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Great and Holy Friday Services presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios in Melbourne

On Great and Holy Friday, a day of joyful-sorrow for all Christians, the Greek Orthodox flock of Australia experienced the culmination of the Divine Drama with feelings of deep emotion and compuction.

In the “most Greek” Melbourne, the center of the Divine Services of Great and Holy Friday were the Holy Churches of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, in the suburb of Thomastown, and Holy Anargyroi, in Oakleigh, where the Holy Services of the Apokathilosis (taking down off the Cross) and the Lamentations were performed, respectively, presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

Thousands of believers gathered in both churches, who reverently venerated the Crucified Christ and then the Epitaphios (Burial Shroud), while chanting, full of emotion, the Lamentation Hymns and the Resurrection Beatitudes (Evlogitaria).

Everyone was moved by the presence of the Evzones procession of the Greek Presidential Guard, which accompanied the Epitaphios during its procession in Oakleigh.

At the end of the Service of the Lamentations (Matins of Great and Holy Saturday), His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia thanked all the faithful who came to the church of Saints Kosmas and Damianos (Holy Anargyroi) and addressed them with paternal wishes and blessings for a blessed feast of the Resurrection.

His Eminence especially mentioned and thanked for their presence, His Eminence Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis, His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta,  the Federal Member of Parliament, Gladys Liu, who represented the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Scott Morrison, the Leader of the Opposition in the State of Victoria, Matthew Guy, who is an Orthodox Christian of Ukrainian descent; the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr Emmanuel Kakavelakis, the Chairman of the Inter-Community Council of Victoria, Mr. Antonios Tsourdalakis, the President of the Parish of Saints Anagyroi, Oakleigh Mr Christos Damatopoulos, as well as the Officers present from Greece, who accompanied the procession of Evzones.

On behalf of the Parish – Community of Saints Anargyroi, the Parish Dean, Father George Adamakis, offered a special gift to His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, as a thank you for the fact that for the first time his expatriates from Melbourne experienced the culmination of the Divine Drama together with their Shepherd.

The gift that the Archbishop received with emotion was a special painting, inspired by the Holy Passion of the Lord, painted by the Aboriginal artist from Queensland, Mr. John Dunn. In fact, the artist was present at the church and received the personal thanks and congratulations of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

Earlier that day, during the Vespers of the taking down of Christ from the Cross (Apokathilosis) at the Holy Church of the Transfiguration of the saviour, Thomastown, the Archbishop officiated at the Vespers at the end of which he addressed a few thoughts with the congregation, focusing first on the voluntary journey of Christ to the Cross and hades, through which, as he pointed out, he teaches us to make the great transcendence in our lives and to learn to overcome death.

Referring to the events presented to us by the Gospels on Great and Holy Friday, he stressed the need to philosophise life in a different way and to consider that none of us will avoid the process of death.

“We have to think that we too will die,” he said, noting that consolidating this can help a person progress spiritually. Presenting before the faithful the hypothetical fact that “an angel comes from heaven and tells us that we have only one more day of life”, expressed the certainty that “then, the last thing that will concern us will be the deposits, the houses, the material goods or other things that we have achieved, directed or planned in this life”.

“I am sure that then we will see life in a different way and from a different point of view,” he added, urging the congregation to prefer spiritual goods over materials.

Finally, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia praised Father George for his work in the Parish of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, as well as the Archiepiscopal Vicar of the Archdiocesan District of Northcote, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta.

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