SYDNEY – âWe Orthodox have a history of two thousand years. If during these two thousand years the Orthodox Church did not have an ecumenical patriarchate, it should have created it. Because she could not have done otherwise. I cannot imagine the Orthodox Church without the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It cannot exist! Despite what is said and heard; despite the voices, the cold and icy voices of the north; strange voices; voices of secularization, there can be no Orthodox Church without the first of Orthodoxy, who is the Ecumenical Patriarch.
The above words were communicated by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia to the faithful in St Spyridon Parish, Kingsford, Sydney, emphasizing the historic role and sacrificial contribution of the Mother Church. His Eminence presided over the Hierarchical Concelebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Parish, which celebrated its patronal feast on Sunday, December 12, with Bishops Iakovos of Miletoupolis and Kyriakos of Sozopolis.
Before the procession of the holy icon of Saint Spyridon, he elevated the parish priest, Father Steven Scoutas to the rank of protopresbyter of the ecumenical throne. âThis distinction is the culmination of a lot of effort, many struggles, enormous contributions, obedience, devotion and sacrifice,â he said, addressing Father Steven, while urging the faithful to be faithful and devoted to the mother Church and to show their love for the Church. Ecumenical Patriarch and Holy Synod.
This was preceded by the moving address of the Honorable Pastor who, with great gratitude, thanked the Archbishop for his offer to receive the office of Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne, as well as to His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew for to have conferred on it the highest distinction. . Father Steven recalled with emotion an image that sealed his child’s soul in 1964: it was the first historic meeting of the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras with the then Pope of Rome, Paul VI. He then referred with filial respect and love to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whom he deemed worthy to have met during His Holiness’s two visits to Australia, the first as Metropolitan of Philadelphia, and during his pilgrimages to the Phanar, the Center of Orthodoxy. Fr. Steven, after dedicating the distinction he received to his parents in blessed memory, Sava and Maria, thanked Presvitera Panagiota for his support for many years, as well as his parishioners for their immense love, while emphasizing finally that, âsince childhood, I have adored and I will remain until my last breath, defending the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The clergy and laity wholeheartedly wished the new Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne good luck, while the cry âWorthyâ was heard loudly, for the second time in the church. Earlier, those present at the Divine Liturgy were blessed to observe the ordination of Chris Baghos to the deaconate, the first degree of holy orders, and who begins his ministry as a deacon alongside Father Steven, at the historic church. of St. Spyridon, Kingsford.
The new deacon received fatherly and spiritual advice from his shepherd, who begged him to be inspired by the example of the honored saint and patron of the parish he will henceforth serve. After briefly describing the life of Saint Spyridon and developing the miracles he performed, emphasizing the moving event with his miraculous intervention at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, His Eminence pointed out that the entire life of the saint âTeaches us that man’s relationship with God is defined as a relationship of love. âWe love God freely and without selfishness,â he noted, âor, as Saint Pasios the holy Athonite monk would say, we love God as if there is neither hell nor heaven. This means that we do not love him for fear of the punishment of hell. But also, we don’t like it to go to heaven. It is true, selfless love that determines our relationship with God.
Addressing the ordained, he exhorted him: “Bring your neighbor, each neighbor, into communion with Christ”, adding that “if you cannot do this, at least do not become a barrier for someone to other cultivates a relationship with the living God. The life of Saint Spyridon teaches us that we will win man by our humility and by dying to ourselves â, he stressed elsewhere and continued:â We will win it by putting ourselves in the place of the one who has sinned and done wrong. By putting ourselves, in a decisive way, in the place of the need of the other. You will help the Church and the world when you show solidarity, understanding, compassion and love, not condemnation and control over your neighbor. “
“I have no doubt that you will succeed,” said the Archbishop then, acknowledging the new deacon, “you have a secular education but, above all, you are adorned to have been brought up in a life in God.” He described it as a blessing that he will serve through Father Steven Scoutas, while he closed his speech with the exhortation: âMinister with love and leave your mark with a heart that bleeds with compassion for your neighbor. “.
For his part, Father Chris, with many members of the family who observe him with visible emotion including his wife Elleni, assured that he will do everything to meet the expectations of the Church and of his Shepherd. âI want to emulate your example of love throughout my ministry. Above all, your desire to create and maintain a space for everyone in your heart â, he underlined, among others, addressing himself respectfully to Archbishop Makarios.
He thanked Father Steven, as well as his predecessor, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Amphilohios Papantoniou, while stressing that the warm welcome he received from the Parish Council and in particular from the President, Mr. Elias Economou, is a source of encouragement. for him.