His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia urged the faithful of the Parish of Saint Stylianos, in the Gymea area of Sydney, that they should try to imitate the Patron Saint of their Parish and to conduct their lives “in piety and righteousness”.
His Eminence visited the celebrating Parish on Saturday afternoon, 25 November 2023, on the eve of the feast of Saint Stylianos of Paphlagonia, and officiated at the Great Feast Day Vespers, joined by His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, the Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese, Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne Christophoros Krikelis, and other clergymen of the local Church, including the Parish Priest of the celebrating Church, Father Constantine Varipatis.
At the end of the Vespers Service, the Archbishop referred to the virtues that graced Saint Stylianos, distinguishing that he conducted his life “in piety and righteousness”. “Piety concerns man’s relationship with God,” he explained and continued: “It means that I harmonise my life with the teachings of the Gospel and the Fathers of our Church, and with the tradition of the Church. The person who walks in piety, adheres their life to the Church. Not only do they come to Church. Because there are many who come to the Church but their life is not ecclesiastical. The person who adheres their life to the church follows God’s commandments and his relationship with God is honest and sincere.”
While the concept of piety has reference to man’s relationship with God, the concept of righteousness concerns our attitude and behaviour towards our fellow men. “One cannot be saved with God alone, nor with man alone and without God,” His Eminence reminded. He explained that the concept of righteousness is related to the way we judge our neighbour and pointed out that this should be in line with the way God judges people. “Humankind’s judgment is often based on worldly criteria and laws of law,” he observed, emphatically countering that “God’s judgment is based on love.”
The Archbishop was first welcomed by the Parish Priest Father Constantine Varipatis, addressing him with warm words of love and respect on behalf of the Parish Council, the Philoptochos Association, the Youth and all the faithful of the Parish of Saint Stylianos. Also, representatives of the Youth of the Parish offered their Shepherd a symbolic gift, as a token of thanks for the visit and his constant paternal care and affection. His Eminence reciprocated with wholehearted wishes to everyone, while he expressed his paternal satisfaction for the lively presence of young people at the Feast Day Vespers, as well as for the importance that the Parish of Saint Stylianos attaches to the care, support and spiritual progress of its Youth.