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Archbishop Makarios of Australia presided over the Feast Day of the Patron Saint of Larissa, Saint Achillios

The liturgical and festive events for the commemoration of the patron saint of the city, Saint Achillios the myrrh-flowing and wonder-worker, were culminated in Larissa, with the Poly-Hierarchical Divine Liturgy which was celebrated on Monday, 15 May 2023, presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

On this day, Larissaians from all over the world have their minds turned to the Holy Church of the Patron and Protector of Larissa. A day of joy for the Thessalian capital, a day when all the faithful come reverently to their Saint to light a candle and submit their requests, hoping for the help of the Saint, who has never abandoned this blessed people.

The celebratory Divine Liturgy was celebrated with appropriate grandeur in the Holy Metropolitan Church of Saint Achillios, Larissa. Co-celebrating with the Archbishop of Australia, were Their Eminences, Metropolitan Ioustinos of Nea Krini and Kalamaria, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Mani, Metropolitan Symeon of Fthiotida and the local Shepherd, Metropolitan Ieronymos of Larissa and Tyrnavos.

The ministry of the divine word was undertaken by Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who after thanking, first of all, the local Shepherd, Metropolitan Ieronymos, for the honourable invitation to preside over the religious ceremonies and celebrations of the Patron Saint of the Church of Larissa, referred to the person of the honoured Saint focusing particularly on the gift of fatherhood of Saint Achillios.

Among other things, he emphasised:  “If you asked me to describe to you the par excellence gift of Saint Achillios, I would refer to his fatherhood, which is the result of his extroversion, that is, his self-abasement, his self-depreciation, his self-reduction. Because, my dear brothers, fatherhood is a condition that makes you abolish yourself and offer yourself sacrificially. Fatherhood constitutes the abolition of selfishness and introversion. Saint Achillios went about his life without looking forward to the glory of men and spiritual reward from heaven.

He became a Saint, he is a Saint in the consciousness of all of us, but the purpose of his life was not holiness per se or the acquisition of virtues, but the cultivation of the love of God, which is incarnated in the face of the neighbour. He succeeded in his pastoral mission here in Larissa, because he was faithful and not a religious person, because he had consciously included himself in the body of the Church, because he never believed that the Church saves by juggling with what it does and says, but because he had the sure conviction that the Church saves with what it is – and it is a communion of persons”.

Concluding, the Archbishop of Australia emphasised that “we need to acquire the ethos of Saint Achillios, who, praying every night, begged God and said: “if the world is not saved, let us not be saved either”. Yes, my dear brothers. This is what Saint Achillios said. If all the people of Larissa are not saved, let me not be saved either. If all the people of Larissa do not enter Paradise, neither should I.”

After the Dismissal of the Divine Liturgy, a celebratory Doxology was held, while Metropolitan Ieronymos of Larissa and Tyrnavos, in his brief homily, he thanked the Hierarchs who accepted his invitation and honoured with their presence Saint Achillios and the city of Larissa, especially His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who “came to the Thessalian capital from the distant Oceania to venerate our Myrrh-flowing Saint and to celebrate with all the pious people the “unshakable staff” of our city”.

All the political and military Officials of the city and the Prefecture of Larissa were present, who honoured with their presence the Good-Sounding Trumpet of the Church and prayed before the Holy Relics of the Saint, together with crowds of believers, both from Larissa and from beyond the region of Thessaly.

It is noted that His Eminence Archbishop Makarios went to the back of the Holy Sanctuary and conducted a trisagion memorial service at the grave of the Late Metropolitan Ignatios of Larissa and Tyrnavos, with whom he was spiritually connected and prayed for the repose of his soul.

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