On Sunday, January 10, Archbishop Makarios of Australia ordained Deacon Asterios Zouriakas as presbyter at the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation in Sydney. Metropolitan Seraphim of Sebastia, Bishops Iakovos of Militopolis and Elpidios of Kyanes, clergymen from Sydney, as well as relatives and friends of Fr. Asterios attended the service.
“With all my love I promise to fight every day for my neighbor. I promise that my pastoral ministry will be sacrificial,” said, among other things, in his address the new presbyter. “You wish, Your Excellency, to appear worthy of your expectations and those of our Church”, he continued.
He thanked his spiritual father, Fr. Kyriakos, to his parents, to the clergy, while addressing the Archbishop he stressed: “I must thank you from the bottom of my heart for the trust, for your paternal love that has transformed my life personally.”
“I glorify the Lord at this time”, replied Archbishop Makarios, “because today your childhood dream to become a presbyter and to serve the holy Altar comes true.”
The Archbishop then reminded the new presbyter that the path he had chosen was “full of thorns and trials.” “It is the most difficult way but also the most beautiful,” he noted, “Personally, I do not find a more beautiful ministry on earth other than that of the priesthood.” He pointed out that especially today, in the context of the absolute secularization that affects many people, even church ones, the priesthood became a daily challenge and in some cases a toilsome trial. Referring to the competition that prevails in the modern world and the search for worldly meaningful success that often leads to horrendous mental decline, he urged Fr. Asterios to choose to place his trust in God. “It is not important to fight for justice in the eyes of the people,” he stressed, “but to maintain a close connection with God who accepts you with your passions and weaknesses.”
In his paternal advice to the new presbyter, the Archbishop urged the new presbyter to prioritize the defense of the Church.