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Northcote: The Third Service of the Salutations at the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Thomastown

On Friday, 5 April 2024, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, Archiepiscopal Vicar of Northcote, officiated at the Service of the 3rd Stanza of the Salutations to the Theotokos, at the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in the suburb of Thomastown in Melbourne.

At the end of the service, His Grace Bishop Evmenios conveyed to the faithful the blessings and wishes of their Shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

The Reverend Hieromonk Antipas, Elder of the Iviron Cell of St Anna in Karyes of Mount Athos was also present joined in prayer, who, at the request of Bishop Evmenios, preached the holy sermon.

Father Antipas referred to the sacred personality of the Virgin Mary, initially referring to Saint Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople, who expressed the view that no one can be saved except through Her. And indeed, as Father Antipas later developed, if the Virgin Mary did not exist, people would not know the Mystery of the Holy Trinity, the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God would be thwarted, and moreover there would be no miracles of the Lord, the Crucifixion and above all His Resurrection, nor the Apostles, the Saints and ultimately the Church of Christ itself. Therefore, Father Antipas pointed out that the Virgin Mary participated more than anyone else in God’s plan for the salvation of humanity.

Also, the Elder of the Iviron Cell of St Anna in Karyes of Mount Athos, made a special mention of the attitude and conscience shown by the Mother of God after the Ascension of the Lord, when she was the support and consolation of the Apostles and humbly ministered to the first Church. He observed that, although as the mother of God she could claim a leading role, she walked in silence and modesty, with nothing to separate her from the rest of the apostles. “The Virgin Mary shows us this path, of love, respect and obedience to the Church”, he pointed out and added: “She was the first to teach the so-called church mentality”.

Father Antipas concluded his sermon with an exhortation to the congregation: “Let us love our Virgin Mary even more so!”, Because, as he emphasised: “The more we love her, the more certain our salvation is.”