“You are the future of our Church and your devotion to our faith is a precious gift to the world,” emphasised His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia speaking before the student community of St. John’s Greek Orthodox College, Preston, Melbourne.
His Eminence visited the College facilities on Monday, 14 August 2023, accompanied by Their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta. His Eminence was welcomed with great joy and enthusiasm by the students of the College, together with their Principal, Mr. Andrew Ponsford, their teachers, members of the Board of Directors and its President, Fr. John Frangos, and many parents. In the large hall of the College, where the holy Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos was placed, the Archbishop chanted the Holy Supplicatory Canon, while a choir of students under the direction of Mr. Vaios Anastasopoulos, rendered melodically the hymns of the Service.
At the end of the Supplicatory Canon, His Eminence spoke with paternal words to the young students, recognising their significant role for the future of Hellenism and Orthodoxy in Australia and urging all the children to remain committed to the faith and ideals of their ancestors. To achieve this, as he pointed out, as they continue to grow they should remain close to the Virgin Mary, embrace her like a loving mother and follow the example of her life. “The Virgin Mary is not only the physical Mother of Christ, but she is also the spiritual Mother of all believers. Therefore, her intercessions and prayers for us are a source of strength and consolation and lead us closer to Christ. The bond between the Mother of God and her Son is a reminder of Christ’s connection with each and every one of us”, he underlined.
Also, during his homily, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios presented and analysed theologically the content and meaning of the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, explaining in simple and understandable terms that death, in secular terms, of the Virgin Mary is a source of great joy and hope for humanity, not sorrow and grief. “One may wonder why we rejoice in a death. We rejoice because the “death” of The Mother of God was not the end, but marked a new beginning. The Virgin Mary was translated to heaven and is still with us. As the mother of the living God, she is also alive and among us,” he explained.