betty Kaklamanidou from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki will present a lecture on the Greek Revolution in cinema, as part of the 28th Greek Film Festival.