In an atmosphere of spiritual joy and emotion, on Tuesday, 9 May 2023, four years since his unanimous election by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Archiepiscopal throne of Australia (May 9, 2019), Archbishop Makarios of Australia officiated at the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady in Sydney, in the presence of a multitude of Hierarchs, clergy and faithful, who came with reverence and filial love to wish their Shepherd well.
More specifically, on this joyous occasion for the local Church, also present were, Metropolitan Seraphim of Sevasteia, Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, Bishop Emilianos of Meloa, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta and Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, as well as the Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese, Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne Christophoros Krikelis, Clergy from across Australia and monastic brotherhoods, the Consul General of Greece in Sydney Yannis Mallikourtis, as well as presidents and representatives of Parishes-Communities, Organisations, and Associations of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
Archbishop Makarios spoke with emotion on the anniversary of his election, declaring first of all that he will never forget those days in the martyred and crucified Phanar, hastening to express his gratitude to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy and Sacred Synod concerning him for the trust they showed in his person.
He then offered a message of encouragement to all, emphasizing the value of striving for progress even through trials and difficulties. Expressing the belief that the Orthodox Church of Australia is moving forward, not without problems and difficulties, he underlined that this is the message of Christ and the Holy Gospel to every person and every church organization.
As he pointed out: “When someone moves forward, it does not mean that they do not have problems or difficulties. But what the Church teaches us is to have joy while going through difficulties and trials. To march and move forward, without difficulties, which are many and every day, to keep us stagnant or hold us back. This “forward” is a way of life and we have to teach it to ourselves. Because the devil hates progress in the Church and makes every effort so that there is no progress. When there is progress, the devil reacts as if posing a great existential crisis”
Moreover, a typical example of how one can move forward, despite the excessive difficulties he faces, is the venerable Centre of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “You see that the Patriarchate, despite having difficulties, nevertheless moves forward and overcomes everything”, the Archbishop emphasized and added: “And not only does it move forward, but this little Patriarchate of ours is the heart that beats and gives blood to a whole body that is spread over the whole world. And this body is the body of the Orthodox Church.”
His Eminence did not fail to properly wish the Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese, Archimandrite Christophoros, and the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint George Yellow Rock, Archimandrite Ieronymos, for their patronal name day celebrations, while on the occasion of the commemoration of the Holy Great Martyr Christophoros, he performed a Trisagion Memorial Service for the repose of the soul of the first Shepherd of the fifth continent, the blessed Metropolitan Christophoros (Knitis) of Australia and New Zealand.
Referring to the person of the ever-remembered Hierarch, he recalled that at the time he arrived in Australia, in 1923, he found only 12,000 Greeks and ten clergy. And he praised God for the great progress, both quantitative and qualitative, that he has achieved then for the Holy Archdiocese of Australia and for Hellenism on the fifth continent.