“Our holy Church ministers to the human being to save them from the state of sin, to reconcile them with God, to show them that there is a different path that does not end in the grave and loss, but in life and Resurrection. And this is exactly what the priest must do, he is to live constantly within the perspective of the Resurrection and to invite the faithful to live this joy of the Resurrection, despite the difficulties and problems of this life. And this joy of the Resurrection we foretaste, precisely, in the Mystery of the Eucharist”.
The above was emphasised by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia during the ordination of a new Presbyter, which he conducted on Saturday, June 10, at the Holy Church of the Dormition of Our Lady in Mount Gravatt, Brisbane, with the participation of many clergy from Queensland and with the presence of His Grace Bishop Emilianos of Meloa, Archiepiscopal Vicar of Brisbane.
It is noted that the ordained, Father Panagiotis Simos, is a Physician – General Pathologist at the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital in Brisbane.
Presenting himself before his Shepherd and being moved with great emotion, he first thanked His Eminence Archbishop Makarios for the enormous honour he had reserved for him, declaring that “you inspire me to continue my life as a witness of Divine Grace, to serve Christ and the salvation of every believer”. In addition, he expressed his gratitude to the Archbishop for the paternal warmth, understanding, trust and love he provides. “Your generous heart which ministers with utmost love, self-emptying and self-sacrifice for our salvation,” he pointed out, “is experienced by all our clergy here in Queensland. For this reason, with hope and deep faith, I also humbly follow you, so that we can cultivate the vineyard of Christ”.
In his Address to the ordinand, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios emphasised to Fr. Panagiotis that the Church calls him to become a doctor of bodies, a doctor of souls. And this he will accomplish by celebrating the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist, through which he will transmit to the faithful the Bread of life. “This is the work of the priest”, he pointed out to him, “to feed the people of God with the holy Body of the Lord and with His Precious Blood. May you never forget that all the other things are secondary and unimportant and nonessential.”
The Archbishop congratulated the ordained priest for his excellent ministry to date and for his ecclesiastical ethos, stressing that all this “fills us with optimism and certainty that, with the same self-sacrifice and devotion, you will walk the truly difficult and uphill road of priesthood”. In the difficulties he will encounter, he urged him to resort to prayer, while towards the people he will minister to, he urged him to act with mercy and acceptance, not with hard-heartedness. “Hardness of heart leads to apostasy from God. Always be good-natured, as you are until today, and the God of love will always bless your life and your priestly ministry”, His Eminence pointed out to Father Panagiotis. Concluding, His Eminence declared that he was convinced that the new Priest would be worthy of the expectations of the Church and of himself as its Shepherd.