Over the last two weekends, parishioners have attended St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Marrickville, Sydney, or gathered around a livestream to watch as the ordinations of four new bishops for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia were conducted.
The new bishops are: Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta and Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis.
Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis:
On Sunday, November 22, The Greek Herald attended the ordination of the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Canberra, Bishop-elect Prochoros of Charioupolis, along with hundreds of others.
The ceremony was presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia with the assistance of over 15 clergy from across Australia, as well as His Eminence Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis, their Graces Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, Emilianos of Meloa, Elpidios of Kyaneon, Silouan of Sinope, Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Chistodoulos of Magnesia, and Evmenios of Kerasounta.
Also in attendance were a number of officials and prominent members of the Greek community including, but not limited to, the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr Christos Karras, the High Commissioner for the Republic of Cyprus, Her Excellency Martha Mavromatis, the NSW Senators, The Honourable Peter Poulos and Courtney Houssos, the President of the Inter-communities Council of Victoria, Mr Tony Tsourdalakis, and the President of the Greek Orthodox Community and Church of Canberra, Mr John Loukadellis.
The service was also honoured by the presence of the Right Reverend Bishop Malcolm Richards of the Anglican Church and Bishop Robert Rabbat of the Melkite Church.
Prior to his ordination, the Bishop-elect declared his devotion to Orthodoxy and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He also thanked a number of people who had inspired him throughout his life, including his late parents Vasilis and Lygeris.
“I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their labours. They raised me with love, faith, humility, meekness and the fear of God. They sealed my life with their instructive guidance,” he said with tears in his eyes.
Following his address, there was audible surprise within the church as Archbishop Makarios announced the new Bishop would be renamed Bartholomew, in honour of the 30 year anniversary of the enthronement of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Archbishop also praised His Grace Bishop Bartholomew for his hard work, ecclesiastical ethos and philanthropy.
Parishioners then exclaimed ‘Axios!’ (He is Worthy!) three times as His Eminence placed the final liturgical items associated with the Episcopacy on the new Bishop.
At the end of the ceremony, everyone in attendance approached the new Bishop and offered their congratulations. They received a gift in return in the form of a small cross and icon.
Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis:
On Saturday, November 13, the parish priest of The Resurrection of our Lord Greek Orthodox Church in Kogarah was ordained and became His Grace Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis. He will now assume the duties of Archiepiscopal Vicar at the Archdiocesan District of Melbourne.
On the day, Bishop Kyriakos gave a small address and referred to the time when he was ordained a priest in “The Garden of Panagia.” He remembered a phone call he received from his late mother, who thanked him for the honour he had given his parents through his priesthood.
“These words have accompanied me ever since and I ponder the importance of this honour. So, at this time, this honour belongs to my parents. I invoke their blessing and prayers today, from the heavenly Kingdom of God where they rest,” the Bishop said.
Later, Archbishop Makarios spoke about the life of Bishop Kyriakos and how it “sends a great message” of how “a life left in the hands of Christ becomes a mystery, which holds peaceful and graceful surprises.”
“The hitherto humble and lowly monk, Fr Kyriakos, who has demonstrated to have never sought any promotion or office in his life; who had nothing to do with being a “careerist clergyman,” is called today to take on the highest position – that of a bishop,” the Archbishop said.
“We thank the Triune God from the depths of our being because such clergymen exist, with your eminent qualities and spiritual calibre.”
Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta:
On Saturday, November 20, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta was ordained in a ceremony presided over by Archbishop Makarios and a large number of other Bishops and clergy.
Also in attendance on the day were various officials including, but not limited to, the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr Emmanuel Kakavelakis, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Reverend Anthony Fisher, the President of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, Bill Papastergiadis, and the brother of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr Nikolaos Archontonis, and his wife Catherine.
In his address, Bishop Evmenios expressed his thanks for his promotion and made special mention to his parents, John and Vasiliki, who sacrificed everything to offer him and his siblings a warm Christian family.
The newly ordained Bishop also mentioned the parish where he had served for 12 consecutive years, the Church of the Transfiguration of our Lord, in Thomastown, Melbourne, thanking all his faithful parishioners.
For his part, Archbishop Makarios addressed Bishop Evmenios with paternal words and spiritual counsel, stressing that the high office he is taking up is accompanied by many responsibilities and obligations towards God and the community.
Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia:
On Sunday, November 14, the ordination of Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia took place at St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Marrickville, a community of which he has been parish priest for eight-and-a-half years.
Emotionally laden during his address, Bishop Christodoulos stressed that the parish holds a special place in his heart.
“In the church where we are today, I received holy Baptism from the sanctified hands of Fr Nektarios Zorbalas. Here, I became an Orthodox Christian. This is where I took my first steps in life and faith,” the Bishop said.
“Here, my parents came into the communion of marriage. St Nicholas invited me to serve him, here. Everything began for me from here and today, my new path in the Church begins, again, from here.”
For his part, Archbishop Makarios, who presided over the ordination, urged the newly ordained Bishop to walk the new path of his life with love for his brethren and to remain faithful to the principles and ethos of the Orthodox Church.