The memory of St. Panteleimon the Healer was commemorated in a solemn atmosphere at the namesake Greek Orthodox Temple, located in the suburb of Dandenong in Melbourne.
The two-day worship events of the feast were presided over by the Archbishop Makarios of Australia, fulfilling the promise he had made to the people of the Parish since the very first time after his arrival in Australia. However, his presence at a previous feast was not possible due to the pandemic.
On the eve of the feast, Tuesday, July 26, the Archbishop presided over the Solemn Vespers, which was held in a packed church, in the presence of Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, as well as the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr. Emmanuel Kakavelakis.
On the same day, Wednesday, July 27, a Solemn Trisarchieratical Divine Liturgy was held, presided over by Archbishop Makarios and co-officiated by the Bishops of Sozopol and Kerasounta and Bishop Themistocles (Adamopoulos) of Nicopolis, of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa.
The Archbishop extended a warm welcome to the recently elected and ordained Bishop Themistocles of Nicopolis, known in Australia for his commendable missionary work in one of the poorest countries in the world, Sierra Leone. After assuring the Bishop of the steadfast support, both of himself and of the entire local Church, for the work he diligently and graciously carries out in Africa, he gave him the floor to share with the congregation his rich experience of the Orthodox Mission, to describe the conditions of extreme poverty experienced by the inhabitants of the country where he ministers, and to address words of spiritual edification to the faithful who attended Divine Liturgy.
Bishop Themistocles, in a very eloquent manner and citing a multitude of examples, presented the living conditions and the multidimensional offer of the Orthodox Church in Sierra Leone, while urging the faithful to appreciate and be grateful to God for what they have in their lives, and not to take it for granted. Concluding his address, the Bishop of Nicopolis urged everyone to help the poor at every possible opportunity, and thanked the Archbishop of Australia for opening so many doors for him to be able to care even better for all the persecuted in the distant and hard-tried country of Africa.
During his sermon, Archbishop Makarios briefly described the life of Saint Panteleimon the Great Martyr and focused on the way in which he moved from being a famous physician of his time to becoming a physician of souls, when he was taught the Christian faith by a priest and later Saint of our Church, Saint Ermolaos. On this occasion, the Archbishop asserted that we all, by our lives and by our paradigm, even when we do not immediately realize it, teach the young people and the people around us in general. For this reason, he urged parents to live by the standards they would like their children to adopt in their own lives, while he did not fail to recall the words of Christ: “you are the salt of the earth”, stressing the grave responsibility of Christians to be a role model in the societies where they live.
After the end of the worship events, the Archbishop, cheerful and approachable as always, had the opportunity to talk privately with the faithful of the Parish of St. Panteleimon. At the end of the meal, which was provided in his honor by the Executive Board of the Parish – Community, he expressed his heartfelt thanks for the invitation and hospitality, giving his blessing to all and wishing that St. Panteleimon the Healer may have mercy on them and protect them.