With splendour and religious devotion, New Year’s Day, the Despotic Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and the Commemoration of St. Basil the Great, was celebrated in the Archdiocesan District of Northcote.
The centre of the feast day celebrations was at the Holy Church of Saint Vasilios in the suburb of Brunswick, Melbourne, where the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Northcote, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta officiated.
On the eve of the feast, Bishop Evmenios officiated at the Great Vespers, while on the main day of the feast, the Bishop officiated at the Matins Service and presided over the Divine Liturgy.
On Saturday, during the Vespers service, with the blessing of Archbishop Makarios of Australia, the Church Committee and Philoptochos offered an honorary plaque to Fr. Athanasios Triantafillou and his Presvytera Konstantina, in thanksgiving for their long, 40-year ministry to the Parish, from 1983 until today.
Bishop Evmenios, thanked Fr. Athanasios on behalf of Archbishop Makarios of Australia for his ministry, not only in this particular Parish, but in general in the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, and wished him to have “many years” and to continue ministering at the holy Altar.
On Sunday morning, after the Divine Liturgy, the customary Doxology for the beginning of the new year was chanted, followed by the blessing and cutting of the Vasilopita. The coin ‘flouri’ which is baked into the Vasilopita was found by Deacon Phillip Papagiannopoulos.
During his sermon, Bishop Evmenios referred to the Gospel passage of the day and to the shepherds who met Christ, worshiped Him and returned to their flock glorifying and praising God for what they found worthy to see and hear.
“In other words, they returned to their everyday life, to their lives, but were also changed”, Bishop Evmenios observed, pointing out that “they no longer had their own plans and their own priorities, but now they had Christ at the centre of their existence and everything they did, they did it for the glory of God.” “Entering, therefore, today into the new year”, he added, “let’s do what is necessary for our daily life so that Christ becomes the centre of our existence. For Him we live, for Him, we do everything, for His own glory.”
Also, Bishop Evmenios mentioned during the tradition of cutting the Vasilopita, explaining how the pieces are cut and distributed and reminded that the first pieces belong to Christ and the Virgin Mary. Bishop Evmenios pointed out that a piece of the Vasilopita is cut in honour of the Ecumenical Patriarch, who surrounds Australia with much love, as well as a piece for Archbishop Makarios of Australia.
Present also at the above-mentioned services was the President of the Intercommunity Council of Victoria, Antonios Tsourdalakis.