The Coordinating Committee of Pontian Associations in Melbourne (SEPSM) is organising various commemorative events, expressing the community’s commitment to continue the struggle for the international recognition of the Pontian genocide.

On Monday 11 May 2015, the Willoughby City Council in the North of Sydney passed a motion recognising the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian genocides. The motion was introduced by Councillor John Hooper and passed unanimously. The first point of the motion reads as follows:

“Willoughby City Council recognises the genocide of the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian peoples by the then Ottoman government between 1915 and 1922 and condemns these and all other acts of genocide and crimes against humanity as the ultimate act of intolerance.
Willoughby City Council endorses the resolution of the NSW parliament on 17 April 1997 that it:

– recognises and condemns the genocide of the Armenians by the then Ottoman government between 1915 and 1922, and designated 24 April of every year thereafter as a day of remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenians who fell victim to the first genocide of the twentieth century;

– recognises that Assyrians and Greeks were subjected to qualitatively similar genocides by the then Ottoman government between 1915 and 1922;

– reaffirms its condemnation of the genocide of the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks, and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of intolerance;

– recognises the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated;
– acknowledges and pays tribute to the contribution of the Anzac servicemen who aided the survivors of the genocide; and
– acknowledges the significant humanitarian relief contribution made by the people of New South Wales to the victims and survivors of the genocide.”

On Saturday 16 May at 11.00 am, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the Australian Hellenic Memorial Foundation, followed by a lecture held by Professor Nikolaos Lygeros (3.00 pm), an acclaimed Greek mathematician, writer, poet, painter and director, who has presented works on archaeology, socioeconomic and geopolitical evolution as well as several studies on the Asia Minor, Pontian, Assyrian and Armenian genocides, published in the US, Canada, Europe and Sydney.

On Sunday 17 May (10.00 am), a memorial service will be held at the Axion Esti Greek Orthodox Monastery (7 Hartington St, Northcote). Another commemorative liturgy at the St Efstathios church (221 Dorcas St, South Melbourne) will also be performed (10.00 am).

The Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne in conjunction with the Pontian Community of Melbourne and Victoria and the Coordinating Committee of Pontian Associations Melbourne for the Commemoration of the Genocide of the Greeks of Pontus, the Greek Australian Cultural League of Melbourne and Victoria are organising a commemorative event, presided by Cathy Alexopoulos at the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne headquarters on Monday 6.00 pm.

On Tuesday 19 May (4.00 pm), Professor Nikolaos Lygeros will be the MC and host of a second lecture on the Pontian history and genocide at the Pontian Assassination’s ‘Panagia Soumela’ event hall.

Moreover, Dean Kalymniou will host a lecture at the Greek Cultural Centre (Mezzanine level, 168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne), titled ‘The Pontian International Empire of Trapezounta’, on the same day (7.00 pm), in conjunction the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria.

The Sts Anargiri Greek Language Centre in Oakleigh (88-81 Willesdoen Rd) will screen the historical documentary Ta Hnaria ton Argonafton at its Multipurpose Hall on Friday 22 May (doors open 6.45 pm). For more information contact Kostas Pataridis (0433188992 and RSVP before Saturday 16 May.

Finally, on Sunday 31 May the commemorative events will culminate with the community’s student and school awards. The ceremony will take place at the Pontian Community of Melbourne offices (345 Victoria Street, Brunswick) at 2.30 pm.

* In 1994, May 19 was sanctioned by the Greek parliament as the day to commemorate the Pontian Greek genocide by the Turks. The Pontian Greeks had been struggling for three millennia to survive in the area, while preserving one of Greece’s more ancient and vibrant cultures. Turkey has yet to recognise one of the darkest moments in the history of mankind, which cost the lives of 350,000 Pontian Greeks who were slaughtered and persecuted from their homeland in Pontus.