With corona virus wreaking havoc around the globe, disrupting social flow as we know it, the Greek Orthodox Community was left with no choice but to honour Greek Independence Day in a closed ceremony for the first time in history.
The usual formalities of laying wreaths, school children in traditional costumes, members of parliament and hundreds of Hellenes participating in the celebrations, were overshadowed by the ongoing health crisis.
However the sense of national pride and patriotism was just as strong, if not stronger during the very small, closed ceremony held by the Greek Orthodox Community at the Cathedral of Archangels Michael & Gabriel’s cenotaph on Wednesday 25th March.
“Coronavirus has brought the global community to its knees, however, we had the obligation to honour in one way or another this very important day that means so much to all of Hellenism,” said Mr Bill Gonis, President of the Greek Community.
The celebrations were initially scheduled for Sunday the 29th of March at the Cathedral but were cancelled due to the spread of the virus and following Government policies on social gatherings, announced recently.
The closed ceremony only saw the President of the Greek Community Mr Bill Gonis, the General Secretary Mr Peter Ppiros, the Community’s Treasurer Mr Peter Gardiakos, Mrs Eleni Mermingis-Kounavelis, member of the Administrative Council and the church’s vicar, with no other member of the public or member of parliament allowed to attend.
A short memorial service in memory of the heroes of the 21 Epos and the laying of two wreaths was but a humble tribute towards those men and women whose struggle ensured Greece’s independence.
The church’s empty courtyard resonated the Greek National Anthem performed by the small group, giving an eerie feeling in this year’s celebration as they concluded.
Greek Independence Day coincides with the Day of Annunciation and for this reason a closed service was conducted inside the church (with doors closed) prior the ceremony outside and was broadcast live on YouTube.
It’s worth mentioning that all church services will also be broadcast live online at least until the crisis is over.