“Be inspired by the life of the Virgin Mary, and allow Her example of faith and devotion to guide you on your personal journey.” This was the paternal wish and request addressed by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia to the students of Oakleigh Grammar School, Melbourne.
His Eminence visited the Greek Orthodox school, in the suburb of Oakleigh, on Friday, 11 August 2023, and chanted the Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos at the Church of Saints Anargiri, joined by His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Archiepiscopal Vicar of Melbourne, as well as Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne Christophoros Krikelis, Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, and by many clergymen of the city of Melbourne. The Principal of the school, Mr. Mark Robertson, the teachers, the student community and many parents were also present for the Supplicatory Service.
Full of joy and moved by his presence among the youth of the Omogenia, who reverently honour the sacred traditions of their ancestors, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia at the end of the Supplicatory Canon offered a warm paternal greeting, full of messages of spiritual benefit and edification, and above all of optimism and hope.
He first recalled that the Dormition of the Theotokos is not a source of sorrow, but a source of great joy and rejoicing, as Her translation to the heavens did not separate Her from the world but made Her a mediator between people and God. “The Virgin Mary is still with us”, His Eminence underlined, and pointed out: “As the mother of the living God, as She who conceived the creator of the world, Her holy body could not be subject to the laws of decay and decomposition.
God could not allow this to happen and so He took Her to himself, with Her body, as she passed from earth to heaven where she remains alive. As the living mother of God, she dwells among us and cares for each of her precious children, as a loving mother cares for all her children.”
Then, the Archbishop explained that the holy days we are observing, culminating in the great Feast of the Mother of God on the Fifteenth of August, offer an ideal opportunity to reflect on the role of the Virgin Mary in our lives. “She is a beacon of inspiration and a supreme role model for all Orthodox Christians, especially for you, the youth,” he underlined, noting Her unwavering faith, absolute selflessness and unreserved obedience to God’s will.
Paternally imploring the students to imitate the above virtues of the Most Holy Theotokos, he also urged them to keep her in their minds, hearts and lips, to share with Her all their thoughts and feelings, worries and joys, trials and achievements, hopes and expectations. “I can guarantee you that when you do this, you will find that you will draw even closer to Her and your love for Her will constantly increase and multiply,” he concluded.