FRATERNIZATION CEREMONIES IN GREECE AND CYPRUS
ERGATES COMMUNITY-KROUSSIA MUNICIPALITY (KILKIS-GREECE) BROTHERS TWICE
The two ceremonies of fraternization between Ergates community and Kroussia Municipality (Kilkis Nomarchy ) took place with great honor and spirit in Greece and Cyprus. The two authorities sighed on the 5th of May 2006, on the northern part of Kroussia Municipality, in Pontokerasia, a fraternization, friendship and cooperation pact. The pact was validated in Cyprus, during a ceremony in Ergates, on the 30th of June in 2006.
VISIT IN KROUSSIA (KILKIS)
On the 4th of May 2006 a group of representatives leaded by the President of the Community, the Members of the Community Council, the priest of the Community and the Dance Group of the Folk Society “To Mantalin” of Ergates departed for Greece, where the first fraternization ceremony would take place on the 5th of May 2006. The Municipal Counselors Sophia Manousaridou and Georgios Papadopoulos were waiting for us at “Macedonia Airport” with great love. They escorted us to the hotel in Kilkis where we stayed.
We departed from Kilkis late at night; we took the bus to Efkarpia, one of the major villages of the Kroussia Municipality. The Mayor of Kroussia with a group of representatives welcomed, wined and dined us. Tsipouro, wine and good mood were present.
Next morning we took the bus and toured around Kilkis and Kroussia Municipality. We visited the hill of Saint George in Kilkis and the War Museum, where the history and the great battle of Kilkis were explicated. We left some flowers in the memory of the heroes. We were greatly moved when the President of the Community Council told us that a young man from Ergates, volunteer soldier Kyriacos Christodoulou, gave his life in the battle against the Bulgarians in June 1913.
The tour around Kroussia Municipality was completed with visits at the archaeological site of Palatiano and in several villages and districts, where the inhabitants welcomed us with great love and pleasure.
On the afternoon of the same day we returned from the hotel to get some rest and prepare for the official fraternization ceremony.
Around five in the afternoon we took the bus for the northern part of Kroussia Municipality, and the guest houses of Pontokerasia, where the ceremony would take place. We were warmly welcomed and moved. The space was decorated with Greek and Cypriot flags.
The ceremony started with a speech by TEDK Secretary, Nicos Pardalis who referred to the chronicle of the contacts between the two parties. The Mayor of Kroussia, Giorgos Gavrielides welcomed us and the President of Ergates Community Council, Kyriacos Christodoulou thanked everyone. They both mentioned the reasons and the aims of the fraternization. The pact of the fraternization, friendship and cooperation was signed.
The provincial governor of Nicosia, Argyris Papanastasiou, the consul of Cyprus in Thessalonica, Antonios Theocharous, the nomarch of Kilkis, Euangelos Mpalaskas and the president of TEDK Kilkis, Demetrios Sismanides.
When the ceremony was completed, the dance groups of the Folk Group “To Mantali” of Ergates and the Pontiac Association “Terpyllos” of Kroussia presented Cypriot and Pontiac traditional dances.
The representatives visited several places in the two following days in Kroussia Municipality and Kilkis Nomarchy, such as the Monastery of Saint Nicodemos in Goumenissa municipality, the Museum of Natural history in Axioupoli Municipality and the bust of Gregoris Afxentiou located in Akritas village. What is more, the Cypriot mission visited Thessalonica on Sunday morning.
On Sunday the 7th of May 2006, the last day in Kilkis, we departed by renewing our meeting for the 30th of June 2006 in Cyprus for the second fraternization ceremony.
The representatives of Kroussia Municipality, leaded by Mayor Giorgos Gavrielides and consisted of Members of the Council, representatives of several bodies and the dance group of “Terpyllos”, arrived at Larnaka airport on Wednesday, the 29th of June 2006 at 16:30. They were welcomed by the President of Ergates Community Council, Kyriacos Christodoulou, the Vice-President Costas Xenophontos and Member Maria Avraxidi.
On Friday, the group of representatives visited the Tomb in Makedonotissa, the Green Line, The Prison (where prisoners where held during English domination), the Venetian Walls, the Archbishops house, the Byzantine church of Saint John and the Monastery of Saint Heracledios, the Tombs of Kings in Ancient Tamassos. They then returned to the hotel to get some rest and prepare for the official ceremony that took place on that night at the central square of Ergates.
SQUARE INAUGURATION AND FRATERNIZATION CEREMONY
Around seven in the afternoon the group of representatives arrived in Ergates, and were welcomed by the President of the Community Council, Kyriacos Christodoulou, Father Stylianos, Members of the Community Council and of all organized groups as well as many inhabitants of the village. A short tour around the community followed and right after that we all went to the square for the fraternization ceremony.
The ceremony for the inauguration of the square, started with the blessing of the square and speeches by the President of the Community Council and Provincial Governor of Nicosia, Argyris Papanastassiou. Our brother form Kroussia were pleasantly surprised when they found out that the name given to the square was “Kroussia Square”, thus honoring the fraternization of the two communities.
The Secretary of TEDK Kilkis, Nicos Pardalis, made a speech referring to the importance of the fraternization and the many things the two parties share, such as geographical morphology, history, occupations of their inhabitants and many more. Speeches made by the President of the Community Council, Kyriacos Christodoulou and Mayor Giorgos Gavrielides followed, emphasizing the aims and the importance of the fraternization.
Speeches were also made by the Provincial Governor of Nicosia, Argyris Papanastassiou, the Mayor of Evropos, Georgios Yitsos on behalf of TEDK Kilkis and the President of Cyprus Communities’ Union, Giorgos Iacovou. A speech made by the municipal advisor Anstasios Amanatides on the “History of Pontos”. The ceremony was completed with a performance of traditional Pontiac and Cypriot traditional dances by groups “Terpyllos” of Pontos and “To Mantalin” of Ergates.
On Saturday 1st of July the mission visited Limassol, the old city and the old castle, the market and the church dedicated to the holy Cross in Omodos. A trip around the village and the narrow winding alleys, the shops with lace, traditional sweets, wines, and traditional houses with distillers followed as well as lunch at “Omodos” tavern.
Late in the afternoon we headed for Nicosia via the green forests of Mount Troodos. On Saturday evening the Community Council invited everyone for dinner at “Anemones” music restaurant in Kampia. Presents were exchanged during dinner by the representatives of both fraternized parties and the representatives of all present organized bodies. Good food and drinks, dance and pleasure brought everyone closer to each other.
We escorted the mission from Greece to the airport on Sunday and wished their a safe trip, hoping to see them soon.