The Great Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ the Saviour was celebrated with religious splendour in the Archdiocesan District of Northcote, Victoria. The centre of the feast day celebration was the Parish of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in the suburb of Thomastown in Melbourne. The Divine Services were presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who at this time is in Victoria in order to celebrate the holy days of the period of the Dormition Fast with the Greek Orthodox flock of the State and especially with the Greek Omogenia of Melbourne.
Both during the Great Vespers, which were celebrated on Saturday, 5 August 2023, the eve of the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, and during the Festive Matins and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, on the feast day, Sunday, 6 August 2023, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia was joined by Their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, Archiepiscopal Vicars of Melbourne and Northcote Districts respectively, as well as by many priests from the two Archdiocesan Districts. Numerous believers attended the church services on both days, while present with the many faithful were, among others, the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr. Emmanuel Kakavelakis, and the President of the Intercommunities Council of Victoria, Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis.
In his homily, Archbishop Makarios presented to the congregation, and theologically analysed many aspects of the event of the Divine Transfiguration, which took place on Mount Tabor before the disciples Peter, John and James. Among other things, His Eminence explained that the Transfiguration of Christ took place forty days before His Crucifixion, in order to strengthen the Disciples’ faith that He was the Son and Word of God, in light of the Divine Passion that would follow and of which they would become witnesses.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia emphasised the ‘divine intoxication’ of the Disciples caused by the divine radiation of the Lord and the transfiguration of all Creation around Him, with the consequence that they asked Him to remain there. Then, Archbishop Makarios wished the faithful to experience the event of the Transfiguration in a similar way in their hearts and for the light of Christ to shine within them. But His Eminence was quick to draw a distinction between the concepts of “transformation” and “deformation,” which he noted causes confusion in modern times. “Transformation is one thing and deformation is another.
Transformation means that I become better, that I ascend a few steps higher, that from human I become divine”, he underlined and added: “Deformation means that I have gone downhill, that I have succumb to a moral tumble. And unfortunately, we live in such a time. However, the Church comes to speak to us about real transformation. Change which is based on truth, based on light and not darkness, which takes the human person and makes them brand new, and renews them and shows them the uncreated light, the light which you do not see with the eyes of the body, but feel with the eyes of the soul.”
His Eminence then urged and requested of the faithful to take even small steps towards good and not towards negative changes, towards transformation and not towards deformation. His Eminence pointed out Father George Frangos, Parish Priest of the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Thomastown, as an example to follow, who at the conclusion of the festive Divine Liturgy received the office of Protopresbyter of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
This is the highest office (award) which can be bestowed upon a married clergyman, in recognition of his contribution to the Church and his spiritual formation and progress. His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia indeed recognised the merit and spiritual wealth of Fr. George, speaking of a clergyman who ministers with a lot of love, self-sacrifice, hard work, obedience to the Church and his Archbishop, embodies a spirit of cooperation with everyone and, above all, an enviable ecclesiastical attitude.
For his part, the honoured clergyman thanked His Eminence Archbishop Makarios with great filial emotion, while pointing out that “from the beginning when you came to Australia, you became a role model for all of us and we, as your spiritual children in the Parish, try to continue and emulate this”. “I hope you feel all of our love for you”, he added and finally wished for his Shepherd that God would grant him a long life, so that he may continue for many more years to support and guide the Clergy and the Christ-loving plenitude of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.