With due ecclesiastical splendour, the holy memory of the First-called Apostle, Saint Andrew, was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady, in Sydney. In an atmosphere of spiritual joy and emotion, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, together with their Graces, Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia and Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, the Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese, Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne Christophoros Krikelis, and the other clergy and the faithful who were present at the feast day, honoured the founder of the First Throne Church of Constantinople and were transported in a noetic way and spiritually to the venerable centre of Orthodoxy, which on this day celebrates the Thronal Feast.
His Eminence spoke with words of gratitude about “that first good messenger who brought the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the parts of Byzantium”. “He planted the blessed seed of the Orthodox faith”, as he pointed out, and this seed “took root and reaped and grew and gave its rich and succulent fruit, our Ecumenical Patriarchate, the holiest and most precious institution of the Romiosyni.”
The cheerful atmosphere of the day was enhanced by the two ordinations, which the Archbishop of Australia performed during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy: that of Deacon Dimitrios Karakiozis to Presbyter and of Subdeacon Mr. Socrates Dokos to Deacon.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, in addressing advice and spiritual admonitions to the new Presbyter, referred to the paternal dimension of the priesthood and urged him to be a father to the Christians of the Parish whom the Church will assign him to serve, and to regenerate them in Christ. “Our salvation does not depend only on the acceptance of some theoretical principles that we will be taught by a teacher, and or a pedagogue”, he pointed out to him, “but mainly it is the birth into another way of being”. “And you are called to minister and serve this mystery of the other life”, he added.
Archbishop Makarios also advised Father Dimitrios that the mission he is undertaking will not be easy and effortless at all, but he is convinced that the new clergyman has the appropriate integrity to successfully face the difficulties that will be presented to him. “Use your gifts for the glory of the Church and the salvation of the people and show absolute obedience and devotion to our Archdiocese and to your Shepherd. God blesses people of unity and humility. And please never underestimate this, so that your priesthood becomes a daily work of salvation, unity and love”, he emphasised to him in closing.
In welcoming, moreover, the new Deacon Father Socrates to the priestly family of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, the Archbishop analysed the Gospel reading, in which the Evangelist John recounts the calling by Christ of the first of His Disciples. Focusing on the cautious attitude observed by the Disciples at the beginning, he countered this in paternal satisfaction that the new Deacon, in his corresponding call to enter the priesthood, knows very well who calls him and whom he must follow:
“Throughout your life you were faithful and devoted to our holy Church. You sought the presence of the Lord through the sacramental life close to your spiritual fathers, our respected Former Abbot Father Stephanos as well as the current Abbot Father Eusebios. You contributed to the work of building souls through the Sunday Schools, the Bible study groups, the camps, the activities of the Greek Orthodox Christian Society of Sydney. Until now, your whole life has been ecclesiastical, that’s why I think that you don’t need to be convinced by ‘Nathanael’s presence under the fig tree’ in order to be convinced, that is, you don’t need a miracle and a sign from God”.
Concluding, His Eminence, after expressing his joy that “a mature and settled man with serious prerequisites is entering the holy priesthood”, contented himself with giving the new Deacon only one paternal advice: May he never cease to seek Christ with great intensity and desire, so that his faith never becomes a matter of habit and routine and his priesthood a matter of transaction. “So that you don’t fall into a lacklustre and rational understanding of the Mystery”, as he concluded.
Among the congregation was, among others, the former Mayor and current Local Councillor of the Georges River City Council, Mr. Nick Katris.