22-year-old Australian-Greek, Costa Dantos, created a special map on the Google Maps platform, where he recorded and uploaded data for all of the 163 Greek churches and monasteries across Australia.
The Sydney-born man shared the map on his Facebook page explaining that he was looking for a way to connect Greek expatriates of all ages living in Australian cities and remote towns from wide and far.
As he stated, he took this voluntary initiative because he could not find a compiled list of churches for every corner of the country.
It reportedly took Costa 8 years to complete the project, which is now freely available for everyone to use through Google Maps.
“I have wanted to make this since I was 14 years old. No other map has been made anywhere,” Costa wrote.
“This project took me ages, required a lot of prior research, as some churches have limited information on them, and I included a photo for each church as well,” he added, as he requested fellow Greeks and Australians to point out any mistakes or omissions that they may find in his map, in order to make it more accurate.
Costa’s map includes to a large extent Greek Orthodox churches across Australia, in addition to monasteries, as well as Evangelical, Archdiocesan and other churches.
The publication of the map has received a positive response from the Facebook community and has opened a dialogue amongst the Greek diaspora across Australia.
The post quickly gathered hundreds of likes and comments from Greek-Australians, who came together to show their appreciation of his hard work, to assist in making corrections or additions to the map, and to also start a conversation with each other.
The map also grabbed the attention of the Greek media, and ERT1 TV (the equivalent to ABC News for Greece) asked Costa to join them on their morning news show, where he explained that he is an active member of a Sydney Parish and has tried to promote the ancient and modern Greek culture all of his life.
“I have always liked Greek churches and their history, but I also love geography and learning about other Greek people here in Australia,” Costa stated, speaking in Greek.
“I wanted to learn where other Greeks live and to connect them through this map, so I started from Sydney and then Melbourne and Perth, and I managed to gather data for every Greek church in Australia.”
He also said he is quite confident that the map includes every single Greek church in the country, even the “most remote one that is located near Darwin, at the Northern Territory.”
Costa, whose mother’s side of the family is from Karditsa in Greece and his father originates from Chalkidiki, concluded his interview on the Greek TV channel by proudly saying “Zito for the ’21 for all of us!”
Costa, who graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from the University of New South Wales earlier in May 2021, also received the support of the Greek-Australian community in March, when he was actively involved in promoting the “lighting request” for the Sydney Opera House in blue and white colours, to mark the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution.
Costa made a petition on change.org where he asked fellow Australians to make a request for the display of the Greek flag on the Sydney Opera House for the Independence Day of March 25 .
“The Greek community in New South Wales and Australia have played a large role in the development of Australia, and have hosted many events at the Sydney Opera House. This year, it is for the 200-year anniversary since Greece began gaining its independence from the Ottoman Empire, so we do not expect a display every year.”
Costa’s petition quickly received 1,000 signatures and an overwhelming response from Australians of both Greek and non-Greek origin.
“I hope a change of heart is demonstrated, so that all Greeks in the world, all Sydneysiders, all 180,000 Greeks in New South Wales and nearly 1 million Greeks around Australia, can see the most important day in our national calendar in 100 years celebrated close to home on our favourite Australian icon.”
Photos from Costa Dantos’ Facebook page.