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Northcote: The Feast of the Veneration of the Holy Cross and the Tribute to the heroes of 1821

On Sunday, March 27, Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross, a Divine Liturgy was officiated at the Holy Monastery “Axion Esti” in Northcote, Victoria, by His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, accompanied by the Dean of the Monastery Father Spyridon Bonias and the assistant priest, Father Iordanis Krikelis, in the presence of a large number of believers.

His Grace Bishop Evmenios spoke to the congregation about the importance of the day, noting, among other things: “We are in the middle of Lent. We need help and encouragement. On the other hand, after enduring this fatigue and climbing the mountain to this point, we begin to see the end of our course and the rays of the Paschal Light becomes more intense.

Lent is the crucifixion of ourselves, it is the experience – limited of course – that we derive from the command of Christ that is heard in the gospel reading this Sunday: “whoever wishes to follow me, Let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”.

But we can not lift up our cross and follow Christ unless we look to the Cross that He himself raised up to save us. His Cross, not ours, is the one who saves us. His Cross is the one that gives meaning but also power to others. That’s what this Sunday’s Synaxarion explains to us. ”

This was followed by the officiating of the memorial service by His Grace Bishop Evmenios and Father Iordanis Krikelis  for the rest of the souls of those who fought heroically and fell during the Greek Revolution.

Then wreaths were laid at the monument in front of the main entrance of the Holy Monastery “Axion Esti”, in a ceremony organised by the board and the president of the Panhellenic Association of Greek Veterans and Reserves in Australia, Mr. Panagiotis Dourios.

The memorial service was attended by the representative of the Federal Parliament of Australia, Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou, the representative of the State Parliament of Victoria, Labor MP for the Northcote area Ms Kat Theofanous,the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne Mr Emmanuel Kakavelakis, the chairman of the Inter-Community Committee of Parishes and Communities of Melbourne and Victoria and chairman of the Organising Committee of the National Anniversary in Victoria Mr Antonis Tsourdalakis,

the president of the Hellenic Community Mr  Vasilis Papastergiadis, the president of the Hellenic RSL Melbourne Branch (Hellenic RSL) Mr Manolis Karvelas, the Associate Professor Dr. Marinis Pirpiris, representative of the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia, the president of the Pan-Macedonian Union and the Association of Thessaloniki “O Lefkos Pyrgos”, Mr Pavlos Mavroudis, the president of “Pronoia” Mrs Christina Pavlidis, the president of the Australian Federation of Pontian Associations Mrs Soumela Stamatopoulou,

the president of the Panarkadikis Federation Mr  Dimitrios Alexopoulos, the president of the Krithias Association of Australia, Mrs Christina Stampoulidis, the president of the Panarkadikos Association of Melbourne & Victoria “O Kolokotronis”, Mr Giannis Dimitropoulos, the president of the Cretan Brotherhood Mr Miltiadis Stamatakos, the president of the associations of the elderly Mr Yiannis Kostoulias, the president of the Association of Halkidiki “Aristotle the Stagiritis”, Mr Lefteris Kourtis, the Secretary of the Cypriot Community of Melbourne & Victoria, Mrs Anastasia Sarakini,

the president of the Coordinating Committee of the Cyprus Struggle (S.E.K.A) Melbourne & Victoria, Mrs Kaiti Georgiou, the president of the Palconian Brotherhood of Melbourne & Victoria “Leonidas” Mr Yiannis Mastrogianakos, the representative of teachers of the school “Oakleigh Grammar School” , Mrs Natasa Spanou, with a delegation of students, the President of the Charitable Society of the Prefecture of Kavala “Agios Silas”, Mr Panagiotis Markou, the Secretary of the Pan-Cretan Association Mrs Maria Maniou, and the director of public relations of the Bank of Sydney branch Mr Sotiris Matis.

After the Memorial Service and the laying of the wreaths, a meal was served in the reception hall of Axion Esti Monastery, where the President Mr Panagiotis Doureios thanked everyone for their presence and addressed the Consul General of Greece, Mr Emmanuel Kakavelakis, who spoke about the solemnity of the day, emphasising its importance and the enormous contribution of the heroes to the future of our country.

The reading of the message of the Chief of the General Staff of National Defense of Greece, General Konstantinos Floros, by little Eleni Kalymniou, spread a deep sense of emotion through the room.

On Sunday afternoon, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta officiated at the Lenten Vespers at the Holy Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Thomastown, accompanied by the Holy Clergy of the Northcote Archdiocesan District.

In his sermon, His Grace Bishop Evmenios referred to the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary that we celebrated in these days, emphasising the need for our actions to be in line with the will of God Almighty.

“The Theotokos had been nurtured by Her pious parents and the pious priesthood of the Temple, while she was there, waiting for the Saviour”, he stressed and continued: “Simply the announcement of His coming filled Her pure soul with unspeakable joy and heavenly jubilation.

The humble Virgin, baptised and bathed in the grace of the Holy Spirit, accepted the words of Gabriel. This saving consent is the beginning of the salvation of the world.

In a hypothetical question, if the Virgin Mary did not consent and did not accept to become the Mother of our Saviour, the incarnation of the Word would be impossible and salvation unrealised.

The Most Holy Mouth of the Mother of God at that time represented the entire human race and its anguish to be saved from the bonds of sin and the devil.

Consequently, the Virgin Mary, after the Triune God, is the person who appears in the work of redemption of the human race “.

His Grace also referred to the Feast day of the Veneration of the Holy Cross and in closing reminded everyone that from now on until we reach the feast of Pascha, we traditionally wish “a Happy Resurrection” “Καλή Ανάσταση” to everyone.


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