On Tuesday, 26 December 2023, the second day of the feast of Christmas, the Feast of the Synaxis of the Holy Mother of God was celebrated with ecclesiastical splendour at the Holy Chapel of Our Lady the Merciful (Panagia Eleousa) in the country town of Bacchus Marsh in Victoria.
Annually on this day, the Chapel of Our Lady the Merciful welcomes pilgrims from the city of Melbourne, who make the journey there in organised buses.
Once again this year, the same event took place, with the head of the pilgrims from Melbourne being His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, Archiepiscopal Vicar of Northcote, who officiated at the Matins Service and presided over the Divine Liturgy.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Grace Bishop Evmenios conveyed to the congregation the blessings and wishes of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia for the holy feast days of which we are currently celebrating.
During his sermon, Bishop Evmenios emphasised the important role played by the Virgin Mary in God’s plan for the incarnation of the Divine Word, while pointing out, among other things, that “if we want to become “God-Bearers”, in other words, to place God within us, we must not live for ourselves, but live for our fellow human beings”. “We cannot have a relationship with God and our hearts become a manger to receive him, if we do not breathe and live for our neighbour. This is proclaimed by Christ himself, that we serve him through our neighbour”, he continued.
After the Divine Liturgy, a small festival was held in the forecourt of the Church in a warm and familial atmosphere.