“The passport for our transition from the present to the eternal life will be stamped by our neighbour!” This was conveyed by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia to the new Presbyter of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Father Dimitrios Drougas.
Father Dimitrios, who was ordained a Deacon on the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, exactly two months ago, appeared again before his Chief Shepherd, to receive the second level of priesthood. His ordination took place on Sunday, 21 January 2024, at the Church of Saint Eustathios in Melbourne, during the Poly-Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in memory of Saint Maximus the Confessor.
Along with his paternal wishes, Archbishop Makarios addressed to the new presbyter spiritual advice and admonitions for his later life and his priestly ministry. First of all, analysing the Gospel passage of the day, in which the healing of the ten lepers by Christ is presented, His Eminence urged Father Dimitrios to walk always with gratitude towards the Lord and His Church, for all the bestowals and favourable deeds he has received and will receive in his life.
He then underlined that the loving relationship of every Christian with their neighbour – “philanthropy”, as defined by Saint Maximus the Confessor – constitutes a basic condition for the acquisition of holiness and their salvation. As he explained, “philanthropy” according to Saint Maximus, is not exclusively related to almsgiving and the provision of material goods to our fellow human beings, as it is mistakenly perceived in our time. “A philanthropist is one who has compassionate and philanthropic feelings for their neighbour, who has a philanthropic heart,” he underlined.
“He is not one who is hard-hearted,” he countered, “and judges, finds faults, and criticises others.” “God hates the hardness of hearts”, the Archbishop characteristically pointed out, while he additionally referred to his Patron Saint, Saint Makarios the Great, who said: “There is no other way to be saved if not through our neighbour”. Concluding, he urged the new presbyter of the local Church to see to it that his words and works always have a positive impact on the life and course of his fellow human being.
Concelebrating with His Eminence Archbishop Makarios were Their Graces, Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta and Bishop Themistocles of Nicopolis, from the Patriarchate of Alexandria, while also present for the Divine Liturgy were, among others, the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr. Emmanuel Kakavelakis, the President of the Intercommunities Council of Victoria, Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis, and the brother of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Nikolaos Archontonis, with his wife, Katerina.