With ecclesiastical splendour and in an atmosphere of spiritual joy and deep emotion, the consecration of the Holy Church of Saints Constantine and Helen took place on Saturday, June 24, in the suburb of South Yarra in Melbourne. The consecration was presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who then presided over the Divine Liturgy, joined also by the Archiepiscopal Vicars of Melbourne and Northcote, His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, as well as clergy of the two Archdiocesan Districts of Victoria.
The emotion of the participants in the consecration, clergy and faithful, was increased by the presence of the venerable priest, Father Dimitrios Papakyriakopoulos, who ministered for 39 consecutive years at the Parish of Saints Constantine and Helen. The venerable priest, whose priestly journey has been inextricably linked with the history of the Greek Orthodox community of South Yarra, Melbourne, received words of sincere thanks from His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, who recognised, on behalf of the local Church, the great contribution of Father Dimitrios and the great love, devotion and self-sacrifice with which he worked for the glory of Christ and the salvation of people.
“Especially the years when Fr. Dimitrios came, they were difficult years, with many anxieties and with many deprivations”, His Eminence observed and added: “A big “thank you” is the least one can say. Rightly so, today he is also very happy and moved, because he sees that all this effort has come to an end.” Finally, he wished God to bless Father Dimitrios and give him many more years, so that he may enjoy and be proud of the fruits of his labours.
At the same time, the Archbishop expressed his heartfelt thanks to all those who have over time contributed to the progress of the Parish. His Eminence thanked the visible and invisible benefactors, the living and the ones who have fallen asleep. And in addition, he praised the devotion and holy zeal of the current Parish Priest, Father Panteleimon Laskaris, for whom he discerned that he has proven to be a worthy successor of Fr. Dimitrios.
Furthermore, His Eminence emphasised that the historical event of the consecration of the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen, is an opportunity for the pious members of the Parish to renew themselves spiritually. “Today not only the church is being consecrated, but the entire Parish, the entire region, the entire nature”, he underlined. “For God’s grace is so intense,” he added, “that it overshadows everything, both visible and invisible, the perceptible and the imperceptible.” Concluding, Archbishop Makarios wished to the congregation: “May you have many years of life to come here to your church, to be sanctified and to become more spiritual. Come here to be saved. Because there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church.”