On the morning of Thursday, November 12, Archbishop Makarios of Australia had the opportunity to admire the young men and women who this year completed their studies in the third grade of Senior High School at the Greek Orthodox College of St Euphemia.
During the graduation ceremony, which took place at St. Euphemia Cathedral in Bankstown, Sydney, the Archbishop presided over the Doxology and then addressed paternal advices to the graduates, stating at the same time that He was proudly standing before them. And he said he was proud, because as he observed, they managed to cope with their school obligations in extremely difficult conditions that were a consequence of the pandemic that broke out. “Despite the difficulties you encountered,” he said, “you persevered without losing your courage or hope, having full confidence in the only one who will never leave us, our beloved Jesus Christ.” “Therefore, with young people like you entering and participating actively in society, I am convinced that we have a bright future,” he added.
The Archbishop then urged the graduates not to forget their roots, no matter what path they decide to take in their lives. “Do not forget that you are Greeks”, he stressed, emphasizing that Greek culture and the Orthodox faith do not belong to their grandparents, but to all those who come from them and therefore constitute an integral aspect of their identity. “This is the only way forward,” he added, “inspired by our past.”
The Archbishop also urged the graduates to keep unaltered the spiritual supplies and principles they acquired during their studies at the Greek Orthodox College of St Euphemia. “Whatever your successes or failures in life, you will not lose if you remain connected to the One who overcame death and gave us eternal life,” he said. “Stay united with Him through constant participation in the life of the Church and in the Holy Sacraments.” When Jesus Christ is with us, then we have everything, as Saint Porphyrios emphatically said”.
Finally, Archbishop Makarios assured the graduates that they will always have his personal support, as well as the priests of St Euphemia, Fr. Panagiotis Protopsaltis and Fr. Panagiotis Mavrommatis, as well as the teaching staff of the College. “Trust the Church and stay close to Jesus Christ,” the Archbishop urged them, wishing God to strengthen them and bless them all.
Then, he offered to the graduates an icon of the Virgin Mary with Jesus Christ, while he personally wished to each and everyone. In the end, he did not refuse to take a photo with all the young students, in memory of this special and important day.