The launch of Dean Kalimniou’s bilingual children’s book “Soumela et la Magie Kemenche” took place on Sunday May 29 at the Panarcadienne Association “O Kolokotronis”.
Attendees included Victoria’s former health minister Jenny Mikakos, Channel 31 director Sakis Zafeiropoulos, Pronia chairman Kris Pavilidis, Alphington Grammar director Dr Vivian Nikos and a number of teachers, students and children for whom a special table was organized with activities and interactive resources. based on the book. Panagiotis Stamatopoulos was master of ceremonies.
In his greeting, Bishop Evmenios, referring to the author’s long-term literary and cultural contribution within the community, stressed that the Church is always looking for alternative ways to transmit its religious and national heritage to the next generation in a relevant and new way. way. It is for this reason that the book was chosen for publication by the St Andrews Greek Orthodox Press.
In turn, the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Emmanuel Kakavelakis, reproached but also congratulated the author for having chosen the inauspicious date of May 29 for the launch, the anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, thus drawing attention of the public on these events. , tragic or joyous which unite the Greeks and determine their historical discourse. He then referred to experiences in his particular homeland, which the book reminded and moved him.
In his own greetings, the President of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis, referred to the extent to which “Soumela and the Kemenche magic” has been embraced by the teachers of Greek language schools in GOCMV, who have developed teaching material from also expressing his esteem for the presenter of the book, Mrs. Panagiota Stavridou, who was a teacher in the language schools of the GOCMV, as well as for the author himself.
Panagiota Stavridou then invited the public to immerse themselves in the physical but also emotional universe of the book’s protagonist, little Soumela, by decoding the symbolism contained in the text. Her moving exposition was interspersed with traditional music on the Pontian lyre by the young Kostas Kostidis, while former students of the presenter, Jana Horn and Helene Kalimniou, as well as Rena Frangioudaki, read excerpts from the text.
“It is a book for Pontians but also for all Greeks,” said Panagiota Stavridou. “Suitable for children but also for adults. Written in Greek, but also in English. A historical account that fills a great gap in the literature, not only of the Pontians, but of all Hellenism. A book/study that tackles the crime of Genocide of the Greek Christians of Pontus, a subject so difficult to deal with that even we adults can hardly talk about it. It deals with these issues appropriately and sensitively, without inflicting pain, but rather protecting the souls of children and conveying a positive message for the future. She concluded by referring to the Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese writer “José Saramago”: “We are the memories we have; without memories, we wouldn’t know who we are.
Thanking the organizers of the presentation and expressing his gratitude to Archbishop Makarios, editor of St Andrews Greek Orthodox Press for publishing the book and Stephanos Eleftheriadis, the illustrator, author Dean Kalimniou highlighted the importance of engaging with young people and organizing events that ensure their integration with the wider community, referring to how it has been able to build on years of engagement and sharing stories , memories and resources with community groups and individuals, while writing the book.
The presentation ended with Dean Kalimniou the traditional lament of the fall of Constantinople to Pontian, accompanied on lyre by Kostas Kostidis.