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Archbishop Makarios of Australia: “May our Holy Panagia become a permanent friend and companion of us all”

His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia began his visit to the Faithful Greek Orthodox Flock of South-East Queensland on Friday 11 March, 2022.

On the afternoon of the first day of his three-day pastoral tour, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios visited the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos, in Mount Gravatt in Brisbane, and officiated at the Service of The Salutations to the Blessed Theotokos, accompanied by the Archepiscopal Vicar of Brisbane,
His Grace Bishop  Emilianos of Meloa, His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis,
the Protosyggellos of the Holy Archdiocese, Very Rev. Fr Christoforos Krikelis, the priests of the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos Fr. Constantine Lentakis and Fr. Nicholas Brown, and other priests of Brisbane.

Among the faithful who warmly welcomed their Shepherd, were among others the Honorary Consul of Greece in Brisbane, Mr. Dimitrios Raptis, and the Archon of the Great Church of Christ. and President of the Greek Orthodox Parish-Community of Cairns, Mr. Theodoros Bacalakis.

At the end of the Salutations to the Theotokos Service, the Archbishop addressed the large congregation with emotion, first praising God who, after a long period of restrictions due to the pandemic, blessed him to reunite with his flock in Queensland and to communicate in person with the humble christians of the region, in fact on a day which is dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos.

During his speech, His Eminence underlined the great gratitude we should have for the Virgin Mary, who, as He explained, cooperating in God’s plan for the salvation of mankind, essentially became a bridge that united the earth with  heaven.

Then, after briefly referring to the verses of the Akathistos Hymn that were heard during the Service of the Salutations to the Theotokos, he stressed that the Virgin Mary is a great support for all Orthodox, both in times of large-scale and extensive trials, such as the current natural disasters in Australia, the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, as well as the personal, familial, financial and psychological problems that everyone faces from time to time. In these circumstances, as he observed, we have a greater need to call out louder, more powerfully and more heartily the name of the Virgin Mary (Panagia) and to ask for her help.

Closing his speech, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia addressed a paternal exhortation and request to the faithful to pray unceasingly to the Virgin Mary and “for Her to become a permanent friend and companion of all of us”.

It is noted also that on Friday night, after the end of the Salutations to the Theotokos, a dinner was given in honor of His Eminence Archbishop  Makarios of Australia in the parish hall of the Dormition of the Theotokos, Mt Gravatt, Brisbane.