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The Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Palmerston, Northern Territory

The Vespers, Matins, and Divine Liturgy were celebrated with splendour and prayerfulness at the Parish of St Savvas of Kalymnos, in the city of Palmerston, Northern Territory. It is worth mentioning that the city of Darwin was originally named Palmerston, a name that has been retained in this satellite city of Darwin. Palmerston has grown a lot in recent years where the presence of Greeks is strong. Responding to the religious needs of the faithful, our Shepherd and Father, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, decided to establish a parish in the name of Saint Savva in Kalymnos, which with the grace of God, the prayers of His Eminence, and the kind efforts of the faithful, started its operation a few months ago.

His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope, representing His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, officiated at the Vespers on August 14, and the Matins, August 15, 2023, and presided over the festive Divine Liturgy, joined by the Parish Priest, Father Christos Tsoraklidis. All the services were attended by a large number of faithful, to whom His Grace conveyed the paternal wishes and blessings of His Eminence as well as His gratitude for the work being carried out in the parish. With much joy His Grace conveyed His Eminence’s deepest appreciation to Father Christos, the Church Committee and the Philoptochos Ladies, as well as the faithful who participate and support the ministry and works of the new parish. On the Feast Day of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos, the encyclical of His Eminence our Archbishop for this great feast was read out, as well as His request for the support of our Saint Andrew’s Theological College, which is the pride of our Holy Archdiocese.

Focusing his sermon on the honoured person of the Most Holy Theotokos, His Grace praised the role of the Virgin Mary, as projected by the Fathers of the Church, a mediating and soteriological role, which is accomplished through silence and perpetual prayer to Her Son and Saviour of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ. “The Metastasis to heaven from earth of the Theotokos”, he emphasised, “is her transition to life, she who conceived the life, the rejoicing of the heavens, the one who joined the earthly with the heavenly”. The message that His Grace poignantly conveyed to the congregation is that through our reading of the Holy Scriptures, our Church attendance and our Liturgical life, we follow the example of the Most Holy Theotokos, who became the mother of our Saviour and the mother of all of us after living in the Holy Temple in prayer and silence.

In the evening of August 15th, in the hall of the Parish-Community of St Nicholas, His Grace gave a talk on “The Holy Bible in the Orthodox Church”. His Grace emphasised that the study of the Bible, although done personally, is a Christ-centred ecclesiastical event that takes place in spiritual unity with all the members of the ecclesiastical body, the Church, which is why it should be done in obedience to Church and not autonomously.

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