On the First Sunday of Luke, September 25, the faithful members of the Greek Orthodox Parish – Community of Mentone and Districts, in the Greek city of Melbourne, welcomed with feelings of joy and deep emotion their Shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop makarios of Australia, in their most beautiful Church, which is dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.
It was a blessed and historic day for the Parish-Community of Mentone, as the first official visit of Archbishop Makarios of Australia was combined with the celebration of the Thyranoixia (Official Opening) of the recently renovated Holy Church of the Archangels. His Eminence was accompanied by their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, while present, among others, at the service were the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr. Emmanuel Kakavelakis, the Mayor of Kingston, Mr. Steve Staikos, the President of the Intercommunity Council of Victoria, Mr. Antonios Tsourdalakis, the President of the Parish – Community of Mentone, Mr. Christos Tourlos, and the brother of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Nikolaos Archontonis.
During the blessing service of the official opening (Thyranoixia), the Archbishop tonsured as Protopresbyter, Father Ioannis Kouyioumztis who has been the Proistamenos of the Church for a number of years, who worked tirelessly, until his retirement, for the spiritual and material progress of the Parish – Community. His Eminence Archbishop Makarios addressed Father Ioannis many words of gratitude, both for his contribution to the work of building the Holy Church, and for his more general contribution to the spiritual building and salvation of the souls of the faithful of the Parish.
“The Holy Archdiocese of Australia congratulates and thanks you”, he pointed out characteristically addressing the honored cleric, while he wholeheartedly wished him to have many more years of life, so that he may be blessed to take pride in the fruits of his labors: “To see your own work going forward and progressing, and to see your own spiritual children coming here to the church of the Archangels, to receive communion, to be blessed, to be sanctified, to be baptised, to be married, and feel proud of what you have offered for so many years to the Holy Archdiocese of Australia and to the local community of Mentone”.
Furthermore, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios thanked all those who over time contributed to the development of the Parish-Community, wishing God to bless and reward them both in this life and in the life to come. He did not fail to mention the person of the new Proistamenos, Fr. Panagiotis Zoumboulis, speaking of a worthy cleric, who possesses many gifts and qualifications, guarantees for a blessed and fruitful ministry.
Concluding, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios spoke to the crowded congregation about the event of the Synaxis of the Archangels and the other Incorporeal and Heavenly Angelic Orders. After describing the fall of Lucifer, due to his selfishness, which drove him to think that he could overcome God, he recalled the phrase exclaimed by the Archangel Michael: “Let us Stand well, Let us stand with fear.” Repeating this phrase, he asked everyone to rise to the occasion as Orthodox Christians and as Greeks, keeping and respecting the traditions, principles and values of the Faith and our Nations. “Have hope that God is always near us, that He will bless and direct our steps and that He, with the intercessions of the Theotokos and the Holy Archangels, will help us to overcome the difficulties of life”, he urged the faithful , concluding his speech.
And also importantly, on behalf of the entire Parish-Community, Fr. Panagiotis Zoumboulis welcomed His Eminence Archbishop Makarios with warm words and, as a sign of filial love and gratitude, presented him with a hand-made Epigonation, which depicts Jesus Christ and the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.
During his address, Fr. Panagiotis referred to the blessed event of the celebration of Thyranoixia (Official opening of the Church), speaking of the culmination of decades of effort. “The grace of God, our Virgin Mary and the Holy Archangels, the sacrifice of God’s blessed people and the collective struggle to overcome many difficulties”, he noted, “we have been led today to the point where we are all here rejoicing in a Holy Church that is truly beautiful.”
Addressing His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, He conveyed the joy and emotion of all the parishioners and the sense of spiritual fullness brought about by the presence of their Spiritual Father in the joyous ceremony of the Thyranoixia of their renovated Church. “You came to bless everyone’s work, so that together, supporting each other, we can try to live in Christ and in the love of Christ”, He noted characteristically, asking of the Archbishop to remember in his prayers the faithful of the Parish-Community of Mentone.