Tuesday, November 21, 2023, was a momentous and historic day for the Greek Orthodox Parish in the suburb of North Balwyn, Melbourne.
Archbishop Makarios of Australia paid a visit to the Parish, dedicated to the event of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple of God, and officiated the inauguration of its splendid Church.
The Archbishop presided over the Orthros and then performed the Inauguration Service. Bishops Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Evmenios of Kerasounta, Archdiocesan Vicars of Melbourne and Northcote respectively, the Protosyncellus of the Holy Archdiocese, Archimandrite Christoforos Krikelis of the Ecumenical Throne, and many priests of Victoria also attended the ceremonies.
Following the Inauguration Service, Archbishop Makarios presided over the first Divine Liturgy, co-officiated by Bishops Kyriakos and Evmenios.
During the Divine Liturgy, the ordination of the subdeacon Dimitrios Drougas took place. Upon concluding the Divine Liturgy, the Archbishop conveyed warm wishes to the faithful and dignitaries in attendance, expressing gratitude to all contributors involved in the realization of the new church. He specifically highlighted the dedication of the clergy who had served in this Parish, especially acknowledging the contributions of Fr. Georgios Kotsonis and his successor Fr. Nikolaos Vrettakos. He acknowledged their steadfast service despite limited means and resources, and the challenges posed by conflicts and divisions during their tenure.
“May God shield your Parish from all disputes,” the Archbishop wished, urging the faithful to maintain unity and love. “You are a blessed Parish, and I urge you to persist in this manner. Remember, unity, love, and peace are the hallmarks of our Church. Where there is unity, love, and peace, there resides the Orthodox Church. Where these virtues are absent, the essence of the Church and the grace of the Holy Spirit are obscured,” emphasized the Archbishop.
Finally, the Archbishop addressed Fr. Nikolaos Georgiou and congratulated him on his dedicated ministry in the Parish of North Balwyn. The Archbishop also thanked all the members of the Board of Directors and the Philoptochos Brotherhood of the Parish for their contribution to its continued progress and development.
Among the faithful who participated in this blessed day the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Emmanuel Kakavelakis, the Shadow Minister, Jess Wilson, the Municipal Councillors, Nikolaos Stavrou and Cynthia Watson, as well as a delegation of Professors of the Theological School of Apostle Andrew in Sydney, led by the Deputy Dean of the School, Filippos Kariatlis, and student delegations from the Greek Orthodox schools of Melbourne.
Translated by: Konstantinos Menyktas