Brimming with joy were the New Years' Eve celebrations commemorating St Basil the Great at St Basil's Aged Care in Lakemba, Sydney, Australia, on Tuesday 31 December 2019.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios officiated at the festive Vespers, which took place in the facility's chapel, accompanied by His Grace Bishop of Meloes Emilianos, Archimandrite Thalassios Voultsidis, Head of St Basil's Aged Care, Father Nick Stavropoulos, Father John Kapettas and other clergies from the Archdiocese.
Among those present were the facility’s devout residents, many of their families, staff, and members of St Basil's Board including President Mr. James Jordan, and Deputy President Mr. Theodosis Penklis.
In his sermon, Archbishop Makarios emphasised St Basil the Great's important theological and social works and his philanthropy towards church and its people.
Describing the life and times of the Saint, Archbishop Makarios expressed his belief that this Saint “is the nicest and greatest role model for everyone,” noting that “justly so the Church has the Saint at the forefront as we start the new year when we have our new plans and goals.” He also prompted all those present to follow St Basil the Great's example.
Following the Vespers, Archbishop Makarios blessed and cut the vasilopita (traditional Greek New Year's cake), giving his warmest wishes for the new year. He personally distributed pieces of vasilopita to all who were present, commending them and thanking them for choosing to celebrate the memory of St Basil the Great with the elderly.
Upon leaving, Archbishop Makarios also lauded St Basil’s Aged Care for its social and spiritual work which strives to follow in the name of St Basil the Great and the Saint's works at Caesarea in Cappadocia.
To commemorate the celebration, Archbishop Makarios also planted an olive tree at the facility's entrance.
*Images courtesy of Father Steven Scoutas