On Sunday, 5 November 2023, in the suburb of Hurlstone Park, Sydney, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia presided over the 40th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of the Greek Orthodox Parish of Saint Stephanos the First Martyr.
On this joyous and historic day, both for the Parish of Saint Stephanos, and for the Orthodox Church in Australia as a whole, present for the celebratory events, among others, were the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr. Yannis Mallikourtis, and the Greek-Australian State Minister of New South Wales, responsible for Industrial Relations and Work, Health and Safety, The Hon. Sophie Cotsis, MP.
In his speech, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios thanked the Parish Priest, Fr. Nektarios Joannou, his immediate predecessor, Fr. Stavros Ivanos, as well as the senior clergyman, Fr. Nikolaos Bozikis, who had served the Greek Orthodox flock of Hurlstone Park with devotion during 18 consecutive years (1993-2011). The three clerics received the grateful thanks of the Archbishop for their contribution to the continuous progress of the Parish of Saint Stephanos. Also, His Eminence praised the long-term contribution of Mr. Kallinikos Charalambous in the office of the President of the Parish, while he expressed his confidence in the person of the new President, Mr. Konstantinos Katsoulas, whom he wished to have a blessed and productive term.
In addition, during the speech he addressed before the large congregation, the Archbishop made a special reference to the living and deceased founders of the Parish of Saint Stephanos and to those who served, during the four decades since its establishment, as priests, as members of the parish council and as volunteers. His Eminence paternally urged the faithful to remember their many sacrifices, their unwavering faith and their determination, while he also asked them to pray for the repose of the souls of the departed members of the Parish and for the strengthening of those who continue their blessed struggle for the sake of the Parish.
Finally, having presented and analysed theologically the decisive role played by each Parish in maintaining the unity of the Body of Christ, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia urged the parishioners of Saint Stephanos to move towards the future with a spirit of unity and solidarity, guided by Christian values and by the values of their predecessors, who opened new paths for their community four decades ago. “Let this 40th Anniversary be an important reminder of the importance of continuing to move forward together, to progress and to bear witness to the richness of the Greek heritage and the Orthodox faith throughout the world”, he underlined in conclusion.