The Archieratical Vespers Service was solemnly celebrated on Saturday afternoon, the 1st of August, for the Feast of the Uncovering of the Relics of Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephanos at the Church of Saint Stephanos in Hurlstone Park, Sydney.
Archbishop Makarios of Australia addressed the pious congregation and spoke of the Saint, who was the first to shed blood for the sake of Orthodoxy. In his homily, the Archbishop focused on the Virgin Mary, as we are entering today the period of the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God when the faithful are preparing spiritually to honour her.
The Archbishop stressed that the Theotokos has been honoured all over the world more than any other female person, while she has been the most important female person in Christianity in general as well as in the Orthodox Church.
“The Theotokos was praised for her humility, but also for something else that we are not aware of. I am talking about her silence,” he pointed out. “She knew that silence is more valuable than words. She knew that God gave us the gift to be able to utter words and, therefore, no one should deprive it of anyone. But the problem is when we utter poisonous words,” he said.
Finally, he urged the faithful to do the following: “If we can not be silent, just like the Theotokos, let us say positive things, let us say kind and beautiful words to each other. Let us sweeten people up with sweet words.”