His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, on Sunday, 20 November 2022, visited and liturised at the Holy Church of Saint Stylianos, in Gymea, Sydney.
His Eminence had the opportunity to communicate with the faithful and address them with his paternal wishes ahead of the feast of the patron saint of their parish, on November 26, a day in which His Eminence will be in Adelaide, as part of his pastoral visit to South Australia. To the Proistamenos of the Parish, Father Constantine Varipatis, he wished good success in the organisation of the Parish Feast Day and to the numerous congregation, which participated in the Divine Liturgy, to have the abundant blessing of Saint Stylianos.
Earlier, during his homily, Archbishop Makarios analysed the Gospel passage of the day, the parable of the foolish rich man, which touches on a worldly and an existential issue – wealth and death, respectively.
As His Eminence explained, a person who has accumulated wealth should not be attached to material goods and should not make the preservation of this wealth the priority of his life. Similarly, he pointed out, not only the rich, but also those with few possessions, should have the freedom and comfort to be able to lose or abandon them at any time. He reminded, moreover, that at some point this loss will occur for all of us, with death, adding characteristically that “when a man dies, he leaves alone, naked, without possessions. There are no burial shrouds that have pockets. All materials belong to this world and everything remains in this world.”
Afterwards, Archbishop Makarios of Australia focused on the issue of death, one of the fundamental issues of the Orthodox faith, as he underlined. Pointing out that real life begins after death, he observed that “if one does not believe in life after death, it means that one cannot believe and follow Christ.” He discerned that a phenomenon of today’s secularised society is that religion is not rejected, but that it is treated as a force of balance and unity, as an aspect of a people’s culture, history or national identity – however, without God.
After emphasising that belief in life after death is a pivotal point for unwavering faith in Christ, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios concluded his sermon with the following message to the congregation: “I won’t tell you not to become rich. But I will tell you not to become attached to material goods. Don’t let material goods determine the course of your life. Be free. You have what you have, but don’t be disappointed and depressed if you lose everything. Because above all we have Christ. And Christ is the great asset of our life.”