A blessed and historic day dawned for the Parish-Community of St Andrew the Apostle in Forest Hill, Melbourne, on Sunday, 4 December, 2022. His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia consecrated the church, which marks its official bestowal to divine Worship.
In accordance with ecclesiastical rule, the service of Consecration began after the end of Matins and included: the Consecration prayers; procession of the holy relics around the church; triumphal entry into the church with the command, “Lift up the gates…” (Psalm 24); deposition of the holy relics in the centre of the Holy Altar Table (in the special cavity called, “phyton”); washing and chrismating (anointing) the Holy Altar Table; consecrating the Antimension cloths; vesting the Altar Table; forming with Holy Myrrh the monogram of Christ (in Greek – XP) on the walls of the Church and, finally, lighting the perpetually lit Vigil Lamp of the Holy Altar by the Archbishop.
His Eminence, who then presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, was joined in prayer from the Holy Altar by Their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Evmenios of Kerasounta, the Archiepiscopal Vicars of Melbourne and Northcote respectively, along with many priests from the two Archdiocesan Districts of Victoria. Among the large congregation watching the proceedings with deep emotion and reverence were the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr Emmanuel Kakavelakis and the President of the Victorian Inter-Communities Council, Mr Antonis Tsourdalakis.
On behalf of the Parish-Community of St Andrew, former Rector Fr Stavros Kakavas welcomed and addressed His Eminence, while gifting him with an engolpion, in memory of the historic day.
For his part, Archbishop Makarios spoke with words of gratitude to those who contributed through their works, labours, time or money, to the construction and completion of this very beautiful church in Forest Hill. We cannot overlook mentioning Fr Nicholas Papaioannou of blessed memory, who was the founder of the church and the Parish Priest for 17 years. His Eminence emphasised the sacrificial spirit with which he worked for the progress of the Parish and mentioned that, “from the Church Triumphant in heaven, today he rejoices and is glad because what he began is now officially completed and sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”. “We thank him and hope that God grants him rest among the saints and the righteous,” he added.
Subsequently, the Archbishop also praised the important contribution of Fr Stavros Kakavas over many years, who just as worthily continued the work of his predecessor, serving his parishioners with great love.
“The door of his office, but also the door of his heart, was always open to receive all people and to listen to their problems, offering a piece of advice or a solution,” His Eminence characteristically noted.
Moreover, His Eminence conveyed his heartfelt gratitude to the current Rector, Fr Kyprianos Nerouppos, in whom he discerned as having a fervent and apostolic zeal and who has dedicated himself to the salvation of his parishioners, thereby demonstrating devotion to the ministry assigned to him by the Church.
Concluding his speech, His Eminence urged everyone to maintain a spirit of love, harmony and unity and to support Fr Kyprianos, just as they did with the late Fr Nicholas and with Fr Stavros and to work together for the further progress of the Parish-Community and for the benefit and spiritual advancement of the younger generation.