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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 05 October 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER 2019 7 Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis. ‘I am very happy and humbled’ Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis pleased with his appointment to Brisbane Villa De Vecchi was built for Fascist dictator Beinto Mussolini in Rhodes but he was killed before setting foot in it. AXIS OCCUPATION BREAKUP With the Italian surrender in September 1943, the Germans were forced to commit more military personnel and equipment to Greece at a time when they were badly needed on the Eastern front against Russia. This led to bitter resentment and brutal reprisals. As the Italians tried to hand over the island of Cephalonia to their former ally, the Germans attacked on the 13th of September. Eight days and over 1,000 casualties later, the Italians capitulated. Nevertheless, the Germans proceeded to ruthlessly execute over 4,500 of their newly acquired Italian prisoners in one of the worst military atrocities of the war. Such ruthlessness was also exhibited elsewhere in the theatre. On the 18 October 1943, the steamer Sinfra was sunk en route from Souda (Crete) to Piraeus by Allied aircraft. According to the German Navy War Dairy; "The ship had 204 German and 2,389 Italian soldiers. 71 Greek convicts there were also aboard." What is not reported is that while the Sinfra was aflame and sinking, the Germans turned on the Italians, locking them in the holds and tossing in grenades. Any Italians who did manage to make it to the inadequate number of lifeboats were mowed down by submachine guns. Of the 204 Germans on-board, 194 survived, whereas only 597 Italians and 13 Greeks live through the savagery. Unbelievably, many of those Italian survivors were later executed by the Germans on charges of mutiny. REVERSAL OF FORTUNE By 1944, things were going seriously awry for the Nazis. The D-day landings in June and the liberation of Paris two months later had put final paid to Hitler's promise of a thousand year Reich. Although hard fought, the Allies had retaken most of the Italian peninsula. This allowed the establishment of bases in southern Italy a year earlier from which an aerial campaign against shipping in the Adriatic and land targets in Albania and Yugoslavia was in full swing. These missions complemented the sabotage undertaken by Yugoslav partisans on the ground. German supply lines to Greece were thereby seriously disrupted. Furthermore, Hitler's failure on the Eastern front had cascaded into an unstoppable Russian advance that stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The former Axis power of Romania fell in August 1944. Bulgaria, which had annexed northern Greek regions for the Germans back in 1941, was also on the point of being absorbed by the Soviets. The upshot of these reversals was that the German occupiers faced the very real danger of being totally cut off from the Fatherland and therefore annihilated. The German High Command was forced to issue a secret order at the end of August to begin a furtive withdrawal. The official directive does not appear in the German War Diaries until the 6 October 1944. "The evacuation of Greece, Albania and Macedonia has been ordered by the Fuehrer. All important communications, buildings and facilities south of the named line [marked by Scutari, Skopje and Klisura] are to be lastingly destroyed." PRELUDE TO LIBERATION Almost incredibly, the rivalry between the feuding Greek resistance groups was suspended when a tentative agreement was reached in February 1944. Brokered by shrewd political manoeuvres made by the British, E.L.A.S., E.D.E.S. and E.K.K.A. would finally focus their attentions on expelling the Axis powers instead of each other. The agreement was later ratified during a May meeting in Lebanon with resistance representatives and the exiled Greek government. Wary of a potential coup by the government in exile who were supported by the British, E.L.A.S. agreed to the guarantee of a quarter of the cabinet seats in a post-war 'National Unity' government comprising all resistance groups and led by Georgios Papandreou. A further agreement signed on the 26 September allowed the British to land forces in Greece without fear of attack from any resistance group. Such was the general mistrust that the British also had to secure promises that no resistance group would attempt to control Athens or Piraeus when the liberation came. MORE TO FOLLOW With the stage set, Greece was finally about to be liberated. What, however, would be found after three years of ruinous oppression? Find out by reading next week's instalment of this special 75th anniversary series. ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS It was announced last month that Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis had been appointed by Australia's Greek Orthodox Archbishop Makarios as the first ever resident Greek Orthodox Bishop in Queensland. "I am very happy and humbled to be asked and entrusted by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios with this opportunity and responsibility," Bishop Iakovos told Neos Kosmos. From 2002, Bishop Iakovos served as parish priest and college chaplain at Sts. Anargiri in Oakleigh, and in 2011 made history when he became the first ever Australian-born to be ordained as an Orthodox Bishop. Since then, he has been serving alongside His Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis. Over the past eight years, Bishop Iakovos said that aside from his work in Melbourne, he has visited and served throughout Queensland several times. So when news of his relocation was made pub- lic, he received a "warm reception" from the community in Brisbane. Aside from being appointed to Brisbane, it had circulated that Bishop Iakovos was set to become the first with the title 'Bishop of Brisbane'. Asked whether this was Archbishop Makarios' first step in promoting a new administrative system, breaking down the Archdiocese into separate dioceses for every Australian state, Bishop Iakovos dismissed the suggestion. "I have been appointed to Queensland, but I continue to serve the Church as an Assistant Bishop to His Eminence. So, I will serve in Queensland the same way I served in Melbourne," he said. "My title does not change from 'Miletoupolis' ... and to my knowledge the structure of the administration of the Archdiocese has not changed at this present time." Bishop Iakovos will begin his service in the Fourth District of the Australian Archdiocese as of 1 November, 2019, marking the feast day of Sts Anargiri. "I sincerely believe that his appointment is the direct result of the prayer of the people which, aligned with God's Providence, was expressed through our most beloved Archbishop Makarios," he said. It will be a big change, namely for the community he has been serving here in Melbourne, who are sure to feel his absence. Despite the move however, Bishop Iakovos says he will be eternally connected with the faithful of Melbourne. "I bare with me the prayer for those I served and came to love over the last 18 years. I remain with them and they with me in Christ Jesus." Asked what he hopes to achieve in his new appointment, Bishop Iakovos said "to love each person individually, as they are and where they are in their personal journey and, in turn, to be loved by those I serve. It is in this that God is made manifest". Ecumenical Patriarch elevates Bishops The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate unanimously agreed to the elevation of His Grace Bishop Seraphim of Apollonia to Metropolitan of Sebasteia and His Grace Bishop Nikandros of Doryleon to Metropolitan of Eirinoupolis. Archbishop Makarios of Australia congratulated the two clergy members and wished them well. He said that their promotion "constitutions recognition" of their work in Australia. "I rejoice with this development and I invite the brothers in Christ to continue their service with me for as long as they wish. Australia was and will continue to be their home," Archbishop Makarios said. Archbishop Makarios pre- sented the two clergy members with a Cross and an Engolpion with our the request that they remember his humble person, the clergy and the people of Australia in their prayers. Metropolitan Bishop Nikandros, Archbishop Makarios of Australia, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Bishop Seraphim.
28 September 2019
12 October 2019