May 9, the day that our Church honors the memory of the glorious Holy Martyr Christopher, is associated with the history of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, as well as with the hierarchical course of Archbishop Makarios of Australia. And this is because it was on May 9, 2019, when the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, under the presidency of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, unanimously elected His Eminence as Archbishop of the fifth continent, Australia.
On the third anniversary of this important ecclesiastical event, a solemn Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Sydney, presided over by the Archbishop himself, who received warm and cordial wishes from the clergy and the faithful.
Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia, was also present in the Holy Altar, while among the congregation were, among others, the brother of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Nikolaos Archontonis, and his wife, Katerini, as well as the parents of Archbishop Makarios, Emmanuel, and Fotini Griniezaki.
The Archbishop referred with emotion to the three-year anniversary of his election and warmly thanked those who attended the celebratory Divine Liturgy. He asked everyone to include him in their prayers, “not for something special to happen in my life”, as he characteristically pointed out, “but only to do the will of God”.
The joy, due to the anniversary, and the emotionally charged atmosphere were further intensified by the elevation to Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne, of Father Christophoros Krikelis, Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, who celebrated also his name-day feast.
The awarding of the Offikion by Archbishop Makarios of Australia come about as a direction and with the permission of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in the presence of the parents of The Chancellor, Father Iordanis Krikelis and Presvytera Polyxeni, as well as his sister, Joanna.
Archbishop Makarios, after reading the official Patriarchal Letter, conveyed to the new Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne the prayers and blessings of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, while he himself, with paternal affection, advised him to always thank God for the blessings he has bestowed upon him, as well as to be aware that the highest honorable distinction he has received is accompanied by increased responsibilities and demands.
“The gifts we receive from God are not reciprocation of our own gifts and virtues, but good and pleasing works. Τηε Αρψηβισηοπ emphasized, among other things, and urged Father Christophoros to consider himself benefited by the God of love and to always be grateful.
Regarding the responsible work he has undertaken, he reminded him that every Chancellor “becomes the daily syncytium (co-worker) of the Bishop” in the sorrows, bitterness, difficulties of the administration, and the adversities that exist in all organizations, especially in the Church, which, as its two-thousand-year history testifies, is fought by both humans and the devil.
Encouraging Father Christophoros to dedicate his time, his energy, his love, and his whole existence to the Church, Archbishop Makarios pointed out that “there is no greater pain for a clergyman than to live in the Church and not love the Church”.
“There is no greater pain for a clergyman than to have a priesthood but not to experience his priesthood and consider it as a profession, where he has to complete some hours and get his salary”, he added characteristically.
“We here in the Holy Archdiocese of Australia do not want and do not applaud this type of priesthood.” The Archbishop underlined while expressing his satisfaction for the fact that Father Christophoros has most graciously fulfilled the duties he has undertaken as Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
It is noted that at the end of the Divine Liturgy, a memorial service was held for the repose of the First Shepherd of the fifth continent, Australia, the Archbishop, the Blessed Metropolitan Christophoros Knitis of Australia and New Zealand.