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Central Coast: Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis presides over the feast day of the Church of Saint Haralambos

With due ecclesiastical splendour a beautiful, heart-warming and spiritually festive weekend in honour of Saint Haralambos the Hieromartyr was enjoyed by over a thousand people at the celebrating Parish of Saint Haralambos in the Central Coast suburb of Tuggerah, located 100kms north of Sydney.

His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis visited and presided during all the sacred services, representing His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia; including Great Vespers on Friday, 9 February, Matins and Divine Liturgy on Saturday, 10 February, and the continuation of the Feast on Sunday, 11 February.

His Grace was joined in the liturgical services by clergy from Sydney including Father Nikolaos Bozikis, Father Dimitrios Kokkinos, Father Peter Mavrommatis, Father Leslie Kostoglou, Father George Liangas, Father Timothy Klintsaris and Father Nicholas Carmona, as well as Deacon Timotheos Mavromatis, Deacon Meliton Haridemos, and the parish priest Father Anastasios Kalogerakis.

The Parish was profoundly honoured and blessed to receive a fragment of the holy relics of Saint Haralambos on loan from the nearby Holy Monastery of Panagia Pantanassa, so that the faithful could offer their veneration to the Saint during each of the sacred services.

The team of dedicated and tireless volunteers at Saint Haralambos – Committee, Philoptohos and devoted Friends both local and visiting – were greatly encouraged by the tremendous show of support from churches across Greater Sydney who organised buses for people to attend the sacred services: St Sophia and her Three Daughters (Taylor Square), St Ioannis (Parramatta), St Spyridon (Kingsford), St Nicholas (Marrickville), St Euphemia (Bankstown), Our Lord’s Resurrection (Kogarah), St Nectarios (Burwood), St Demetrios (St Mary’s), St Stylianos (Gymea).

The neighbouring Parish of St Dionysios (Central Mangrove) temporarily closed its doors so that its priest and parishioners could visit. The Association of Pyrgos, Elis (a city in the northwestern Peloponnese, where Saint Haralambos is renowned and honoured as Patron and Protector) organised three buses from Sydney for the Saturday. The Association of Lefkada attended on the Sunday, as did many members of the Greek Orthodox Christian Society who also arranged a book stall of Orthodox publications.

His Grace Bishop Iakovos preached at all the services, in both Greek and English, interpreting the various Scriptural readings from the Old and New Testaments and recounting the life of the holy martyr and priest Haralambos for the edification and instruction of the congregation, whilst continually conveying the archpastoral blessings and paternal love of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia on whose behalf he visited the Parish.