The unity within the Church is a testimony of the presence of the Holy Spirit, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia pointed out emotionally, who on the morning of Thursday, 19 January 2023, the day when our Church honours the memory of Saint Makarios the Great, celebrated His Patronal Feast Day surrounded by a multitude of Hierarchs, clergy and members of the monastic brotherhoods, in the presence of a multitude of pious believers of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios presided over the Poly-Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, which was celebrated with due splendour and solemnity at the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady, Redfern, Sydney. The Divine Liturgy was also co-celebrated by Metropolitan Seraphim of Sevasteia and Metropolitan Myron of New Zealand, as well as Their Graces, Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, Bishop Emilianos of Meloa, 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. Present among a large congregation were the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr. Yannis Mallikourtis, the President of the Intercommunities Committee of Victoria Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis, the Vice-President of the Archdiocesan Council Mr. Theo Penklis, Presidents and members of Boards of Directors of Parishes-Communities and Organisations of the Holy Archdiocese, representatives of Greek Organisations, teachers and students of the Greek Orthodox schools.
The joyous atmosphere of the day was enhanced by the ordination to Priest of Deacon Paisios, monk of the Holy Monastery of Saint George Yellow Rock. Coming to receive the second degree of priesthood, at the hands of his Shepherd, Father Paisios promised, full of emotion, to show himself worthy of the expectations of the Church and his fellow parishioners, while he expressed his filial love and gratitude to His Eminence, mentioning, among other things, his paternal and eager interest in the brotherhood of the Holy Monastery of Saint George.
For his part, the Archbishop addressed the ordained with words of spiritual edification, emphasising to him that “today is the day of your personal Pentecost, but also a day of joy for the entire Holy Archdiocese of Australia, as within the Church nothing is private, individual, cut off from the whole”. “The Church is communion, it is a community, it is a family, it is a network of loving relationships,” he added, “and in this blessed community the gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit. Not for the personal advancement of each one of us or for our promotion and arrangement, but for the building up of the body of Christ and the salvation of people.”
Wishing Father Paisios a blessed and spiritual path, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios reminded him of the value of obedience and humility, virtues that will allow him to approach God more easily. He invoked, moreover, a word of Saint Makarios of Egypt, who discerned that as long as the human soul is in absolute ascesis, in humility, in meekness whilst living a virtuous life and in an attitude of obedience, the more the grace of the Holy Spirit rests in it. “And if you, my dear Paisios, attract the Holy Spirit to rest in you and in your heart, then you will bring peace to many of your brothers and sisters and your ministry will be holy and unblemished”, he concluded.
Before the Dismissal of the Divine Liturgy, with deep emotion, His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope, who received the grace of the Archpriesthood exactly three years ago, in the same Holy Church, addressed heartfelt wishes and words of gratitude to His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, on behalf of all the auxiliary Bishops of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia. “For more than three years now, the Orthodox Church of Australia has been experiencing and witnessing your spiritual fatherhood,” His Grace Bishop Silouan pointed out and continued:
“The more we experience this blessed event, the more we are convinced that it is the hand of God that brought you to our country to shepherd the Church in Australia. With your god-pleasing actions for more than three years now, you have brought unity in the Church to all the states of Australia, to every Archdiocesan District. You gave life to episcopal responsibility, awakened the clergy, revitalised the youth [..] We experienced the good products of your love, apart from other circumstances, in the construction of new churches, as well as in the return to the fold of the Church of remote and isolated for decades communities.”
Bishop Silouan of Sinope also made a special mention of the sacred centre of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, noting that this is a point of reference and the foundation of His Eminence Archbishops Makarios’ archdiocesan ministry. “Not only have you reaffirmed the position of our Ecumenical Patriarchate in the consciousness of the local Church in Australia”, he underlined, “but also, you contribute daily, with your tireless efforts, in the manifestation of the light emitted by the martyred and steadfast and sanctified First Throne of Orthodoxy and Ark of our Nation, the loving Mother Church which, as His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has said, zealously guarding the sacred and devout of our people and Nation.”
In His response, the Archbishop, with paternal love and humility, first noted the value of unity as a testimony of the presence of the Holy Spirit. “Where there is unity, the Holy Spirit is present. And what we see today is a testimony of the presence of the Holy Spirit. We have to live this and rejoice in it, because it is not always a given”, he emphasised with obvious emotion.
Then, His Eminence thanked His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope for his wishes and warm words, but hastened to note that “all that you said mainly expresses the love of your heart, but I feel that these words do not correspond to my insignificant person”. “But I accept them as your own vision of how you want the Archbishop to be, of how you want the future of our local Church to be and the perspectives you want us to have,” His Eminence pointed out.
“And all of this”, he continued, “I embrace and I also accept it as a vision for our Church, which we should all implement together. Because this vineyard, of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, is big and needs many good farmers. And you all are both good and worthy and I am convinced that you will give not only yourself but also your life, if necessary, for the glory of Christ and the progress of our Holy Archdiocese”.
It is noted that at the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios performed a holy Trisagion (memorial service) for the repose of the soul of the late Zacharo Anastasiadou, sister of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Afterwards, a reception was held in the main hall of Saint Andrew’s Theological College, during which His Eminence received personal wishes for his name day.