Today marks the second anniversary of the enthronement of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, and one where any potential celebrations were abruptly cancelled due to the lockdown that most of the country is experiencing and in particular the city of Sydney.
These first two years has seen the Greek Orthodox population of Australia embrace their newly appointed Archbishop who no doubt is still "finding his feet" as the spiritual and organisational leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in a landscape filled with challenges as recent questionable media reports would suggest.
Last year, readers might recall the celebration of the first anniversary of his Eminence's enthronement in the Antipodes was celebrated in an atmosphere of spiritual joy.
Exactly two years ago, at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of our Lady Theotokos, His Eminence Makarios ascended the archbishopric throne, on Monday morning 29th June, as a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was con-celebrated with the participation of His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Sevasteia, His Grace Bishop Emilianos of Meloa and many priests from both Sydney and Melbourne, including the monastic community of the Holy Monastery of Panagia Pantanassa.
His Eminence received a large number of heartfelt wishes from the clergy and faithful who gathered in the church, while the chant “Worthy” (ΑΧΙΟΣ) was again heard, a year later, with even more enthusiasm.
At the same time, the clergy and the faithful exclaimed “Worthy” for Deacon Fr Christophoros who, during the Divine Liturgy, was ordained a presbyter and also elevated to the rank of an Archimandrite. In his address, Fr Christophoros, who is the Director of the Personal Office of the Archbishop, first thanked God for allowing him to serve alongside Archbishop Makarios, recognising His Eminence to be “a good father who sacrifices himself daily for the Body of the Church.” Furthermore, he promised to live and be guided by the paternal words and example of the Archbishop, generously offering his love to the people. Deeply moved, he also thanked his parents, relatives and friends, as well as the priests who came from Melbourne to Sydney to be present for this important day for him.
In his speech, His Eminence Makarios extensively referred to the lives and works of the honoured Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, emphasising that “we are not just celebrating two great ecclesiastical personalities but two great heroes and fighters of the faith.”
“Real heroes, brilliant luminaries of the super-sensual firmament, confessors of the truth, pioneers in spreading the message of the Gospel, witnesses of the faith and teachers of the universe,” His Eminence added.
Then, addressing paternal instructions to Fr Christophoros, he urged him to have as a model in his life and priestly ministry, the two Chief Apostles and not to be afraid or cower before the difficulties and trials that he will confront. He also exhorted him to equip himself with the “weapons of faith” as he characteristically noted, and to live “the paroxysm of love,” that is, love that is not rationally interpreted. Pointing out that the challenge of the priesthood is to love when being judged and doubted, to forgive when you are wronged, and to do good when you are harmed, he begged Fr Christophoros, “Help contemporary man come to know the person of Christ through this godly and apostolic attitude to life.”