In 2020, with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, the Archdiocesan District of Adelaide held its inaugural District-wide Paraklesis (Supplicatory Canon) service to the Theotokos. Held during the Dormition Fast, it has become an annual event that is a beautiful opportunity for the parishes to come together to supplicate our Lady, the Holy Theotokos, together as one Church.
This event has been celebrated every year since its inception, and its popularity led to its transfer in 2022 from its original location at St Panteleimon (Glenelg) to the magnificent Church of Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene (Athelstone), which is not only physically larger and able to cater for more people, but also features the very large and magnificent “More Spacious than the Heavens” icon of the Mother of God.
The service, which took place on Sunday, August 13, 2023, was officiated by Archiepiscopal Vicar of the District of Adelaide, His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope. The right chanters’ stand was filled with members of the St John of Damascus Byzantine Choir, while the left was comprised of the priests of the District who were present. The service was celebrated in both Greek and English and was attended by over a hundred faithful from across the District.
His Grace Bishop Silouan addressed the faithful with a homily (in both Greek and English) about the significance of Our All-Holy Lady. He talked about the paradox of celebrating our All-Holy Lady as “the Mother of Life” in the very same hymn that commemorates her death, and about her godly use of her free will to say an unambiguous “yes” to the invitation that our Lord gives to all – setting an example for all humankind to follow. It is important for us to tend to the garden of our soul, to prevent the weeds of the world from conquering us – a corruption that our Lady, through her continuous “yes” to God’s call, managed to avoid in her own life. Finally, His Grace conveyed the deepest blessings, prayers and respects from our Father and shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who wished everyone a blessed remainder of the Fast and for the feast day of the Dormition.
The service was followed by a light supper, served with love by the ladies of the Parish together with the Central Philoptochos ladies, amidst an atmosphere of Christian fellowship. His Grace took the opportunity to talk about the breadth and scope of the mission of the Central Philoptochos of the Archdiocesan District of Adelaide – including regional/missionary trips and the Archiepiscopal Church project. A “basket of love” and raffle together raised some much-needed funds to assist the District in these endeavours. It was a fitting end to a beautiful evening of Christian prayer and fellowship.