On Easter Saturday, seven young Greek Australians visited Fronditha Thornbury Aged Care facility in Victoria, Australia to spread Easter cheer to the elderly with pasxalines lambades (Easter candles) and tsourekia.
The visit to Fronditha was organised by the Pallaconian Brotherhood Youth Committee, in coordination with Fronditha’s CEO George Lekakis AO.
“It was my greatest honour to spend time with the pioneering generation of the Greek Australians. Visiting Fronditha during the Easter period was a proud fulfilment of my duty as a Greek to the Greek community. Speaking with the elderly I was pleased to discover that a few residents had in fact been involved in the formative years of the Pallaconian Brotherhood of Melbourne and Victoria ‘Leonidas’, and in my time with these ground-breaking Greeks-Australians, I learnt so much about the Pallaconian Brotherhood and the Greek Community in Melbourne. Many of my own family’s stories were mirrored in conversation there, and in the faces of the proud Greeks sitting before me I saw the faces of my own grandparents and was reminded of their struggles in transplanting Hellenism in the Antipodes. The visit reflected the kind of solidarity and community spirit that I hope will be continued by our Committee and other young Greek-Australians in the diaspora” Miltiadis Paikopoulos, youth president of Pallaconian Brotherhood said.
For all of the youth that visited Fronditha, the opportunity to learn was unrivalled. Whether it was hearing stories from their grandparents’ generation, the discovery of originating from the same a village/region or the realisation that residents knew members of their own families and relatives. They also met and heard interesting recollections from the residents who hailed from the region of Laconia, and who had in fact been members of the Pallaconian Brotherhood during its early years, helping establish the club and begin the legacy which the youth seek to preserve and build upon for years to come.
The Pallaconian Brotherhood Youth Committee were extremely thankful for the hand decorated Paschalines Lambades which were graciously donated to them by ‘Bright Sparrows’, and gifted to each resident at Fronditha.
“Our visit with the residents during the Holy week of Orthodox Easter was indeed a meaningful reminder of the symbolism of new life with the poignant acknowledgement of the past. Being Greek we certainly could not arrive empty handed, our resourceful committee members working tirelessly to make this a memorable visit were fortunate enough to have secured sponsorship in the form of generous donations such as hand decorated paschalines lambathes by Bright Sparrows and tsourekia by the family of the Pallaconian Youth President Miltiadis Paikopoulos. These gifts were a welcomed surprise for the residents and certainly put a smile on their faces as they reminisced of traditions and Easters passed. I believe I can speak for the entire Pallaconian Youth group that attended that afternoon, when I say that it was a profound honour and with heartfelt pleasure that we shared each others company and conversation and hope to continue a tradition of these visits in the future,“ Youth Secretary Dimitri Petroulis said.
The Pallaconian Brotherhood is a philanthropic organisation, which was established in 1961 with the influx of newly arrived migrants to Australia. The organisations’ purpose to unite all Hellenes of Laconian origin, their descendants and the wider Greek Community living in Melbourne & Victoria, to promote Hellenic values and engage in philanthropy.
The Pallaconian Brotherhood Youth, which has recently been revitalised, “hopes to merge the time-proven beliefs of our predecessors with the energy and professionalism of members of today’s Greek Australian youth, bringing together Greeks from all walks of life not merely from Laconia, to give back to the community that has given us and our families so much. We seek to organise events that do justice to the proud history of Greece, both of a cultural and social nature…We encourage all prospective young Greeks in Melbourne that are looking for a way to involve themselves in the Greek community, make lifelong friends and help others, to engage with the Pallaconian Youth either through the Facebook Page or by visiting our events,” Miltiadis continued.
Not only did the youth get an insight into the character defining moments of a great generation, it has also encouraged them to establish a long standing relationship with Fronditha by seeking to repeat this event at Christmas and next year. It also highlighted the need for future generations to maintain the traditions and values of the past, without which we would not enjoy the successes and prosperity that most of us enjoy today.
Bravo to the young Greek Australians- Youth President Miltiadis Paikopoulos, Youth Secretary Dimitri Petroulis, Youth Officer Andrew Christopoulos, Youth Webmaster Dimos Fakiris and two young members of the main committee, Taksia Tsaganas and Christina Christopoulos.