‘Community is your heart’: St George Rose Bay celebrates 60th anniversary

St George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Rose Bay, Sydney’s eastern suburbs, celebrated its 60th anniversary on Saturday November 12 with a black-tie ball at the Fullerton Hotel.

In the evening, the ballroom was filled with families, friends and parishioners from the parish, as well as many special guests. This included Archbishop Makarios of Australia; Her Excellency the Honorable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales; the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Ioannis Mallikourtis; the parish priest of St George Rose Bay, Father Gerasimos Koutsouras; and the chairman of the parish committee, Spero Raissis; among many others.

All attendees were treated to a three course meal in the evening as they listened to a number of speeches highlighting the 60 year history of St George Rose Bay.

Event host Mary Coustas kicked off the official proceedings with a video of Sunday school students from the parish singing the national anthems of Greece and Australia.

Afterwards, Bishop Makarios, Ms. Beazley, Mr. Mallikourtis and Mr. Raissis all took the stage to speak.

In his address, Bishop Makarios thanked parishioners, benefactors and donors for their support of St George Rose Bay over the years.

“I have no doubt that he [Saint George] is very pleased with your noble efforts to see this parish prosper as you bring the light of God to this corner of Sydney,” the Archbishop said.

Ms Beazley then spoke of her ‘vicarial connection’ to the parish and stressed that while St George Rose Bay is not legend, ‘it is legendary’.

“When I thought of you as a parish, your church as a place in our community, it seemed to me that three things were of particular importance. The first is community – it’s your heart. It is your dedication to your church and as a member of that community that binds you,” Ms Beazley said.

“Also at the heart of this parish of St George is commemoration because it is a church that has been dedicated to service people, to Greeks, to Greek Australians who have served in the Australian Defense Services…it is a extraordinary dedication.

The Consul General was next to the scene and shared his observations on the Greek community in Australia since arriving in Sydney last month. Mr Mallikourtis stressed that while Greeks have thrived in Australia, more focus needs to be put on how to preserve the Greek language for future generations.

The last to speak was the president of the parish, Mr. Raissis. He spoke about the parish’s achievements, including its scholarship programs, and announced that some of the funds raised overnight would be donated to St Andrews Theological College in Sydney.

At the end of these official speeches, Bishop Makarios presented a small gift to the volunteers of St George Rose Bay in recognition of their dedication and long term service.

Young Greek dancers from the parish dance school then came out to perform a number of Greek dances. Everyone was then encouraged to hit the dance floor and enjoy live Greek music.

*Photos by real-time photography and video.

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