With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, the Central Philoptochos of the District of Adelaide held its annual fundraising High Tea. The High Tea was generously hosted at the beautiful Cultural Centre of the Cypriot Community in Welland from 3:00pm on Sunday 17th of September 2023. The event was introduced by His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope, who opened with prayer and welcomed everyone to the event, thanking them for their support.
The keynote speaker for the event was Mrs Matina Ravelo, an accomplished speaker with many years of missionary experience in the Church, who gave an edifying address (in both Greek and English) in two parts. The first part was on the topic of the Theotokos “the Unfading Rose” – expounding her depiction in Orthodox Church Tradition and popular Orthodox culture as various different types of flowers. She made particular reference to the verses in the Akathist Hymn from which the speech’s title was derived.
In the second part of Matina’s talk, she read from a letter that St Gregory the Theologian penned as a wedding gift to a young lady named Olympiada, who was marrying a high-profile politician of the day. St Gregory’s advice was full of gentle warnings and guidance as to how a Christian woman should conduct herself in order to win her husband and those around her, and especially to avoid the pitfalls that can accompany such a public life. It was advice that was no doubt counter-cultural and challenging for a young woman of her public profile at that time, and yet full of wisdom and insight that would no doubt have greatly benefited her in her marriage and her spiritual life in general. It was enlightening to see how the challenge that St Gregory presented to this young lady has not diminished with the passage of the centuries, nor has his advice become less relevant to the women and wives of today (not to mention men/husbands too).
After Matina’s presentation, His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope also gave a brief presentation on the District of Adelaide’s exciting plans for renovating and expanding its newly acquired offices in Bowden. As a heritage site these plans present some challenges; however, thanks to the creative architectural work of Daring Digital principal Mr Photi Kazis, it is looking promising that these difficulties will be overcome. The result will be a headquarters that is well-equipped to handle its needs– a strong and fit-for-purpose base from which to serve the people of the vast District of Adelaide.
While traditionally a “high tea” is seen as an event for women only, in keeping with the District of Adelaide’s local custom this event was open for men as well. Not a few men took advantage of the invitation – and with the food that was on offer (prepared, of course, by the ladies of the Central Philoptochos), is it any wonder?! In all there were around 70 people who attended, in what was a cosy yet enthusiastic gathering –enthusiasm that was reflected in the final fundraising tally of $4,300. These are funds that – if it proves to be God’s will – will go toward the District realising its renovation goals.