Double celebration and spiritual joy in the Holy Archdiocese of Australia
A day of dual spiritual joy for the Holy Archdiocese of Australia was January 19, the feast of the memory of St. Makarios of Egypt. Celebrated at the Church of St. Spyridon in Sydney, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia who was celebrating his name day presided over the Divine Liturgy, along with the whole local Church in this spiritual festival for the ecclesiastical event of the name day of its Shepherd. The ordinations of the Deacon Fr Stefanos Tinikasvili, as an Priest, and the Monk Fr Timotheos Mavromatis, as a Hierodeacon, gave the day the character of a double celebration for the Greek Orthodox Church of the fifth continent.
The two ordinations, as well as the subsequent ordination of Fr. Stefanos to Archimandrite, were performed by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios with many faithful in attendance, along with the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Serafim of Sevasteias, and their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia and Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta.
Prior to his ordination as an Priest, Deacon Fr. Stephanos appeared before his Shepherd and, with a strong emotional charge, delivered his ordination speech. He first expressed his gratitude to God who showed him the path to the Church from a young age in his life, while he promised to continue his ministry, serving the flock of Christ with greater responsibility. “I will remember in all the hardships I will face, the ministry that Christ Himself gave us as an example, serving His disciples and His people,” he said.
Fr. Stephanos, born in Orthodox Georgia and raised in a Christian environment, studied at the Theological School of the University of Athens and then joined the fraternity of the Holy Monastery of St George Epanosifis, in Crete. He served near Archbishop Makarios for seven years, following him first to the Autonomous Church of Estonia and later, from the summer of 2019, to Australia.
Thanking His Holiness wholeheartedly for the paternal care he has shown him, he noted, among other things: “Your wisdom and your unlimited kindness will shine like a light in my life, illuminating the way to the eternal Father. I pray to God to give you strength and the constant ability to touch the hearts and souls of many other people, so that they too can experience this paternal love and realise the importance of their existence.
Afterwards, the young Priest cordially thanked all the people who played even the smallest role in his spiritual path, making a special mention, full of emotion, of the Protocyncellus of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Very Rev. Father Christophoros Krikelis and the Archdeacon, Rev. Deacon Athenagoras Karakonstantakis. “Our Holy Archdiocese is blessed to have pious Bishops and good clergy, who voluntarily and involuntarily with their good deeds taught me to serve selflessly for the good of the Church,” he said. Finally, he did not fail to mention his family and thank them for the love and sacrifices they have made for him.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios appeared equally moved with emotion, who, addressing the Deacon and close associate of his for many years, initially stressed that “your life is a proof of the love and mercy of God, which has overshadowed you richly since your birth.” He urged the new Priest, Father Stephanos, to glorify God for His “scandalous concern” for him and to trust His will for his life and course.
His Eminence then briefly described the life and theology of Saint Makarios, focusing on and analysing his phrase: ” «there is no other way to be saved, except through your fellow-man» “, to urge Fr. Stephanos to listen to the voice of the Saint and to put his teaching into practice.
Finally, he referred to the many gifts that the new Priest embodies and urged him to offer everything to the service of the Church and to the salvation of his fellow man. “I have no doubt about your success and your spiritual progress. I am sure that you will appear worthy of the expectations of our Archdiocese and me, your spiritual father. “I thank you with all my paternal love for what you have offered so far to the Church and to my humble person”, he noted in closing.
This was followed by the ordination as a Deacon of the Monk Fr. Timotheos, who was born and raised in Brisbane, from his youth participated actively in the life of the Church, in the Parish of St. George, Brisbane and in the past year became a monk by his Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia at St. George’s Monastery, in Yellow Rock, New South Wales.
The new Hierodeacon, who will now serve as a co-worker of the personal Archdiocese Office of His Eminence, first thanked his family, parents and grandparents for the Christian upbringing they offered him and his siblings, while making special mention of his late grandfather, Costa, who, more than any other person, inspired his desire for the priesthood: “His unwavering faith, the simplicity of his heart and his love for others and the Church, especially for the art of chanting, will always be my measure of who I should be as a Christian. My relationship with him was special and his death, in 2009, left a big wound so deep inside me. “The only way I could fill it was to follow his Christian example.”
He also expressed his gratitude to all the people of the Parish of St George, Brisbane and especially to his first spiritual father, Fr. Dimitri Tsakas, about whom he spoke with very warm words, noting his great contribution and his selfless sacrifice for all.
His later spiritual father, who catalytically contributed to his inclination towards monasticism, is His Grace, Bishop Emilianos of Meloa, to whom the new Hierodeacon expressed his unlimited love and appreciation, with words from the bottom of his heart: ” Your Grace, you saved me from myself, and you showed me the way of salvation. I will always thank you for everything you did and still do for my soul “.
Finally, addressing the Archbishop, he promised to dedicate himself wholeheartedly to God, to the Church and to Himself, the Archbishop, as his Shepherd.
On his part, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios addressed to the ordinand words of spiritual instruction, quoting excerpts from the teaching of Saint Makarios. He urged him, among other things, to walk the path of salvation with kindness of soul and simplicity, free from all evil and disposition of reproach, as well as to show to his fellow man all his love and humility, subtlety and sensitivity.
In addition, referring to the persons who contributed to his spiritual progress and to the formation of his character in Christ – his parents and grandfathers, Fr. Dimitri Tsakas and His Grace, Bishop Emilianos of Meloa- he urged the new Hierodeacon to keep everything they offered you. and to strive to increase and cultivate them, not for the glory of himself, but for the glory of our Holy Church.
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