On Sunday, 26 April 2015, His Grace Bishop Irinej, celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the concelebration of the Very Reverend Fathers Jovan Vesic and Velibor Bojicic, the Reverend Father Nikola Stefanov and Protodeacon Petar Mrakic.

Following the celebration of the Hierarchical Liturgy, an ANZAC Memorial was blessed and Park dedicated in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Gallipoli. The Honourable Bernie Ripoll Federal MP and Senator Clair Moore, who together unveiled the monument, Mr Serge Voleshenko from Queensland Ethnic Community Council, Shan Ju from World Harmony Society and Constantin Drozdovski from the Russian Community joined in the manifestation. The Very Reverend Father Jovan Cvetic, the Reverend Father Djordje Petrovic and Protodeacon Miodrag Tomic were also present.

Today's commemoration is dedicated as whole to our fallen soldiers from Australia and New Zealand and to our fallen fathers of Serbia. We reflect on the terrible suffering experienced by both of our nations during the First World War.

The First Wold War was a period of adversity for both Serbians and Australians alike: the Serbians, although experienced soldiers who had overcome nearly 5 centuries of Ottoman domination, had just come out of the second Balkan war, still unrecovered and weak from the losses they sustained during both Balkan wars.

On the other hand, Australians were very young as a nation and anxious to prove that as the representatives of their new nation they would not be found lacking in courage and military ability; and that they could acquit themselves at least as well as the soldiers of older, more established countries of Europe. Many of these men were only teenagers, some as young as 16.

We should remember them not as old soldiers from a forgotten war, but as the young Australians they were in 1915. We must celebrate their triumph over great adversity. They set very high standards for those who followed them.

The ANZACs thought of themselves as Australians, although many could trace their origins back to other countries and different cultures. The courage and mateship these men displayed marked the cornerstone for a truly unified nation – not just unified on a piece of documentation, but through what we know today as the "Australian spirit".
ANZAC day is not about the sensationalism of war or depicting conflict as something fantastic. It is a reminder that war is horrible and while we should be proud of what the ANZACs and Serbian soldiers endured in the name of our freedom, we should always remember that there are never any winners in war.

I would like to take this opportunity to bring to light a connection between our two great nations that has long since become overlooked. It is a well known fact amongst the Serbian people that Britain, alongside France and Russia, had supported the Serbian army.

Not only are we connected through our values and stance as Allied powers, but the contributions of British doctors and nurses during the Great War.

There they found thousands of wounded Serbian soldiers and a typhus epidemic which had killed a third of Serbia's doctors. They managed to bring the typhus under control.
"That autumn, 1915, Serbia was again invaded by the Central Powers and many nurses accompanied the Serbian Army's fighting retreat to the Adriatic coast, treating casualties while trekking through the snowy passes of Albania in the depths of winter. 'The bearing of these British women was beyond all praise,' a Serbian medical liaison officer wrote later."

'Equaling the soldiers in endurance, they outdid them in morale, giving to others most of the little they had, putting their last wraps on the exhausted soldiers.' I will name few of them here today:

Dr Elizabeth Ross
Flora Sandes
Lady Leila Paget

Dr Ross

When she arrived in late January 1915, she immediately volunteered to go and work in a typhus hospital in Kragujevac, rather than a Scottish Women's Hospital which had been set up not far away.

"She knew she really hadn't much of a chance of surviving because typhus was widespread and they didn't know at that time what caused it," says Edith.

"The place was in a dreadful mess when she arrived and there were no nurses. They would put two single beds together and put three patients in them. Some of the nurses from the Scottish Women's Hospital came to visit her and said 'Dr Ross, I don't know how you can bear to work here', and she just said 'well, somebody's got to do it'. "

In the end, she survived less than three weeks.

Ross died on 14 February 1915. She was 37 years old. For many years, she was remembered quietly, both by her family and by those in Serbia whom she had helped. Then, in 1977, the local Red Cross in Kragujevac was given some money, and decided to use it to restore Ross's grave. She is buried next to two British nurses who also died in Serbia of typhus, Mabel Dearmer and Lorna Ferriss. Altogether, 22 British women lost their lives to typhus in Serbia during the First World War, attempting to aid wounded soldiers.

"The Serbs admire her for her remarkable courage," "She went into Kragujevac military hospital to take over six typhus wards in the full knowledge that she would probably die just a few weeks later. The majority of people in Serbia have had a really tough time of it and Elizabeth's story is a string that links them to their remarkable history. And it's a history they hope for as well – working hand in hand with their allies."

Flora Sandes –

Was the only British woman officially to serve as a soldier in World War I. She signed up to be a volunteer with the ambulance service and within eight days was on her way to Serbia with the first volunteer unit to leave Britain.
At first, she worked with the Red Cross but soon enlisted in the Serbian army - one of the few in the world to accept women.

She soon moved up the ranks, becoming corporal and then sergeant-major, and didn't shy away from the action. While engaged in hand-to-hand fighting, Flora was wounded by a grenade while helping to defend her position.

She was rescued by a lieutenant in her company who risked his life to crawl out under fire to drag her back to safety.

Once recovered, she rejoined the men in the frontline trenches, fought alongside them as they regained the country they had lost nearly three years before.

For her exceptional bravery under fire, she was awarded a medal and made headlines around the world.

Lady Paget

Was an English noblewoman and a humane Serbian supporter who treated the wounded in the Serbian army in the both Balkan Wars and the World War I. After the World War II ended, her home in London became a meeting place for the Serbian political refugees. She financially helped the setup of the Serbian church and the Serbian club in London.
Her humane side, this English Dame exposed during the Balkan Wars, when she, along with the English doctors, established a military hospital in Belgrade, and dedicated herself to treating the wounded in the Serbian army as a volunteer nurse.

The beginning of the Great War found Lady Paget in London. Even though she was safe there, the noble Lady couldn't "sit on her hands" while "her Serbs" are at war. That's why she, disregarding the advice from her husband and her father, as early as November, headed for Skopje, through Solun, with a large British medical mission.

When Serbian army was starting to retreat through Albania, Lady Paget, regardless of the advice and pleas from her closest friends and family to walk away with the army, nevertheless, stayed with the wounded that were unable to evacuate. It was a gesture that Serbia would never forget. Skopje was at that time under Bulgarian occupation.
The fearless Lady stayed in Skopje under those circumstances until the last soldier left the military hospital in Skopje. After that Lady Page returned to England and dedicated herself to her second love, nature.

However, before she left, she felt the need to say goodbye to her Serbs with a letter that was published on the first page of "Politika", where, among other things, she said:
"I have always had warm sympathies towards Serbia and Serbian people, and there was always some kind of a specific bond between them and me, that made me think of them with love, even when I'm far away from them, a bond that made me come to Serbia with the same amount of joy as when I went to my homeland. Once again, and truly, thank you all, and see you soon."

On her estate, not far from London, she lived peacefully, breeding birds and flowers until that peace was disturbed by the World War II. The Lady established a hospital in her home, and when the war ended, her home became a meeting place for the Serbian political refugees.

Nearing her life's end she had only one fear – that her Serbs would forget her. "Should it happen that everyone forgets me, I wouldn't care! But I would not take it lightly should my Serbs forget me!" She was awarded the Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and the highest Serbian medal, the Order of St. Sava. Belgrade will always remember Lady Paget by the street on Dedinje that has her name.

I sincerely hope that with these stories I have managed to convey the heroism and sacrifice that these extraordinary ladies displayed.

By Brane Cupać