On Thursday the 11 January 2024, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia visited the Boys Omatha Youth Retreat, organised by the Greek Orthodox Christian Society and with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios. In a spirit of joy, enthusiasm, and chanting hymns, the 95 young men together with their leaders welcomed their Shepherd and Spiritual Father to their Retreat on Mangrove Mountain of NSW.
His Eminence was welcomed by Fr. Eusebios, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of ‘Pantanassa’ and Dr. John Psarommatis, President of the Greek Orthodox Christian Society, who both offered warm greetings to His Eminence and expressed their gratitude to His Eminence for blessing the Retreat with his presence. The young men then presented to His Eminence the song dedicated to the theme of their retreat and chanted the dismissal hymns of St Paisios the Athonite and St Makarios the Great.
With much love and warmth, His Eminence then addressed the boys commenting on the theme of the camp «ἐν τῷ φωτὶ περιπατῶμεν» (Α’ Ιωαν. α’ 7) “We walk in the light” (1 John 1:7) and how this “light” is found only in Christ and within the embrace of the Church. His Eminence also commented on the lives of the 6 hierarchs which represented the six groups of the Retreat; St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, St John Chrysostom, St John the Merciful, St Nicholas and St Spyridon the Wonderworkers. He highlighted how these Hierarch Saints of our Church remained as shining beacons of the light of Christ to preserve the truth and our Orthodox Faith despite being surrounded by the darkness of heresy or spiritual indifference. This greatly edified and inspired the boys.
His Eminence kindly answered several questions that the boys had. The boys eagerly asked His Eminence about his experiences with St Paisios the Athonite, the contribution of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Orthodoxy, and different questions on the spiritual life.
To express their deepest gratitude to His Eminence for visiting and blessing their Retreat, the boys gifted their Spiritual Shepherd with a new icon of St Paisios the Athonite, guardian and protector of Australia and the Holy Archdiocese of Australia and glorified God that they were granted this opportunity to connect and communicate with their Archbishop.