“We are ready for the future!” was the main message conveyed at the 12th Clergy Laity Assembly of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, at the beginning of its work in Sydney, on Monday, September 25.
The participants affirmed their determination to move forward united, alongside their Shepherd, Archbishop Makarios of Australia, for the sake of Christ and the Church and to promote Hellenism throughout Australia.
More than 650 representatives of communities and clergy from all over Australia responded to Archbishop Makarios’ invitation – this is an unprecedented number, there a three times more participants than in the 11th Clergy-Laity Congress, which took place in 2013.
The Archbishop of Australia, in his opening speech, spoke of a “great and historic day” for the Orthodox Church of Australia. He praised God for having made him worthy to convene, for the first time as Archbishop of Australia, a Clergy-Laity Assembly. After commemorating all his predecessors, he promised to bring back Clergy-Laity Assemblies that would take place every four years, as it had been decided. “I am conviecied that this institution is useful and necessary for the life of the Church, as it highlights the unity and unanimity of the Ecclesiastical Body and dispels any thoughts and views on the separation between the clergy and the laity,” he stressed.
Then, the Archbishop welcomed the official guests from abroad, firstly Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, who, representing the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, performed the Sanctification service at the inauguration of the Clergy-Laity Congress and gave a greeting speech. A video message of the Ecumenical Patriarch was also screend during the event and stirred great emotion. Archbishop Makarios in his speech referred to the Ecumenical Patriarch and thanked him for the love and trust in the Holy Archdiocese of Australia and himself personally. He asked Archbishop Nikitas to convey the feelings of love and gratitude of the faithful of the local Church, as well as his devotion to the Ecumenical Throne and the Ecumenical Patriarch.