“Never think that you will manage the judgment of God”, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia paternally advised Deacon Phillip Papagiannopoulos, during his ordination to the Priesthood, which took place on Sunday, 13 August 2023, at the Archdiocesan Church of “Axion Esti”, in Northcote, Melbourne.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios officiated earlier on at the Matins and then presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, joined by Their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, Archiepiscopal Vicars of Melbourne and Northcote respectively, and by clergy of the two Archdiocesan Districts of Victoria.
Among the large congregation 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. There were also relatives and friends of the ordinand, as well as his wife, Magdalene, who, overwhelmed by feelings of joy, emotion and pride, saw their loved one come humbly before his Shepherd to receive the second degree of priesthood.
Prior to the ordination, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios addressed words of spiritual edification to the ordinand, first instructing him not to keep the most precious treasure of the priesthood for himself, but to cultivate it and increase it and offer it with much love and sacrificial spirit to the people of the Church. “Because with the gifts that the Lord gives us, when we do not bury them in the earth, that is, in our self-satisfied disposition and selfishness, but we share them with our brothers and sisters, then our reward is great in heaven”, he pointed out to him.
Then, filled with emotion, the Archbishop made a personal confession, sharing with the faithful the feelings he experiences every time he welcomes a new member into the priestly family of the Orthodox Church. “Every time I conduct an ordination, my heart beats with holy awe before the sacrament taking place,” he noted and added: “I am possessed by anguish that I may not be seen as a worthy Spiritual Father and Archbishop of the new clergyman. But at the same time, I also feel the enormous responsibility for the person entering the priesthood, if in the end he will serve the Church and God worthily”.
However, His Eminence hastened to point out that “regarding this last point, today I am particularly at peace and calm as I have good hopes that Deacon Phillip who is dear to all of us, will prove himself worthy of this calling of Christ and will emerge as a good and virtuous steward of Christ’s sacraments. And I say this with frankness before Christ, because until this day he serves our Church with self-denial, with prudence, with devotion and above all with obedience, in an time of disobedience and disorder, where unfortunately the institutions of our Church are being questioned and attempts are being made to overthrow them”.
Concluding, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios reiterated his trust in the person of the new Presbyter, who will henceforth minister at the Archdiocesan Church in Northcote, assisting His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta. “This is an additional gift from God, to have your Spiritual Father and Geronda close to you, who will surely protect you from many temptations”, he emphasised to Fr. Phillip, while on this occasion he publicly thanked His Grace Bishop Evmenios for his valuable contribution to the local Church.