On Great and Holy Friday, 14 April 2023, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, starting his two-day pastoral visit in Victoria, visited the Holy Church of St. Haralambos in Templestowe, Melbourne, and officiated at the Vespers of the Apokathelosis, was joined by the Their Graces Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, as well as Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis, along with the clergy of the Church.
The faithful flocked with reverence and overwhelmed the church of Saint Haralambos, to venerate the Crucified Lord Jesus Christ and participate prayerfully in the service of the taking down of the body of our Lord from the Cross.
At the end of the Vespers Service, His Eminence first of all congratulated the Parish Priest, Fr. Elias Kentrotis, for the progress of the Parish, while he thanked the chanters for the zeal with which they serve the sacred analogion, expressing at the same time his satisfaction for the fact that they are surrounded by youth “who make secure the course of the Church and our future”.
Afterwards, His Eminence addressed the congregation with paternal words, presenting five basic conditions that allow us to have a true relationship with God. He stressed, first, the value of regular church attendance, which ensures the faithful maintain their bond with the body of Christ’s Church; secondly, the value of participation in the holy Mysteries of the Church, especially Holy Communion and Holy Confession; third, the value of prayer – not only common prayer in church, but also private and family prayer; fourthly, the value of the regular reading and study of the New Testament, which constitutes the word of God; fifthly and most importantly, the value of love and especially sacrificial love – not hypocritical and selfish love, but the love of the Crucified One!
“If you want to see what love is, look at the crucified Jesus”, the Archbishop characteristically underlined, while concluding with paternal wishes for a good and blessed Resurrection and with the exhortation: “Faith should not remain in theory but should be put into practice, should become an experience of our daily life and Christ should be a part of our own life”.