With great success and unexpected participation of many young people, the three-day “Φilotimo” Festival, which was dedicated to the youth of the Archdiocesan District of Melbourne, came to an end.
The festival was an event organised on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, and at the same time an opportunity for the youth to meet and engage with one other. Also important was the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who upon arrival greeted all those who were at the Festival, taking the time to listen to the youth and communicate with them personally, while on Sunday morning His Eminence liturgised and spoke paternally to the youth, to the children of the Sunday Schools of Melbourne, as well as to the parents who accompanied them.
The youth from all parts of the Archdiocesan District of Melbourne gathered on Friday, 26 January, in the afternoon, at the Holy Monastery of Panagia Kamariani, in Red Hill, where the Festival was opened with an Agiasmos Service conducted by His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis. Saturday was a day of joy and fellowship among the children, culminating in the surprising and sudden visit of the Archbishop to the Festival grounds. The surprise and joy of the youth was indescribable, as they had the opportunity to talk to their Shepherd and ask him questions that occupied their thoughts.
His Eminence was accompanied by the two Bishops of Victoria, the local Archiepiscopal Vicar, His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, and the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Northcote, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta.
On Sunday, 28 January, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the Archbishop, who during his sermon called the young people to accept the visitation of Christ in their hearts just as Zacchaeus of the Gospel passage of that day, did.
After the Divine Liturgy, there was a parade of the small children of the Sunday Schools, who received from the hands of His Eminence icon as a souvenir of the day. At the same time, the Archbishop explained to the children how important it is to have Christ in our lives and urged them to create a friendly relationship with Him.
Finally, His Eminence warmly thanked His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, for his care and attention in organising the “Φilotimo” Festival, while he assured the youth that their desire to make this particular celebration an institution will be fulfilled. “My Children, do not worry. Next year we will be here again”, was the promise with which His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia farewelled the youth of Melbourne.