On Friday, 5 January, the Eve of the Feast of the Epiphany, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who is conducting a pastoral visit in Victoria, liturgised at the Holy Monastery of ‘Axion Esti’ in the suburb of Northcote in Melbourne.
His Eminence presided over the Service of the Great Hours of Epiphany and the Great Vespers of the Feast, after which he presided over the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great and the Consecration of the waters of the Eve of the Epiphany, while at the end of the service he blessed the many faithful with the sacred and holy Cross.
In his short speech, Archbishop Makarios addressed his paternal wishes to the congregation, while he described the meaning of the Holy Twelve days of Christmas, which begin with the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and end with his Baptism. “Both the Birth and the Baptism are an Appearance (Theophany) of God in the world,” he underlined and pointed out: “That is why, moreover, in the early Christian years, Christmas and Epiphany were celebrated on the same day.
Because both of these events present the manifestation of God. At Christmas, Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, becomes human to make humankind, God; and at the Baptism, the Holy Trinity is made manifest: Christ, who is baptised in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit who appears “as a dove” and the voice of God the Father who was heard saying “This is my beloved son…”.