With great success, the multi-day pastoral visit of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia took place last week in Tasmania. His Eminence, accompanied by His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis Archiepiscopal Vicar of the Archdiocesan District of Melbourne, The Very Rev. Father Amphilohios Papantoniou, Director of the Private Office of the Archbishop of Australia, Deacon Fr Timotheos Mavromatis and the Deacon Fr Irenaeus Koikas, arrived at the Hobart domestic Airport on Friday, June 10, where His Eminence was welcomed by His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, Archiepiscopal Vicar of Tasmania, along with the Proistamenos of the Parish of The Holy Trinity, Hobart, Father Dimitrios Katsis, the president of the Greek Welfare Centre, Mr Stylianos Magdalopoulos, the President of the Greek Community of Tasmania, Mr Nicholas Theodoropoulos and many orthodox expatriot faithful.
During his visit, His Eminence had the opportunity to liturgise on Saturday, June 11, at the Church of The Holy Trinity, Hobart and pray for the repose of the souls of the builders and benefactors of the Church and all Orthodox Christian immigrants who arrived in Tasmania, beginning with 1878.
At the same time, the name-day of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was duly honored during the special reception organised for this purpose, during which His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, Mr Andonny Papastamatis, representative of the youth of Tasmania, and, finally, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia all spoke and made celebratory addressess to the faithful who were in attendance. All the speakers referred to the spiritual character of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew and praised his invaluable contribution to the Church and to the world.
On Sunday, June 12, the feast of Pentecost, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia presided over Orthros and officiated at the Divine Liturgy and then the Vespers of Kneeling (Vespers of the Holy Spirit), accompanied by His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George, Hobart, Tasmania.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy and Vespers of the Holy Spirit, His Eminence analysed the message of the feast day and stressed that the day of Pentecost is a call for unity and love, for all people. A reception followed in the hall of the Greek Community “Greek Hall”, during which the President M Nicholas Theodoropoulos welcomed His Eminence Archbishop Makarios and his entourage, while he did not fail to underline the Archbishop’s contribution to Australia during his three years of ministry. The reception ended with a program of traditional dances by the youth of Tasmania.
On June 13, the feast day of the Holy Spirit, His Eminence officiated at the Church of The Holy Trinity, and during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy he ordained Deacon Irenaeus Koikas as a Presbyter, who is now appointed as the new Proistamenos of the Church of Saint George, Hobart. In addition to the ordination of Father Irenaeus, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia elevated the Proistamenos of The Holy Trinity Parish, Father Dimitrios Katsis to that of Confessor, and tonsured Mr Stefanos Papastamatis as a Reader. To both of those newly ordained, His Eminence addressed them with spiritual words of counsel regarding the new ministries which they are taking on in the Church. The Divine Liturgy was followed by a Greek Festival in the courtyard of the Parish, which was crowned with great success and had a large participation not only of Greek Orthodox, but also of many Australians of non-Greek origin.
A Divine Liturgy was also celebrated at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Launceston, Northern Tasmania, on Saturday, June 18, which was the last day of His Eminences tour of the island State of Tasmania. It is noted that this was the first time that an Archbishop had officiated at a Divine Liturgy at this Church, which is why the Greek Orthodox flock there welcomed its Shepherd with great enthusiasm and feelings of deep respect.
The Archbishop, and his entourage , arrived in Launceston, Tasmania on Friday, June 17, and immediately held a special meeting with the committee of the Greek Community of the city. During the Divine Liturgy, on Saturday, His Eminence stressed the need for the Greek community to keep the language, faith, customs and traditions of the homeland, to pass them on as a valuable legacy to future generations.
At the same time, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios honored Mrs Ioanna Amerakanos with the Order of the Christ-loving, for her long-term contribution to the Church and the Greek Expatriots in Launceston.
The Divine Liturgy was followed by an official dinner in honour of the Archbishop of Australia, during which members of the Committee spoke warmly, Their Graces Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis and finally the guest of honour, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.
It is worth noting that during His stay in Tasmania, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia:
- Paid a special visit to the Parliament House of the State of Tasmania, where he had a special meeting with the local Primier, Mr. Jeremy Rockliff, in the presence of the Minister for Advanced Manufacturing, Defence Industries, Small Business, Science & IT, Heritage and Racing, Hon Madeleine Ogilvie MP. During the meeting, the agenda of the discussion included the strengthening of the renovation work of the Church of The Holy Trinity, the enrichment of the Greek language programs and Greek traditions and the reception of Ukrainian immigrants in Tasmania.
- At the invitation of the Mayor of Hobart, Ms Anna Reynolds, His Eminence paid a visit to City Hall, where a reception was organised in his honour, in the presence of prominent expatriates and other officials of the State. During the reception, the Mayor welcomed the Archbishop of Australia and his entourage and referred to the presence of Greeks in Tasmania, as well as the contribution of the Orthodox Church to Australian society in general. His Eminence thanked the Lord Mayor for the special reception and conveyed the gratitude of the Greeks of Hobart for her contribution to the Greek community.
- Visited the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, His Grace Julian Porteous, at the Residence of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, where they discussed issues of religious freedom and issues of Christian unity in the State of Tasmania. Both His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, as well as the Roman Catholic Archbishop, pledged their cooperation in matters of legislation and the relationship of religion with the authorities, which will take place through the local Archiepiscopal Vicar of the Archdiocesan Disrtrict of Tasmania, His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis.
- Had a meeting at the Holy Trinity Church with the Bishop of the Anglican Church in Tasmania, The Right Reverend Richard Condie, during which issues of common interest of Church-State relations in Tasmania were discussed.
- Had a special meeting with the President of the Greek Welfare Center of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Mr. Stylianos Magdalopoulos, as well as with his colleagues, in order to discuss the extension of welfare programs for Tasmania.
- Had a special meeting with the President Mr Nicholas Theodoropoulos and members of the Greek Community of Tasmania, during which issues concerning Hellenism and the relationship of expatriates with the Church and local authorities were discussed.
- Attended a dinner offered in His Eminence’s honour by the Cretan Association of Tasmania, during which the President of the Association, Mr Ioannis Chiotakis, addressed the Archbishop and His Eminence appropriately responded.
- He visited Coles Bay and Wineglass Bay, where he toured the region and the Tasman Sea.
- He visited the Cemetery in Cornelian Bay, where he performed a Trisagion for the blessed Father Christos Pamias, the first clergyman of Tasmania, Gregory Kasimatis, who had donated the land for the construction of the Holy Church of Saint George, Hobart, and the other Greek Orthodox Faithful who has fallen asleep in the Lord, in the presence of many faithful Orthodox who came there to pray for the rest of the souls of their ancestors.
- He visited the historic port of Tasmania Port Arthur, where the first prisons of convicts from Great Britain are located, Australia’s first immigrants in otherwords, as well as the place where the 35 innocent victims were killed on 28 April 1996, during the Port Arthur massacre.
- Finally, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios had the opportunity to meet many of the Greek Orthodox expatriates of Tasmania, who shared with him their concerns and thoughts about the future of Hellenism and Orthodoxy on the island state of Tasmania.