By Stella Tsolakidou
The Cypriot Cultural Centre in Vienna celebrated the beginning of the New Year in a very grandiose event hosted at the Hall of the old Town Hall.
The traditional vasilopita cutting event was attended by the newly enthroned Greek-Orthodox Metropolitan of Austria and Exarch of Hungary and Mid-Europe, Arsenios, the Chargé d’affaires of the Republic of Cyprus, Poli Ioannou, the Greek Consul to Vienna, Dimitris Daskalakis, the Greek-born municipal counselor and member of the Federal State Parliament of Vienna, Hanes Harvanek, many diplomatic representatives from Greece and Cyprus, as well as many Cypriots and Greeks living in Vienna and Austrian friends of the two countries.
In his greeting speech, the President of the Cypriot Cultural Centre and renowned baritone Kiros Patsalidis paid tribute to the deceased historic figure of the Greek-Orthodox church of Austria, Metropolitan Michael. He also referred to the challenge Cyprus must face by taking up the next rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. Mr. Patsalidis pointed out that the Greek-Cypriots will never forget the occupied lands and the occupation, wishing at the same time that 2012 may be the year to bring the final and much desired solution to the Cyprus Problem, so that Cyprus can become a united and peaceful country.
Mrs. Poli Ioannou has also characterized Cyprus’ rotating presidency of the Council of the EU as a “historic event” and stressed that it is a matter of national pride to exercise the 6 month presidency with absolute dignity.
Mr. Daskalakis on his part commented on the actions and initiatives taken by the Cypriot Cultural Centre in promoting Hellenism in Vienna, and highlighted the need to fight the Greek debt crisis through unity and joint efforts.
The newly elected Metropolitan Arsenios also made reference to the Cyprus Problem and expressed his hopes and optimism that the Cyprus presidency will be a success story.
The event included a music programme with parts from well-known opera works and Greek and Austrian operettas.