25 March (25η Μαρτίου) is a double celebration for Greeks, a religious and national celebration. Hellenism everywhere around the world honours its ancestors and celebrates the beginning of the revolution of 1821 against Turkish rule. At the same time, it’s a momentous day for the Orthodox faith, celebrating the anniversary of the proclamation of the birth of Jesus. This day is an official public holiday in Greece and Cyprus. The unique double celebration makes it one of the most important dates of the year.

Our students have the opportunity to appreciate and learn about the significance and duality of this day during their Greek and Orthodoxy lessons and by attending the official community events. Under normal circumstances, they would attend the Doxology Service at our Church and then attend a march from Martin Place to the Opera House. This year, due to the disruptions that the pandemic has caused in all aspects of life, we celebrated it differently. Both campuses held special presentations to highlight the significance of the day, some of the most important events and some of the major contributors to the struggle for independence. At the Secondary Campus, students from Years 12 and 10 led the presentation, and at the Primary Campus, Year 6 students.

On Sunday 27 March, both students and staff participated in the official celebrations for the day at the All Saints Church. A small delegation represented our school at the Greek Archdiocese in Redfern and the Doxology Service and wreath-laying at Martin Place. That night a group of our students attended the exhibition “Heroes Made of Metal” held at Sydney Town Hall. This collection of rare artworks and traditional Greek costumes is on loan from the Greek War Museum of Athens.

In these perilous times when authoritarian regimes worldwide compromise individual and social rights, our national day shines as a stark reminder of how valuable and fragile freedom is.