My dear children,
I am greatly alarmed to see tens of thousands of people facing a new ordeal because of an extreme weather event that has affected large swathes of New South Wales. An ordeal, which unfortunately is additional to other similar natural disasters that seem to be occurring with increasing frequency in our state and nation.
In these critical times and under the shadow of ongoing heavy rains, the primary concern of all of us must be the protection of human lives as well as limiting, as far as possible, the extent of material damage to households and public infrastructure. For this reason, our thoughts and prayers are with the frontline workers. I declare the undivided support of our Holy Archdiocese, and myself personally, for the officials and staff of the relevant state services and urge everyone to abide by the directives and instructions they issue.
To our brethren who are at the centre of the unfolding ordeal, I would like to express my sincere paternal concern and the support of my fellow bishops, the reverend clergy and all the faithful of our local Church, while assuring them that the Holy Archdiocese of Australia is and will remain by their side, helping them in their efforts to recover from the consequences of the current disaster. Moreover, I fervently ask that they remain unwavering in their faith in God and not lose hope in the face of adversity. Finally, I ask everyone to pray for our brothers and sisters and for our benevolent God to protect, strengthen and grant them His mercy.
In the future, it is imperative that we all be found wiser and more sober in relation to the management of the great challenge of our time, which is the respect and preservation of the natural environment. Especially us Orthodox Christians, who are blessed to have at the helm of our Mother Church the aptly characterised “Green Patriarch” His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, we must take the lead within Australian society in the field of ecological awareness and bring forth solutions that deal with the environmental crisis.
I paternally bless everyone and pray that our Panagia protects all those who are being tried and comforts those who are suffering.