Agia Triada 10

Archbishop Makarios of Australia: “History has shown us that we progress with unity and love”

Agia Triada 10

Having regained its former prestige and glory, following extensive restoration and renovation work, Sydney’s historic Church of the Holy Trinity, the oldest Greek Orthodox church in the Antipodes and in the southern hemisphere as a whole, reopened its doors on the Sunday of the Samaritan woman, 2 June 2024, to welcome a multitude of devout Christians, led by their Chief Shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

In an atmosphere of indescribable joy and intense emotion, His Eminence performed the Service of Inauguration (Thyranoixia), and then presided over the Poly-Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, co-celebrated by Their Graces, Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis and Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea. Among the large congregation were the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr. Yannis Mallikourtis, the Secretary of the Archdiocesan Council and Secretary of the Consolidated Trust of the Holy Archdiocese, Mr. Nick Pappas, and of course the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales, to which the Church of the Holy Trinity belongs, led by its President Mr. Harry Danalis.

Possessing great emotion, as when the threshold of the Holy Trinity was first crossed, in June 2020, ushering in a new era in the relations of the local Church with the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, Archbishop Makarios of Australia delivered a warm greeting at the end of the Divine Liturgy and called everyone to vigilance for the preservation of unity in the Church Body and within the Greek Community.

“We praise God who has made us worthy, after the renovation of this very historic church, to celebrate the inauguration and to hand it over again to the worship and prayer of the people,” His Eminence noted and added: “We praise God with much emotion and bringing to our thoughts the many and historical moments related to this sacred space, moments of glory and infamy. Moments that make us all reflect and appreciate what we live today, which is the unity of Hellenism and the unity of the Church. I say this because the history of the Greeks has shown that we progress with unity and with love.”

His Eminence emphasised that history has also shown that unity is not a given. “It is a conquest, for which we must constantly strive,” he underlined. “Because there is also the devil,” he continued, “and at any moment selfishness, envy, ambition may take root in the souls of people and break the unity between them. So, I praise God that today we celebrate the Divine Liturgy united and strong. And so, united and strong, let’s move forward for the glory of Christ, of faith, and the nation”.

Furthermore, giving a brief historical review, the Archbishop explained that the Greek race does not adhere to quarrels and conflicts, while its primary need throughout time has been the search for the truth. This need connected the course of Hellenism with that of the Orthodox Church, whose purpose is “to give people the Gospel and take them all by the hand, to lead them to Christ”.

Concluding, Archbishop Makarios congratulated and thanked Mr. Harry Danalis, as well as his colleagues on the Board of Directors of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, on the one hand for the care they showed for the renovation of the historic church of the Holy Trinity, and on the other hand for the spirit of cooperation and unity which they posses. “In this spirit go forth and let us go forward,” he urged, “for neither you go forward alone, nor we alone. We are all moving together on the same path, which is the path of love and unity.”

In response to His Eminence, Mr. Danalis spoke of a historic day for the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales, recalling, among other things, that the start of reconstruction of the Holy Church of the Holy Trinity, in the year 1898, coincides with the founding of the Community and with the starting point of its historical journey. It was mentioned, also, in the difficulties of the renovation project, while he warmly thanked His Eminence for the excellent, as he emphasised, cooperation between them. “It is a fact that since you came, Your Eminence, there has been another relationship, more substantial and real. Our cooperation is excellent and that is why we pray that God will grant you long days on the throne of the Archdiocese of Australia to lead the Church with a spirit of love and unity as you do”, he said.

Finally, the Consul General Mr. Mallikourtis also addressed the congregation, and stated that he was happy and moved with emotion for his presence in the historic church of the Holy Trinity, while he praised the unifying spirit of the Archbishop of Australia. “The words of His Eminence are a practical, tangible proof of the importance of unity and unity,” he underlined and added: “The truth is that I am very lucky that my tenure goes hand in hand with this climate of unity and harmony within the Community. I also thank the President of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW for everything he is doing for unity and solidarity, because, as His Eminence said, we cannot move forward, we cannot achieve anything without being united and standing together.” Mr. Mallikourtis concluded his address by congratulating the Community and the Restoration Committee of the church, for the efforts they made for the success of the project.

An official meal followed the Divine Liturgy, during which His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia congratulated and thanked the Parish Priest of the Church, Fr. Thomas Giantzis, for his pleasing and ecclesiastical ministry and contribution.

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