His Eminence Metropolitan Andrew of the Forty Churches, who will attend and speak at the first National Clergy Synaxis (18-19 October 2022), representing His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, arrived in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, the 14th of October.
The Hierarch of the Ecumenical Throne was personally welcomed at the airport by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia. During the reception, the Archbishop was accompanied by Their Graces Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, Christodoulos of Magnesia and Bartholomew of Charioupolis; the Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese, the Very Reverend Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne, Christophoros Krikelis; clergy working in the offices of the Holy Archdiocese as well as other priests. Also present were members of the Greek Orthodox Christian Society, representatives from the Greek Welfare Centre led by the Director, Mr Steve Magdas and members of the faithful.
Everyone then went to the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, where His Eminence Archbishop Makarios officially welcomed Metropolitan Andrew of the Forty Churches in the presence of clergy, and all the staff of the Holy Archdiocese and St Andrew’s Theological College. The Archbishop cordially addressed the distinguished guest, expressing everyone’s joy and emotion for his visit to the fifth continent and for his participation in the upcoming National Clergy Synaxis. Referring to His Eminence Andrew with fraternal and flattering remarks, he first recalled his lengthy and productive ministry at the Patriarchate, where he served in many executive positions, as well as his subsequent fruitful hierarchical career and pointed out that it is now widely acknowledged, both inside and outside the Patriarchate that “with his election as Metropolitan of the Forty Churches, the spirit of the old Phanariot hierarchs is being resurrected”. It was, therefore, a great honour and a blessing for the local Church of Australia that His All-Holiness our Patriarch selected one of the chosen Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne to represent Him in the great and historic event of the first National Clergy Synaxis.
In conclusion, the Archbishop of Australia hoped for God to bless the hierarchical ministry of the Metropolitan of the Forty Churches and also that his stay in the fifth continent would be a pleasant and beneficial spiritual experience for him.
In response, His Eminence Andrew spoke with equally heartfelt words and visibly moved stressed that he accepted with great joy the proposition of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew to participate as His representative in the National Clergy Synaxis. He explained that the first reason for this was because he expects to gain valuable experiences from his acquaintance and meetings with the faithful of Australia; the great ecclesiastical province of the Ecumenical Throne.
And his second reason was the fact that “my beloved Archbishop of Australia has the blessing to shepherd this Exarchate. I have known him for about twenty years and we have gone through a lot in life. I appreciated his gifts from the very beginning – his erudition, his piety, his sound judgement in ecclesiastical matters – and I was very happy when the Church elevated him, by the grace of God, to the throne of this renowned province.” Concluding his talk, the Metropolitan of the Forty Churches expressed his love, appreciation and support for Archbishop Makarios, assuring that they will always be bound by brotherly friendship.
Finally, still visibly moved, His Eminence Andrew thanked and blessed all those who attended his warm welcome at the airport and at the Cathedral, characteristically declaring that, “I have come to such a far place, but I feel like I am in the Patriarchate”. He added that this is because the Mother Church is like a tree with roots, trunk and branches and each ecclesiastical province is an extension of this. “Besides, what connects us is a holy connection; our connection in Christ and the love between us,” he noted in closing.