On Thursday, 19 October 2023, with the Blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis presided over the Vespers Service for the feast of Saint Gerasimos of Kefalonia, at the celebrating Church in Leichhardt, Sydney
In his sermon, His Grace spoke about three special celebrations this week. Firstly the Feast Day of a great Saint of our Church, Saint Gerasimos, as His Grace explained, a saint that lived a life of prayer and asceticism. A saint who was not interested in worldly things but rather developing his relationship with Christ. Bishop Bartholomew then commented that Saint Gerasimos was a saint who was not one to converse in discussion and critique, but rather a man who spoke through silence. His Grace continued his sermon by stating that although we all live in the world and not in monasteries or the wilderness, none the less, Saint Gerasimos is still very relevant for us all today. We must learn to pray more in our lives, especially with what is taking place in the world at present; praying for peace in the world. Secondly we must be inspired by the silence of Saint Gerasimos, “Today the modern person critiques their fellow brethren, we have an opinion about everything, the time has now come to be silent.”
Following this, His Grace made reference to the second celebration which we reflect on this week, that of the 30 year anniversary (18 October 1993 – 18 October 2023) of the monastic tonsure and ordination to the diaconate of our Spiritual Father and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios. His Grace reminded the congregation that the Archbishop has been serving the Church since he was 19 years old, when he left his family home to dedicate his life to Christ, which is considered unthinkable for the modern person.
After referring to the priestly journey of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, His Grace focused on the devotion with which he serves the Greek Orthodox flock of Australia since 2019, recalling among other things that he has ordained over 70 new clergy and that Saint Andrew’s Theological College in Sydney now has around 90 students. Also, His Grace Bishop Bartholomew urged the faithful to pray for the Archbishop and support him in his ministry.
Finally, Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis referred to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Parish-Community of Saint Gerasimos in Leichhardt, commemorating for their tireless efforts, the Late Archbishops of Australia Ezekiel and Stylianos, as well as the former priests of the Parish-Community who have fallen asleep in the Lord. He asked the congregation to pray for the repose of their souls.
Also, on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis thanked the Parish Priest, Father Panteleimon Toumbelekis for his devotion to the Parish, as well as the president Mr. John Mitrothanasis for his decades of service to the Parish-Community and the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
Finally, His Grace Bishop Bartholomew conveyed the love and blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia and accordingly wished all present a blessed feast day of the patron Saint of the Greek Orthodox Parish-Community in Leichhardt.