On Thursday, 4 January, the Vasilopita of the Archdiocesan District of Northcote was blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, which was held on the first day of the pastoral visit which His Eminence is conducting during the feast of Epiphany in both the Archdiocesan Districts of Victoria.
The modest ceremony was held at the Holy Monastery of “Axion Esti”, in the presence of Their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, Archiepiscopal Vicars of Melbourne and Northcote respectively, the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr. Emmanuel Kakavelakis, the Greek-Australian Federal Member of Parliament, Ms. Maria Vamvakinou MP, the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Mr. Bill Papastergiadis, the brother of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Nicholas Archontonis, and many clergy and faithful from the local Archdiocesan District.
The Archiepiscopal Vicar of Northcote, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, welcomed the Archbishop with a heartfelt address, while the Consul General Mr. Emmanuel Kakavelakis also addressed a warm greeting at the beginning of the service. Both speakers focused on the great challenges of the year 2024, which is the centenary celebrations of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, the reception of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew next October, as well as charting a course for an even brighter future.
Referring to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Holy Archdiocese, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, made a special introductory mention to the first Shepherd of the local Church, the late Metropolitan Christophoros of Australia and New Zealand. He was a learned Hierarch of the Ecumenical Throne, who took it upon himself to minister to the then newly founded Metropolis – essentially to build up the local Church, as the Archbishop observed.
“He spoke fluent English, he completed postgraduate and doctoral studies at the University of Oxford, while he was the first to translate the Service of the Consecration of a Church from Greek into English”, His Eminence noted, among other things, referring to the person and qualifications of his predecessor and the first Shepherd of the Orthodox Church in Australia.
Following this, the Archbishop remarked that the people of that time, both clergy and faithful, who formed the body of the newly founded Church of the fifth continent, were quite fortunate and blessed. He pointed out that the Christian plenitude of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia is just as fortunate and blessed today, who will be able to write the first pages of the history of the second centenary of the local Church.
“The history of the new centenary of our Archdiocese will be written by all of us together”, His Eminence underlined, while, at the same time, he urged everyone to actively participate in the celebrations that will take place during the current anniversary year, culminating in the reception of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who will honour and bless the Orthodox flock of Australia during his visit from 4 to 19 October 2024.
Concluding, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, after urging everyone to set as a goal for the new year, to communicate and connect more with Christ, warmly congratulated, and thanked Their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta for their exemplary ministry in Victoria.