On the Sunday of the Paralytic, 7 May 2023, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who was conducting a pastoral visit to Victoria, visited and officiated at the Holy Church of Saints Anargiri, in the suburb of Oakleigh, Melbourne, where he conducted the ordination of Deacon Dimitrios Katopodis as Presbyter. Present also were their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, the President of the Parish-Community of Saints Anargiri, Mr. Christos Damatopoulos and all the members of the Parish-Community Council.
In a crowded congregation, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, first, referred to the miracle of the healing of the paralytic by Christ, one of the events, as he pointed out, that certify and confirm the fact of the Lord’s Resurrection. “The Resurrection is the catalytic event from which the possibility of healing human nature and therefore Salvation in Christ emanates”, he underlined, to then point out that “our Church is the spiritual hospital that works on the possibility of human healing, not of course in a biological and therefore temporal horizon, but in the perspective of eternity, which is given to us because of the Resurrection”.
Addressing the ordained deacon, the Archbishop emphasised to him that, accepting the ministry of priesthood, “you too are called to work in this great spiritual Hospital that is our Church, but where we are not called to cure physical disease, but to do something much deeper and more substantial, since disease and death are the symptoms.” “The cause is sin, alienation, our separation from God in the final analysis”, he pointed out, clarifying that this admission “in no way means that a person is sick because he carries a personal sin. A man falls ill because our nature, due to man’s apostasy, is in a state of decay.”
In conclusion, he discerned that the priesthood involves a healing dimension and the priest is a spiritual doctor, because he reconciles man with God. And this, as he explained, the priest achieves not with his personal grace and merit, but “because on the holy Altar he performs the bloodless sacrifice and “prepares” the medicine of immortality, the Bread of life, which is “the antidote so that you do not die, but remain alive in Jesus Christ forever”, according to the god-bearing Saint Ignatius, and offers it to people so that they may live in eternity”.
Noting the unconsidered majesty of this gift and by extension the great weight of the responsibility that a priest assumes, His Eminence implored the new Priest to remain humble in his ministry, to see it bear rich and blessed fruits. “Because the Lord gives his grace to the humble”, he emphasised, recognising that Father Dimitrios has worked with zeal and willingness in the Church, serving the sacred chanters stand with love and harmony with his brothers. Now assuming higher duties and responsibilities, he paternally exhorted him to pass through that which is of the Church and the priesthood with the fear of God, to continue to be gracious and kind and to multiply the gifts with which God has endowed him for the sake of his brothers and sisters.
For his part, the new Priest, Father Dimitrios referred to the ministry of priesthood and expressed the difficulty he has in accepting the great gift that God has given him in his life. “I wish to thank His Eminence our Archbishop and Pastor, who from the first moment he arrived in Australia breathed new life into our Archdiocese and proclaimed love. Everyone talks about the rich love you show everywhere and this way of life, I want to follow this way of life in my new priestly path”, he pointed out.
At the end of the ordination, the acclamation “Worthy” was loudly heard, while after the Dismissal of the Divine Liturgy the new Priest received the heartfelt wishes and congratulations of his Shepherd, the Bishops and clergy present and the entire congregation.