With feelings of religious reverence and deep emotion, the Greek Orthodox Christians of the fifth continent flocked by the thousands on Good Friday to the local Holy Churches of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, to venerate the flower-adorned Epitaphios and to sing in an overwhelming atmosphere the Praises: “Life in the grave…”, “All generations offer…”, “O my refreshing springtime…”.
In the “Greek-prestigious” Melbourne, where the faithful had the pleasure of welcoming their Shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, the focus of the devotional services of Great and Holy Friday was found at the Holy Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, in the suburb of Thomastown. The Archbishop officiated at the Service of the Epitaphios, while he led the Epitaphios’ procession through the streets of Thomastown, joined also by Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis, His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, and the holy Clergy, with the attendance of about 10,000 devout believers.
At the end of the Matins of Great and Holy Saturday, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios addressed the crowded congregation with emotion, sending a message of hope and encouragement in view of the Resurrection of the God-Man. “Don’t forget that in order to reach Holy Saturday and say “Christ is Risen”, we have to go through Holy Thursday and Holy Friday,” he underlined and added: “There is no Resurrection without crucifixion. Keep this in mind and never lose your hope, never lose your courage, never lose your faith. This is what we Orthodox Greeks are. We have faith in God and we have Christ before us. We follow him and from him we get strength to face the difficulties of everyday life”.
Concluding his address, Archbishop Makarios implored the Greeks of Melbourne to preserve the faith, customs and traditions of their ancestors, pointing out with emphasis: “Do not forget that we are Greek Orthodox Christians and we should keep this not only for ourselves, but to bequeath it and pass it on as a precious legacy to our children.” Finally, he wished everyone a happy and blessed Resurrection.