On Sunday, 3 December 2023, the presentation of the photo book by the Greek-Australian documentary photographer, Effy Alexakis, with the title “The Heart of Giving”, took place in a highly emotionally charged atmosphere. The book, which is dedicated to the rich philanthropic work of the recently retired clergyman of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Archimandrite Fr Nektarios Zorbalas, focuses on the operation of the soup kitchen of the Parish of Saints Constantine and Helen in Newtown, Sydney, a life project of the Parish Priest Father Nektarios for more than three decades.
The book launch was hosted at the Church of Saint Nicholas, in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, where the long-time cleric of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia had also served for nearly a decade. Finding himself again among familiar and beloved faces, and recalling fond memories of his period of ministry in the “Greek” suburb of Marrickville, Father Nektarios did not manage to hide his emotion in many parts of the greeting he was called to address. He warmly thanked the parishioners of Saint Nicholas for the love and support they provided him, while his central message to all present was to be close to the Church and the clergy, strengthening their work.
“Whatever the priest does, your support and love multiply his strength and give him more courage to continue the work of the Church, which is multifaceted and often arduous. And when I say very arduous, I mean that it is not easy to interact with others every day and experience the pain and sorrow of each person. Each of your help and support is not only spiritual food, but also physical strength for the priest to be able to carry out his work.”
Repeatedly applauded by the audience, Fr. Nektarios also made a special mention of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, expressing warm thanks for the initiative of organising the honorary event for his humble person. His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, who wrote the foreword of the book “The Heart of Giving”, was represented at the book launch by His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia, whose address added to the warm and powerful emotional atmosphere.
His Grace Bishop Christodoulos, after conveying the wishes and blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, as well as the personal congratulations to Ms. Effy Alexakis, spoke with great love and respect for the person of the “sanctified clergyman” Fr. Nektarios Zorbalas. From the “sacred hands” of Fr. Nektarios, moreover, 44 years ago, in the holy Chapel of Saints Cosmas and Damian, in the Parish of Saint Nicholas, Marrickville, he himself received Holy Baptism.
Bishop Christodoulos expressed his gratitude for this special blessing in his life, while he in turn congratulated Ms. Alexakis for the book she dedicated to the charitable work of Fr. Nektarios. “It is difficult to speak of someone who worked so zealously within our Church. It is a course that cannot be conveyed in a book. However, Ms. Alexaki, together with her colleagues, managed to give us an idea from this offering of our good Father Nektarios”, His Grace noted.
In closing, His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia, thanked all those who have always accompanied Fr. Nektarios over the many years in the wonderful work he has accomplished, while he made a special mention, and addressed warm thanks, to the clergyman’s nieces who are constantly by his side.
The event presentation of the book “The Heart of Giving” was honoured with, among others, the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr. Yannis Mallikourtis, as well as representatives of many different Greek institutions and organisations.
Ms. Effy Alexaki’s book is available to order on the website: www.cafesandmilkbars.com.au.