by Fr Christophoros Krikelis*
On the Feast Day of the pre-eminent Apostles, Saints Peter and Paul, our Holy Archdiocese of Australia, all united with one mind, heart, and soul, joyously celebrates the three-year anniversary since the enthronement of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, as Primate and Chief Shepherd of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
With sentiments of sincere joy and gratitude, we take this opportunity to express, to His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, our warmest and most heartfelt wishes, and to honor this auspicious day on which He assumed the helm of the Church three years ago as a radiating gift and beacon of the Light of Christ here in the Antipodes.
Undeterred by the manifold and unprecedented set of challenges, He has continued to lead the Church with faithfulness, unparalleled devotion, and extraordinary vigilance into the serene and sheltered harbor of our Lord’s open embrace and loving presence.
Indeed, all that His Eminence Archbishop Makarios has undertaken to accomplish, from the very first moment of his arrival, can be characterized by a righteous desire to behold the faithful people of God united more intimately with Christ—the true source of overwhelming joy and deeply-felt peace; united with one another which has meant healing old dividing wounds which have marred the Church’s catholicity; and also and most importantly, united in closer fellowship with the martyric yet ever-glorious Mother Church of Constantinople.
In such a short span of time, he has worked tirelessly, as a genuine Father, to intentionally strengthen and bring about this vision of fellowship with just under sixty ordinations alone placing newly ordained ministers—his spiritual children—all inspired by his ministry of love and desire for unity themselves—in much-needed positions to make the heavenly gift of fellowship and the radiating light of Christ an even stronger reality.
What greater joy for a Spiritual Father than to behold his spiritual children casting light in a world often clouded over and in need of His comfort and consolation.
What greater privilege than to be a part of the Church being reinvigorated in the service of Christ’s ‘ministry of reconciliation (2Cor 5:18). Like Abraham in the Old Testament, the faithful can look around and “count the stars”—those spiritual descendants from the spiritual lineage of His Eminence—reassured by the unfading light which leads to God’s righteous kingdom (cf. Gen 15:5).
With nothing to give in return to His Eminence for the gift of true spiritual Fatherhood, we remember the words of the prophet Daniel who wrote: “those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars [shall shine] forever and ever” (Dan 12:2).
We pause to give thanks and glory, first and foremost, to our gracious God for the bestowal of His boundless gifts to His Church here in Australia, but most importantly, for His pre-eminent gift in sending to us a genuine Father and Shepherd in Christ, who, as a beacon radiating out the true light of our Lord, has worked tireless throughout all of Australia, to make the presence of Christ our God a reality. We give voice also to our gratitude to His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and to the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for their solicitude to the Church here in Australia in their God-inspired election.
We pray that our loving God will continue to grant our Archbishop and Shepherd in Christ many blessed years in his difficult yet sacred mission in the service of Christ so that He may continue to guide the Church, strengthen the faith, rightly teach the Word of truth, and grant the peace, the joy and presence of our Lord here in the Antipodes.
*Fr Christophoros Krikelis is Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia