“Let him never forget the freedom that Christ gives to those who want to follow him”, commented His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia paternalling encouraging Deacon Fr. Anastasios Kalogerakis, before inviting him to kneel before the Holy Table, to become an Presbyter of the local Church.
The ordination of the new priest took place at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Sydney, on the morning of the Third Sunday of Lent: Sunday of the veneration of the Holy Cross, 27 March, 2022.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, after describing the meaning of the Feast of the Veneration of the Holy Cross, focused on the Gospel passage of the day and especially on the point where Christ called on anyone who wanted to follow Him, to deny Himself, to make a firm decision to endure every sorrow and trial, and to follow Him by imitating His example.
“This is a revolutionary speech,” the Archbishop said, but it did not seem to be understood by the people, as all the leaders who went through human history from time to time promised comfort, prosperity and material goods.
“They ruled and governed with different motives and purposes,” he observed, “but they always obliged, promised, pushed and cultivated the reciprocal logic to the people, that is, you will follow me to get something.”
They created a relationship of selfishness, enjoyment, profitability and anticipation “. “Christ is the only leader,” he objected, “who did not promise material goods and prosperity. On the contrary, he warned with a free, clear and honest speech that whoever follows Him will have sorrows, trials and a cross.
That is why. in a spirit of freedom he emphasises “He who desires”, without certainly threatening with punishments and consequences those who will choose not to follow Him “.
This spirit of freedom begged the new priest, Father Anastasios to embrace, as he would then receive the grace and authority of the second degree of the priesthood.
“Do not be trapped and never believe that you have received worldly power,” he advised. “Your power is spiritual,” His Eminence pointed out emphatically, adding that “as a clergyman you do not excel in authority, nor should you use faith to burden and spiritually and mentally burden people.”
“Christ himself set the example for us that pastoral ministry should be sacrificial,” the Archbishop stressed at another point, urging Father Anastasios to follow this example, considering that spiritual violence and coercion do not fit in the ministry of the clergy. “The shepherd tolerates, pacifies, sets an example, lives for his flock,” His Eminence underlined.
The new priest, who is a graduate of the Theological School of Saint Andrew the Apostle and has worked for a number of years for the Theological School and the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, has all the guarantees, according to His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, in order to serve with a sacrificial spirit and “to sanctify and bless our people in whatever position the Church places him”.
Also, the Archbishop congratulated him for his course and contribution so far, for his unique ecclesiastical ethos and for the mind of obedience and cooperation with the Archdiocese and with him, as his Archbishop, while thanking him for accepting the proposal of becoming a clergyman.
In closing, he asked Presvytera Pelagia and their five children to support the struggle and the work that Father Anastasios is called to perform, while providing the assurance that their family will have the love and support, both of him personally, as well as the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.