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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 13 July 2019
10 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 13 JULY 2019 NEWS Parishioners bid final farewell to the loving Father Nicholas Vrettakos Priests from across Victoria together with loved ones and a number of parishioners said their last farewell to Father Nicholas Vrettakos on Wednesday 10 July. The service was held at Father Nicholas' parish the Presentation of Our Lady to the Temple Church in North Balwyn, led by His Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis and Bishop Iakovos of Miletoup- olis. Visibly emotional, they prayed for his soul, and in their own way expressed their love and respect for the priest, who left a strong imprint behind on the church and a legacy that will never be forgotten. Father Nicholas passed away peacefully on Thursday 4 July, aged 63, surrounded by his loved ones, including his wife Efimia, their children and grandchildren. Bishop Ezekiel gave a touching speech about Father Nicholas, honouring his 24-year ministry in North Balwyn and his vision for the parish community. "Today we live a moment of eternity. With emotion and peace of mind, we lead Father Nicholas into the sky, where the angels chant and he himself takes part in the dance," he said. Father Nicholas was with the North Balwyn parish since it first opened its doors, in the presence of Archbishop Stylianos, since the doors opened on Sunday 21 October, 2001. He was also a driving force behind the construction of the cemetery temple of the Resurrection of Saint Lazarus Greek Orthodox Church, built within the grounds of Bunurong Memorial Park in South Dandenong. Bishop Ezekiel also read out the heartfelt condolences of the newly enthroned Archbishop of Australia, Makarios. Meanwhile on Tuesday evening a memorial service (trisagion) was held at the church, attended by a number of parishioners, includ- ing a number of young people whose marriages were blessed by Father Nicholas, whose children he baptised, and whose sick parents he blessed before their passing. "We were blessed to have Father Nicholas as our priest. His advice will accompany us every Sunday and at every celebration," parishioner Georgia Georgiou said. May his memory be eternal. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Photos: Kostas Deves Briefs STORMS KILL SEVEN At least seven people, including children aged eight and two years, died after extreme weather struck a popular tourist region in Greece. Deaths included those of two elderly Czech nationals killed when their travel trailer in Halkidiki was swept away, while a Romanian mother and her son, 8, were killed when a roof collapsed on a restaurant in Nea Plagia. In the seaside town of Potidea, a man and a young boy, both Russians, died after a tree collapsed near a hotel in the seaside town of Potidea, authorities said. Reports have also surfaced in the media regarding a fire service announcement that a seventh victim was also pulled out of the sea. A medical centre in the area said it had treated 60 to 70 people as a result of injuries caused by galeforce winds, rain and hailstorms in northern Greece, with most being treated for fractures. Meteorologist Klearhos Marousakis described the weather as “extremely unusual” for that time of the year.” It is the first time in my 25-year career that I have lived through something like this,” the medical centre director, Athanasios Kaltsas, told OPEN TV. “It was so abrupt, and so sudden.” US SCIENTIST KILLED The body of American biologist Suzanne Eaton, 59, was discovered by two locals on Monday in a cave that had been turned into a Nazi bunker during World War II. Forensic pathologists on Wednesday said that she had been killed, whereas police later announced that death was by asphyxiation. Local media reports point to minor stab wounds on her body though there has been no police confirmation of this. The coroner however said that death was slow and dental records from Germany, where Eaton was working, had to be used to identify the body. Crete’s Chief of Police Konstantinos Lagoudakis said that it is believed that Eaton’s body was placed in the bunker after she was killed. He said her body was found face down 60 metres inside the cave, beneath an air shaft covered by a large wooden pallet. Police have already brought in several suspects for DNA testing. The biologist was in Crete for a conference at the Orthodox Academy in Crete and was last seen alive on 2 July. Her employer, the Max Planck Institute at Dresden University in Germany, announced her death and set up a tribute page for Eaton. EU BACKS CYPRUS The European Union is set to cut funding for Turkey following the country’s “illegal” drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus, and there are indications that sanctions may be ramped up even further if the government of Ankara continues to violate Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). “Despite our best intentions to keep good neighbourly relations with Turkey, its continued escalation and challenge to the sovereignty of our member state Cyprus will inevitably lead the EU to respond in full solidarity,” Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said on Wednesday. A joint decision was drafted in Brussels by national envoys on Thursday. “In light of Turkey’s continued and new illegal drilling activities, the [EU] decides to suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agrees not to hold further meetings of the high-level dialogues for the time being,” it said, also announcing that the European Council endorses the European Commission’s proposal to reduce pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 while inviting the European Investment Bank to also review lending activities in Turkey.Nicosia pushed for tougher language. Restrictive measures will continue should Turkey continue illegal drilling, however the EU bloc needs Turkey in matters such as security and migration and there are member states that also rely on Turkey for energy transit. This means that future sanctions would be limited. RIP VLASSIS RASSIAS Vlassis Rassias, the General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Ethnic Hellenes (YSEE), passed away in the early hours of Sunday, 7 July. The cofounder of YSEE leaves behind a huge body of work, including 28 books and the institution he helped establish – the YSEE, a non-profit organisation that he founded in Greece in 1997 for the protection and restoration of the Hellenic ethnic religion in contemporary Greek soci- ety. It is estimated some 2,000 Greeks practice the ethnic religion, while 100,000 have “some sort of interest”. As a stakeholder in the YSEE movement, Rassias was a prolific author, speaker and activist for the restoration of the Hellenic ancestral religion, as well as an advocate for other indigenous, ethnic religions throughout Europe. He worked towards the goal of obtaining legal recognition for the Hellenic ethnic religion that existed in antiquity. Andras Corban-Arthen, President of the European Congress of Ethnic Religions (ECER) released a statement following his death. “I grieve, personally, the loss of a dear friend and colleague, someone whom I deeply appreciated, respected and admired throughout the decade we worked together,” he said. “On behalf of the ECER, I send our deep condolences to his family and community — we are all so much richer for having had Vlassis as part of our lives.” OLDEST HUMAN SKULL A 210,000-year-old human skull found in Greece shows that the human species left Africa much earlier than previously thought. The exciting discovery was published in a new study in Nature of two fossils found in Greece in the 1970s shows that one of them is the oldest homo sapiens specimen out of Africa by more than 50,000 years. The human skull, found in Apidima Cave on the southwestern coast of the Peloponnese was originally identified as Neanderthal and disappeared into the general table of fossils from humans and their closest extinct hominins relatives. However, a recent study from a multinational team led by Katerina Harvati reconstructed the specimens digitally and dated them by measuring their radioactive decay. The skull fragments, Apidimia 1 (rear) and Apidima 2 (compelte skull with clear face), had been distorted by the fossilisation process but the new “geometric-morphometric” analysis confirmed that Apidima 2 was an early Neanderthal from around 150,000 years ago. The digital recreation of the whole of the Apidima 1 skull to what it would have looked like led to the reclassification of the skull as a modern human (homo sapien) dating back to 210,000 years ago.
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