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Archbishop Makarios of Australia: “First and foremost in a Christian’s life is the confession of the correct faith”

On the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, 16 June 2024, the faithful Christians of the city of Cairns, in North Queensland, welcomed their Chief Shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, with feelings of immeasurable joy and emotion, at the centre of the social and spiritual life of the Greek Orthodox community of Cairns, the Church of Saint John the Baptist.

In the filled church, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia officiated at the Matins Service and presided over the Divine Liturgy, joined by His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, Archiepiscopal Vicar of Brisbane, as well as by Father John Kapetas, and the Parish Priest Father Sotirios Papafilopoulos. Among the congregation were the President of the Parish, Mr Theo Bacalakis, Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and other members of the Board of Directors.

Everyone’s emotion peaked when, during the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Makarios ordained the Deacon of the Parish, Father Evangelos Aspiotis, as a Presbyter. Before inviting the ordinand to ascend the steps of the Royal Gates into the sanctuary, to receive the second degree of the priesthood, His Eminence addressed him with paternal admonitions and spiritual exhortations, underlining that “first and foremost in a Christian’s life, and certainly of the priest, is the confession of a healthy and correct faith”

“More so, I would say, in the life of the priest,” he added, “who becomes a teacher of others and their guide in faith, that is, a guide in the real and true life.” He therefore urged the new Presbyter to take care from now on of the Christians entrusted to him by the Church, whom he will shepherd on behalf of his Archbishop. “You should teach them the true faith,” he pointed out, “because in every age there are the “grey wolves” and “those speaking perverse things”, as the Apostle mentions, people who are only interested in winning supporters and followers, unconcerned about the loss of their souls.

Unfortunately, our Archdiocese suffered a lot in the past from such people, who pretending to be pious and even zealous, began to preach alien teachings and rebel against the Church and the Bishop, creating problems, divisions and quarrels”.

Praising Father Evangelos for his distinguished piety, humble mindset and spirit of obedience, His Eminence urged him to protect people from the aforementioned teachings and situations, and to contain them within the safety of the Ark, in other words, of the Church and of the truth. “Faith in a foreign God, that is heresy and our disconnection from the Church and the truth, leads us to spiritual death”, His Eminence emphasised in closing, while expressing the certainty that the new Presbyter, being an excellent husband and father of many children, will become also a chosen shepherd for his spiritual children.