“Orthodoxy is blessed to have such a charismatic person, to shine like a beacon for all to see and imitate the example of his sacrificial love”, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, underlines, among other things, referring to the person of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on the occasion of His Patronal Feast Day, which was celebrated with splendour at the Holy Church of Saint George, Brisbane.
On Sunday 11 June 2023, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, on the feast day of All Saints and Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, liturgised at the aforementioned Holy Church of Saint George, and was joined by His Grace Bishop Emilianos of Meloa, Archiepiscopal Vicar of Brisbane, and by many clergy of Queensland.
During his sermon, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios spoke with much emotion and filial love for His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, noting that he faithfully follows the steps of the Holy Fathers of our Church and daily bears witness to Christ, for the glory of God and the salvation of people. He referred to the more than thirty years during which he has graced the Ecumenical Throne, while recalling the promise he had made during His enthronement, in November 1991, that he would carry on his shoulders the cross of Saint Andrew the First-called Apostle. “And indeed, he teaches us by the example of his life, as he silently lifts the cross of Saint Andrew and demonstrates what it means to remain steadfast and faithful to Christ,” the Archbishop pointed out.
Concluding his address with regards to the person of the Patriarch, he emphasised that His name day feast is a day of joy for the entire Holy Archdiocese of Australia, expressing at the same time the gratitude of the local Church to the Primate of Orthodoxy and the heartfelt wishes of its Christian community. “We thank God from the bottom of our hearts for the blessing of the presence of our Spiritual Father and Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, praying that he will be well for many years, so that he may rightly teach the word of truth,” he concluded.
At the same time, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios spoke to the congregation about the feast of All Saints, which, as he pointed out, has been placed by our Church on the first Sunday after Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. And this, because in this way it is demonstrated that “with the power of the Holy Spirit we can become “partakers of the divine nature””. Next, he noted that the Saints and Martyrs of our Church emptied themselves to embrace the power of the Holy Spirit, so deeply that they agreed to remain faithful to Christ despite strong temptations pushing them to do the opposite.
“Don’t imagine that it was easier for them to take up their crosses than it is for us,” he emphasised, explaining that every Christian can approach holiness, as long as he puts his faith in Christ as the main priority . “Even if we are not called to literally shed our blood for Christ, we must nevertheless pursue a living martyrdom, that is, reject the denial of the Saviour and set before Him a boundless love for all. This means taking up our cross and following Him faithfully, resisting to the death what prevented us from being united with Christ.”