In an atmosphere of unbounded love, the Clergy and Laity of St Spyridon Parish welcomed our new Spiritual Shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia and all Oceania for the very first time on Tuesday 2nd July 2019.
Upon arrival, Archbishop Makarios was greeted by His Grace Bishop Seraphim of Apollonia, Father Steven Scoutas , Father Amphilohios Papantoniou, the President of the Parish Dr Thomas Savoulis and the members of the Board of Governors.
As His Eminence ascended the steps of St Spyridon Church he was showered with rose petals by the Students of St Spyridon College as a sign of respect and love.
Having venerated the Holy Altar and the sacred icon of St Spyridon the Wonderworker, our new Archbishop and his entourage of 35, including his humble parents, Emmanuel and Photini, together with relatives and friends who had paid their own way to Australia for the Enthronement Service, were escorted to the adjoining Primary School of St Spyridon College.
There, he was welcomed by the Head of College Mrs Efrosini Stefanou and the teachers of the Greek programme. His Eminence was shown the Information Technology laboratory and the Library and promised to pay a lengthy visit to both campuses at his first opportunity after the school holidays.
The parish hall, packed with the volunteer workers of the 15 Committees of the Parish, unbeknownst to the Archbishop, awaited our new Spiritual Leader where his entry was ushered by the welcoming sounds of the didgeridoo played by aboriginal musician Mr Matthew Doyle.
Following prayer and the blessing of the table, the Archbishop was given an official “Welcome to Nation” by Aunty Maxine of the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council, a gesture that was particularly appreciated by His Eminence.
On behalf of St Spyridon College, Master of Ceremonies Mr Alex Nicolaou-Yules acknowledged the traditional land owners, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and paid respects to elders past and present.
Seated at the Official Table, apart from His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, Father Steven, Father Amphilohios and Dr Thomas Savoulis, were Metropolitan Stephanos of Tallinn and All Estonia representing His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Holy Synod, Metropolitan Constantinos of Singapore, Metropolitan Panteleimon of Maroneia and Komotini, Metropolitan Myron of New Zealand and Bishop Seraphim of Apollonia.
Following speeches of welcome and devotion by the President of the Parish and the Parish Priest, a moving surprise was in stall for our new Archbishop who hails from Crete as former St Spyridon College student and now husband, father of two children and devotee of Greek traditions Mr Michael Platyrrahos, gave His Eminence a typical Cretan welcome, dedicating to him mantinada poems and songs. This was followed by two traditional Cretan dances by the Greek Lyceum Dancers directed by Mr Takis Papapetrou.
In his closing speech, speaking in Greek and impeccable English, Archbishop Makarios expressed his admiration for all that has is being achieved by St Spyridon Parish. He thanked everyone for the flowers presented to his parents and for the gift of a hierarchical mandyas presented to himself. Finally, His Eminence promised that he would maintain a strong relationship with St Spyridon Church and College and expressed his love to all.
Following prayer, His Eminence was inundated by all present, seeking his personal blessing and they weren’t disappointed. Archbishop Makarios spent over an hour meeting each person sharing his fatherly love and giving his paternal blessing.
THE BUZZ OF MEETING THE NEW ARCHBISHOP CONTINUES UNABATED IN OUR PARISH. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HIS VISIONARY LEADERSHIP.
By Very Rev. Steven Scoutas