On Friday, 19 January, the day in which the Church honours the memory of Saint Makarios the Great, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia celebrated his sacred Patronal Feast Day, joined by the Assistant Bishops, the Holy Clergy and Christ-loving laity of the local Church.
More specifically, at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady in Sydney, where on the eve of the feast His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia officiated at the Great Vespers and spoke appropriately about the life and virtues of his Patron Saint, Saint Makarios the Great, while on the main day of the feast, in the morning, a splendid Poly-Hierarchical Liturgy took place, presided over by the celebrating Archbishop and concelebrated by Metropolitan Seraphim of Sevasteia, and Their Graces, Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea, Bishop Silouan of Sinope, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta and Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis.
Also present at the Feast Day, in order to pray with their Chief Shepherd and offer their wishes for his name day were many clergy, monks, nuns, presidents and members of the Parishes – Communities, members of the Archdiocesan Council, school principals and student delegations, lecturers and students of Saint Andrew’s Theological College, as well as a multitude of believers of all ages, including the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr. Yannis Mallikourtis.
On behalf of the assistant bishops, His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia, delivered a moving speech, who, after analysing the Gospel passage of the day, describing the parable of the evil farmers, then addressed His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia with words of filial love, respect and gratitude. As His Grace emphasised among other things: “In your person we see at the good farmer who does not settle on the idea that he is the heir of old privileges, but connects these privileges with the cultivation of fruits. He connects these privileges with taking on the yoke of Christ which does not allow for complacency and self–satisfaction“. “In your person we see the good farmer who has strengthened the tree of Orthodoxy in Australia, with prosperous ingredients”, emphasised His Grace Bishop Christodoulos at another point and explained that these ingredients are: “The non-negotiable trust in God’s providence, the angel-taught conscientious priority of ‘let us stand well’, the adoption of Thucydides’ admonition that ‘opportunities do not wait for anyone’, aiming at the renewal of man from the inside, the constant adherence to the unseen, according to Saint Paul’s words: “Let us not look at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.”
As well as this, Bishop Christodoulos also referred with gratitude to the First of Orthodoxy, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who, as he pointed out: “sent you to cultivate the vineyard of Orthodoxy on the fifth continent and gave you a precious supply of his example; An example of a tireless work ethic; An example of unwavering defense of the treasures of Orthodoxy; An example of creative reception and restoration of the challenges of our times. The never-setting light of Orthodoxy from the lighthouse of Orthodoxy at the Phanar was given to you, in order that you may pass it on to the Orthodox phryctoriae scattered throughout Australia to disperse the fog of our times”.
Concluding his address, His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia offered the Archbishop, as a gift on behalf of the Bishops who were present, two Hierarchical Engolpia, bearing the icons of Saints Makarios the Great and Saint Paisios the Athonite.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, in his response, thanked everyone for their honourable presence and especially His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia for his warm and heartfelt address. “I thank you for all the good things you said,” he noted with emotion, adding, however, that “I do not think they correspond to my mere self and my humble ministry.” “But I listen to these things said prayerfully and imploringly,” he added, “and I promise you that I will try to adhere to them in my life. Although I am not all that you said, I will try to become these things, to alleviate your burdens and for our Church to move forward. Because we owe everything to the Church, while the Church owes us nothing.”
At the conclusion of his brief address, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios chose to refer, with words from the heart, to his Spiritual Father and Geronda, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. “It is this person, from whom I have learned what I have not learned from any other person, and I have been taught, what I have not been taught in any university and in any school, and I have received lessons in life that I have not received from any other individual in the world.” He emphasised. “Because His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch is a unique and special figure”, he continued, “a charismatic personality, not constantly sent into this world by God. God does so when he very much wants to show his mercy and forbearance. I am enlightened by the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the ever-burning lamp of the holy Phanar. With my meagre strength, I endeavour to convey this light to all of you.”
After the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, a reception was held in the Grand Hall of the Theological College, where the Archbishop received personal wishes from the Hierarchs, Clergy and Laity of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.