The great feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Virgin Mary was celebrated with splendour and solemnity in Sydney, Australia. The centre of the festive divine services was the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady, where a festive Poly-Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was held, presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who was also joined by His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis and His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, the Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese and Parish Priest of the Cathedral Church, Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne Christophoros Krikelis, and by many priests of the city of Sydney.
During the Divine Liturgy, the Archbishop’s message was read for the double feast of March 25, a feast of Orthodoxy and Hellenism, where His Eminence, invoking the examples of the Virgin Mary during the event of the Annunciation and the Heroes of our ancestors during the Greek Revolution of 1821, noted among other things: “Ensuring the good of freedom – whether at the individual, national or universal level – presupposes that we are equipped not so much with material means, but primarily with spiritual ones. It presupposes that we have deep faith, values and ideals, with which we will be able to shake off primarily our inner shackles: the misgivings, the hesitations and the logic of this world which pushes us towards despair”.
Present, among the congregation, were the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr. Yannis Mallikourtis, as well as the Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, a clergyman of the Holy Archdiocese of America, who was also joined by his Presvytera, Xanthi. The Archbishop warmly welcomed Fr. Alexander, who is currently visiting Australia, and spoke highly of his contribution to the Church and in particular to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
For his part, the Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne, Fr. Alexander, who was invited to address a short greeting to the congregation, referred with emotion to the homeland and emphasised the fraternal ties that connect the Omogeneia of Australia with that of America. In addition, Fr. Alexander declared his respect and appreciation for the person of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, while going back to the time before their personal acquaintance, remembering the words of praise with which the Ecumenical Patriarch described the personality of His Eminence.
“Really, when you were conducting the liturgy today, I felt that His All-Holiness, our father, was near us,” he pointed out. Finally, he acknowledged the presence of Father Miltiadis Chryssavgis, especially on this occasion referring to his son, Fr. John Chryssavgis, Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Throne serving in the Holy Archdiocese of America.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, in an emotional atmosphere, the four-year memorial service of the late Archbishop Stylianos of Australia, who passed away on 25 March 2019, was held. His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia referred to the many-year and valuable contribution of his blessed predecessor, noting among other things that “he shepherded with much love and self-sacrifice the rational flock of our local Church, in a very difficult time for the unity of Hellenism in Australia”. “We have him in our thoughts and in our prayers, but above all we have him in our hearts”, His Eminence underlined, while concluding he prayed for God to rest him with the Saints and the Righteous.