Makarios With Bishop Elpidios

The Orthodox Church in Australia Rejoices

Makarios With Bishop Elpidios

By His Grace Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia expresses its profound joy and appreciation to the Great and Holy Church of Constantinople, in which it has the great honour and privilege to be under its canonical protection and oversight, for recently granting the blessing and approval of  the new Constitution relating to the governance of our Holy Archdiocese and the institution of a Holy Eparchial Synod.

We are all extremely grateful to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the honourable Synodical Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne for granting this great blessing and gift upon our local Church at a time which coincides with the centenary celebrations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia (1924 – 2024).

With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, all parishes last month throughout the entire Archdiocese, on Meat-Fare Sunday and at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, conducted a Thanksgiving Doxology Service to the Trinitarian God for this great benefaction of the Mother Church which continues to be a beacon of hope for the Orthodox Church and the entire Oikumene.  This service coincided with the exact month in which the signing of the Tome of our local Church took place exactly 100 years prior by Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory VII, of blessed memory, and the Holy and Sacred Synod of Constantinople. The Doxology Service called upon the faithful to offer up praise and thanks to God for all the benefits and blessings bestowed upon our Holy Archdiocese over the past 100 years, known and unknown, manifest and hidden.

The Thanksgiving Service gave us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the inspiring words of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios that the Orthodox Church cannot exist without the Ecumenical Patriarchate and how for this reason we owe everything to the Mother Church of Constantinople. Our Theology and Ecclesiology originates from the only Great Church of Constantinople, and it was here that the Ecumenical Synods were convened. We must constantly remind ourselves how the Sacred Centre of Orthodoxy throughout history also gave birth to numerous Orthodox Churches.

Now as we celebrate the centenary of our Holy Archdiocese, our local Church starts a new chapter, under the leadership and omophorion of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, where it will be governed  by the Holy Eparchial Synod at which the Archbishop will preside and at which all Bishops of our Holy Archdiocese will be members of and granted the title “Regional Bishops”.

This is yet another reminder that the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our beloved Patriarch never cease caring and showing their unconditional love for the faithful of this blessed continent. The establishment of a Holy Eparchial Synod in Australia is a great and historical decision that will be written with golden letters in the history of the local Church as this will allow our Holy Archdiocese to:

•           Be governed in a way that further enhances Church unity; for the sacred institution of the Synod, as handed down to us through the Acts of the Apostles, is the highest spiritual authority in the Church and its prime purpose is to safeguard the unity of the Church. The Synodal Structure is vital for the proper governance of a local Church as is evident amongst the Patriarchates and autocephalous Churches of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

•           Express unanimity and oneness amongst diversity thus reflecting the communion and relationship that exists between all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit do not act in isolation or independently from one another. There exists harmony amongst all Three Persons of the Trinitarian God although each have their different and unique mode of existence.

•           Establish an even stronger bond with the Mother Church of Constantinople as the Eparchial Synod will report directly to the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and will not work in isolation.

•           Establish a united and powerful single voice relating to modern day issues as the Synod is the mouthpiece of the local Church. The status of the local Church is elevated not only in the eyes of the faithful but also in the eyes of the Australian Authorities for we no longer speak as isolated individuals but with one voice consisting of the Protos and Kephale (who in our case is Archbishop Makarios) and the Regional Bishops of the various Archdiocesan Districts throughout Australia. For the Church speaks through its Synod and this is supported by the Scriptures in the Book of Acts (2:1-4) where we see how on Pentecost Sunday the Holy Spirit descended upon the Disciples when they were all assembled, “with one accord in one place” as this provided the necessary environment for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell within the Apostles. 

•           Acquire Regional Bishops in this vast land called Australia and who will meet in council and work in unison by being heavily involved in the decision-making process regarding issues and challenges of the local Church. This off course also means greater responsibility on behalf of the Regional Bishops.

•           Teach the faithful the importance of journeying together (Συν-οδός) and embracing the Synodal System.

•           Enter its next 100 years and be ready for the future by bringing the Gospel of Christ not only to the Orthodox of this blessed continent but to all people of good will.

In conclusion, The Christ-loving plenitude in Australia, together with their Chief Shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, and all Regional Bishops of our Holy Archdiocese, are currently experiencing great Paschal joy for the great gift bestowed upon us by His All-Holiness and the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This joy was expressed on Meat-Fare Sunday when with one voice and one heart we chanted the Polychronion of our beloved Patriarch asking our Lord to grant His All Holiness many years, so we can continue in receiving His Paternal blessings and guidance from the Sacred Centre of Orthodoxy.

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