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Ordination of new Deacon in the Archdiocesan District of Northcote, Victoria

On Saturday, the 2nd of July, on the feast day of the Deposition of the precious robe of the Theotokos, during the Divine Liturgy at the Archiepiscopal church Axion Estin of the Archdiocesan district of Northcote in Victoria, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, with the permission and blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, ordained Mr. Phillip Papagiannopoulos, a graduate of St. Andrews Theological college, in Sydney to deacon.

During the delivery of his speech, Deacon Phillip gave thanks to His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia for His abundant love. He said:

“Today, with the help of God, I stand before the Altar of God, to receive ordination into the diaconate. With the blessing and permission of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, by Your honourable hands, Your Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, I will begin this new spiritual journey in my life and also become a member of the family of clergy of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.

Firstly, I would like to give thanks to His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who gave his blessing for my ordination.

His abundant love has truly inspired me to take this next step in my life and to serve our church. I offer gratitude to Christ who has brought His Eminence here to Australia, to shepherd his flock and give life to our church.

From His arrival, He is and continues to be the light in this dark and lonely world and the light for all those who have estranged from the church and Christ. I thank the Lord for allowing me to receive  His guidance. I promise His Eminence to humbly strive to always uphold the Holy teachings and traditions of our Holy Orthodox Church.

I promise to serve the people, and to dedicate my life to our Mother Church, which in its love and understanding, has directed me to this very moment. “The life in the Church isn’t just the Sunday Liturgy, but also the experience of the daily struggle in which one tries to dedicate their entire mind, body and soul to the Lord”. These words are the cornerstone of my spiritual journey told to me by His Grace when I first met Him nearly 10 years ago. His Grace has instilled and embedded this in mem that is the true ethos of our Orthodox Church. That the Christian life, specifically life of a clergyman, is a life filled with trials, tribulation, and work.

To work is a blessing, and to be a clergyman is to work. As difficult as it may be, I will never stray away from it. Because as you have taught me, people matter.

Love matters. To try matters. Whatever may happen I will always be grateful for the wise lessons you have taught me.”

In response to the newly ordained, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, said: With the permission and blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia our father, Shepard and Geronda, you stand before the Lord today in the presence of me, your spiritual father, in the presence of your family, your friends, your co-workers, and the entire congregation, and you stand before us all, as a true son of the Church who is ready to dedicate His entire life to the service of God. You are surrounded by the prayers of the people of God and the intercessions of the saints depicted in the great cloud of witness that adorns this Holy Temple. These prayers will uphold you and embrace you not only today but throughout the course of your entire ministry if you will but seek them out and be open to their abundance in your life.

Amongst many things His Grace in His Counselling message said, “as a deacon of the Church, you will serve the tables of the faithful like the original seven deacons known to us in the books of ACTS. However, these tables are not tables that we set up to sit and enjoy a meal. The tables that you will serve are the Holy Tables of the Divine Liturgy where the food is Christ’s own Body and Blood. Christ says Himself, indeed my flesh is really food that nourishes, and my Blood is truly a drink that quenches. This ministry you enter is a service that speaks of trembling and awe, of love and passion for the mysteries of God.  I council you my beloved Sub-Deacon Phillip, that you embrace this ministry with all the Holy dread and veneration that you can master. I have no doubt that you will do exactly this.

I council you, I advise you, as you take these steps around the Holy Altar today, and we implore the intercessions of the Holy Martyrs, as we glorify our one true God and Holy Trinity, and we confess the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God I advise you to remain humble in your heart and meek in your spirit.

The Lord promised that the meek would inherit the earth, you have exemplified these virtues in your conduct and in your life. They will be your guide as you walk forth to serve the Lord. Hold fast the words of St John the Forerunner, “He, our Lord, must increase but we, I and you must decrease.” If you do this, you will be well pleasing to the Lord, and you will reflect the Light of Christ in your life. So now, arise in your heart and ascend the throne of Grace that you may obtain His mercy and find grace to help you in time of your needs.”