In an atmosphere of contrition and with deep emotion, the memory of the Great Martyr Christopher was celebrated on Saturday, 9 May at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Redfern, Sydney.
The Divine Liturgy was performed behind closed doors by Archbishop Makarios in the presence of the Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese, Bishop Emilianos of Meloe.
The feast day of St Christopher has special significance for Archbishop as it marks the first anniversary of his election as Archbishop of this large and historic holy Archdiocese of Australia. Exactly one year ago, he was unanimously elected by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and he was led to this fifth continent in order to dedicate his ministry to the local Church and to the Greek Orthodox flock of Australia.
Archbishop Makarios was deeply moved when he referred to the anniversary, which signalled the completion of one year since his election and characteristically said, “I cannot forget this day and I turn my mind with gratitude to our All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and to the Holy and Sacred Synod that entrusted me with such an important position in our Church” and added, “I thank them and will always commemorate them with gratitude.” He also acknowledged all the Bishops, who were represented by Bishop Emilianos of Meloe as well as all the clergy and the faithful.
“We are experiencing something that is unique and special,” Archbishop said and explained, “We the clergy and the laity are living the miracle of Pentecost. We are united in a bond of love and, despite the restrictions that prevent us from being physically together, it is praiseworthy that the people throughout this vast continent are expressing their great love for their Shepherd and await for this trial that we are facing with the coronavirus to pass in order to be able to communicate with him face to face.” Besides, it is not by chance that from the previous day, the Archdiocese has been swamped with flowers and good wishes from clergy and laypeople throughout Australia.
Of course, Archbishop also referred to St Christopher who carried Christ on his shoulders and asked that everyone imitate his example. “Let us all become Christ-bearers”, he paternally urged and did not forget to convey his best wishes to the Director of the Office of the Archbishop, Fr Christophoros Krikelis.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Makarios conducted a memorial service in memory of the first Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand, the late Archbishop Christophoros as well as the Abbot of Simonos Petras Monastery, Aimilianos of blessed memory.
Furthermore, he raised to the rank of Protopresbytr Father Anastasios Bozikis, Father Peter Mavrommatis and Father Panteleimon Hrissafis as well as announced the election of the Very Rev. Fr Christodoulos Economou to the position of Secretary of the Episcopal Assembly.