Majestic Procession of the Epitaphios in Melbourne led by Archbishop Makarios of Australia


“The life in the grave”, “All generations offer, these hymns”, “O my sweetest Child”… The moving Lamentation Hymns were chanted “with one mouth and one heart” by thousands, of not only Greeks, but many Orthodox faithful of Melbourne.

The centre of the sacred services of Great and Holy Friday in the “Greek” Australian metropolis of Melbourne, was the Church of the Presentation Our Lady to the Temple, where His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia presided over the Service of the Epitaphios and the Lamentations.

At the end of the Service, the procession of the flower-adorned Epitaphios took place through the main streets of the suburb of North Balwyn. The procession was led by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, and he was joined by His Eminence Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis, Their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta and Bishop Themistocles of Nicopolis (from the Patriarchate of Alexandria), the Clergy of the Archdiocesan Districts of Melbourne and Northcote, and by large crowds of reverent believers, among whom was the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr. Emmanuel Kakavelakis, and the President of the Intercommunities Council of Victoria, Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis.

After the return of the Epitaphios to the church, the Archbishop appropriately spoke about the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, while he offered an optimistic message to the faithful, presenting the example of the grateful thief, who showed repentance at least at the last moment (“Remember me, Lord, when you come in Your Kingdom”) and became the first inhabitant of Paradise.

“I would like us all to follow this thief, not in his earlier life, but by imitating this moment of his life, which was the real moment, the moment that defined his entire existence”, pointed out His Eminence and added: “I do not know when that moment will come for each of us. But we must be ready and receptive, so that when this moment comes we too can say, with all our hearts and minds, “Remember me, Lord!”

Concluding, Archbishop Makarios congratulated the Parish Priest Fr. Nicholas Georgiou and all his co-workers at the Parish of the Presentation Our Lady to the Temple for the wonderful work they do. His Eminence also expressed his paternal satisfaction for the spirit of unity and love they possess. “Stay like this, so that you may all work together for the glory of Christ, the Faith and our Nation”, he urged them in closing and addressed to all of them heartfelt paternal wishes for a blessed feast of the Resurrection.

Father Nicholas, for his part, thanked His Eminence for his visit to the Parish and for his officiating at the Service of the Lamentations, while conveying the warm filial wishes of the members of the Parish Council, the Philoptochos Association and all the parishioners, for the imminent completion of five years (May 9) since his election as Chief Shepherd of the Church of the fifth continent. “May our good God always be near you,” he wished, among other things, “and strengthen you, so that you may continue to lead us to Him.”

It is noted that on the afternoon of Great and Holy Friday, His Eminence officiated at the Service of taking Christ down from the Cross (Apokathilosis), at the Church of the Presentation of Our Lord, in Coburg, Melbourne.

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