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Perth: The Resurrection Service and the Vespers of Love Celebrated with Great Grandeur

The Resurrection Service at the Church of Evangelismos in West Perth commenced at 11pm on Holy Saturday evening presided by His Grace Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea. His Grace was welcomed at the entrance of the church by the Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne, Rev. Emmanuel Stamatiou, Protopresbyter of our Holy Archdiocese, Rev. Theoklitos Tsahuridis, and the recently ordained Deacon in WA, Rev. Nicholas Kakulas.

The Consul of Greece in Perth, Mrs Georgia Karasiotou, attended the Resurrection Service together with her family. It was also lovely to see a great number of young people attending the midnight service including many non-Greeks who have recently, over the past few years, embraced the Orthodox Christian faith.

The Paschal Message of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia was recited in both the Greek and English language. In His message, His Eminence reminded us that:

“With faith, we are all invited to be eyewitnesses of the Resurrection, because faith truly leads to the miracle; or to put it better and more theologically, faith is a unique miracle, which begins with the empty tomb of the Risen Christ.”

The following day the celebrations for the great feast of Pascha continued as the bells at the Archdiocesan District of Perth began ringing at 11am calling the faithful to the Vespers of Love (Agape) and which took place at the Church of St Nektarios in Dianella.

His Grace Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea, together with the clergy of Perth, gathered in the Boardroom of the Archdiocese offices and commenced vesting as the Paschal Ninth Hour was being recited.  Once the clergy were vested, they formed a procession from the Archdiocese offices to the Church of St Nektarios chanting the triumphal hymn “Christ is Risen”.

During the Agape Service, the Gospel pericope (John 20:19-25) was read in ten languages and depicts the first appearance of the risen Lord to His disciples. Towards the conclusion of the service His Grace Bishop Elpidios thanked the readers for giving everyone the opportunity to hear the account of Christ’s resurrection in multiple languages. His Grace specifically stated:

“Christ commanded His disciples to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). For this to occur missionary workers must use the vernacular; the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a particular country or region. For this reason, we thank all who came today and read in various languages as this reminds us of how the glorious resurrection of Christ is to be proclaimed to all the nations of the world.”

The Agape Service ended with a procession of the clergy and faithful being formed back to the offices of the Archdiocesan District of Perth. The Dismissal was conducted at the reception area of the Archdiocese and red eggs were blessed and distributed. His Grace once again conveyed to all the Paschal blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

Finally, His Grace Bishop Elpidios also thanked the two Archdiocese photographers (Robi and Garth) who accompanied His Grace to the various services of Great and Holy Week.

Following the Agape Service, the faithful continued the celebration of the Resurrection in their homes amongst family and loved ones.

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