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Archbishop Makarios of Australia at the Parish of Saint Andrew, Melbourne, Victoria

Before concluding his three-day pastoral tour in Victoria, His Eminence  Archbishop Makarios of Australia, made a pastoral visit to the faithful of Saint Andrew’s Parish, in the suburb of Sunshine in Melbourne, Victoria.

His Eminence went to the Church of Saint Andrew on Sunday afternoon, March 20, 2022, and officiated at the Third Lenten Vespers for Great and Holy Lent.

At the end of the Lenten Vespers Service, His Eminence addressed the congregation and expressed his great emotion for the fact that he became the first Archbishop to visit this parish, in the 67 years since its foundation.

In fact, since the Parish – Community of Saint Andrew’s consists mostly of Greek-Cypriots of origin, he pointed out that “you will remember that the first Archbishop who visited your community was called Makarios and your mind will go to the great Makarios, the Ethnarch of Cyprus “.

On this occasion, he expressed his deep respect for the personality of the ever-remembered Archbishop of Cyprus, Makarios III, who, as he distinguished, “fought for the faith and the homeland and for the freedom and the ideals” of the Great Island of Cyprus, while he was truly “a great Hierarch and a great national leader.”

During his sermon, His Eminence urged the expatriates not to forget the wound that remains open in the body of Cyprus and not to get too familiar with the reality of the division of the island, as has been formed by the long-term illegal occupation of its northern part.

Furthermore, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, spoke to the congregation about the theological background of noetic prayer, on the occasion of the teaching of Saint Gregory Palamas, whose memory was honored on Sunday by the Orthodox Church.

Saint. Gregory argued that prayer is for the human soul a vehicle to the Kingdom of God, while in particular for the noetic prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on the sinner”, he had rejected the accusations that he was turning the faithful towards themselves and towards selfishness.

As His Eminence explained, the teaching of Saint Gregory Palamas was based on the recognition that every member of our Church is part of its entire spiritual edifice. “By making each of us himself,” he said, “he also makes us a part of the whole world. And when you are sanctified, the whole world is sanctified, the whole of the community and society is sanctified. That is why, where there is a holy man, a thousand souls around him are sanctified and are given grace”.

This spirit and ethos urged the faithful to adopt and follow in their lives, so that they may be loving and united for the common good. Not only among themselves, as he explained, but with all people, regardless of nationality and religious beliefs.

After all, as he concluded, all the Saints of our Church in their prayer included the whole world.

“The Saints could not have imagined that they would go to paradise and that the rest of the world would not be there,” he said, adding that “this is the spirit of the Orthodox Church.”

It is noted that His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia was accompanied during his visit to the suburb of Sunshine and the Parish of Saint Andrew by His Eminence the Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis, Their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, the Protosyggellos of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Very Rev. Fr Christophros Krikelis, while present also in the church of Saint Andrew, was the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in Australia, Mrs Martha Mavrommatis.