The Parish of St. Anna, in the city of Gold Coast, was the last stop of the three-day pastoral tour made by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia in Southeast Queensland.
The Greek Orthodox faithful of the area cordially welcomed His Eminence, who arrived at Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Anna on the afternoon of Orthodox Sunday, March 13, accompanied by their Graces, Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis and Bishop Emilianos of Meloa, and the Protosyggellos of the Holy Archdiocese, Very Rev. Fr Christophoros Krikelis.
The Archbishop officiated at the Second Vespers of Great and Holy Lent, while during the Vespers Service he awarded the Order of Protopresbyter to the Proistamenos of the Church of Saint Anna, Fr. Romanos Stergiou.
Excluding the ministry and the general offering of Fr. Romanos to the Church and to the people of God, he also stressed that the honor of his elevation to Protopresbyter is both a calling and a challenge to the Church, to progress further, to become more spiritual and holy. and his life to be a good testimony for the people of the area where he serves, but also for society at large.
Afterwards, His Eminence, addressing both the new Protopresbyter, Father Romanos and the faithful in the Church, spoke about the beginning and the end of human life.
Presenting the example of the patron saint of the Parish, St. Anna, who for many years could not have children and gave birth at an advanced age, she first focused on the virtues of deep faith and great patience that distinguished her, as a result of which she continued to pray. and not to lose hope in God.
“As the years passed, Saint Anna continued to pray,” he remarked, noting that she was finally vindicated at the age of 63, when she gave birth to the Holy Virgin Mary.
The message from this example is that we must never lose hope, as “hope is a great motivation to be able to move forward,” said the Archbishop of Australia.
His Eminence added that it is a very timely and useful message in our time, as we are witnessing great trials, from the natural disasters in Australia to the pandemic and the war raging in Ukraine.
In continuing his speech, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios referred to death, which often comes prematurely in people’s lives.
“We, the clergy, unfortunately fall into the trap and think that we have the answers to all the questions of man,” he remarked, pointing out, addressing mainly Father Romanos and the clergy who surrounded him, that “we do not know everything and we can not we answer them all “.
“Because some things are part of the Last Days,” he added, adding that “the silence of God is the greatest mystery of the Church.”
On the basis of the above, he advised the clergy present, instead of trying to speak in such circumstances, to prefer silence and prayer.
It is noted that after the end of the Lenten Vespers Service, a dinner was served in the parish hall in honor of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia. During this, His Eminence awarded Mrs. Anna Voukelatou, who for 40 years has served with devotion and sacrificial spirit the Church and the Philoptochos of the Parish of Saint Anna.