The commemoration of St Savvas the New of Kalymnos was celebrated with ecclesiastical splendour in the Ukrainian Parish-Community dedicated to his honour in the Sydney suburb of Banksia. The celebrations were presided by His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, who represented His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.
On the eve of the feast, Saturday, 1 April, His Grace officiated at festive Great Vespers, while on the morning of the feastday, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, he officiated at Matins and served the Divine Liturgy. Many priests of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, from all over Sydney, participated in the liturgical events including Parish Priest, Fr Savvas Pizania and Assistant Priest, Fr Edward Waters.
Warmly welcoming His Grace, Parish Priest Fr Savvas first expressed the great joy of the members of the Ukrainian Parish-Community of Banksia for the fact that they were counted worthy to celebrate the memory of their patron saint under the auspices of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia. He also mentioned their great gratitude to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Makarios of Australia for their constant paternal care and support.
During his sermon, His Grace outlined the life of St Savvas the New, focusing among other things on his fervent faith, which makes him an example for modern Christians to emulate. “St Savvas teaches us to have more fervent faith and to strive to overcome our will”, he said, “so that we can relish our complete obedience to God”. “It is only then that a person is happy,” he added, “when they no longer do their own will but God’s will. And this is because they become aware that God blesses them, supports them, sanctifies them and saves them”.
Moreover, His Grace urged the faithful to regularly read the Holy Bible, which is the Word of God, as well as the lives of the saints of our Church. “Daily receive spiritual food from the Word of God”, he emphasised, “because the Word of God forms, transforms and sanctifies a person”. “The same thing happens when reading the lives of the saints”, he added, “because we take on board their example and are inspired to strive harder in our spiritual struggle”.
Speaking to the congregation at the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Grace also referred to the life of St Mary of Egypt, whom our Church also honours on the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent. This saint is a model of repentance, he pointed out, because while she lived an immoral life, she later repented, embraced Christ and followed a strict ascetic life in the desert. He, therefore, urged the faithful to take courage from the two honoured saints and to aim to live in repentance with a lot of love for Christ, for His Church and for their fellow human beings.
In conclusion, His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis conveyed to everyone the love of their Shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, as well as his heartfelt wishes for the remainder of Great Lent and for a blessed Pascha.