The several-day pastoral visit of Archbishop Makarios of Australia to Tasmania was a success.
The Archbishop, accompanied by the Bishop Kyiakos of Sozopol, Archdiocesan Commissioner of Melbourne, Archimandrite Amfilochios Papantoniou, Director of the Archbishop’s Private Office, Deacon Timotheos Mavrommatis and Deacon Irenaeus Koikas, arrived at Hobart Airport on Friday, June 10, where he was received by Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, the Head of the Holy Trinity Parish, Elder Demetrios Katsis, the Chairman of the Greek Welfare Centre, Stylianos Magdalopoulos, the Chairman of the Greek Community of Tasmania, Nikolaos Theodoropoulos and a large number of faithful expatriates.
During his visit, the Archbishop had the pleasure of officiating on Saturday, June 11, at the Holy Church of the Holy Trinity for the repose of the souls of the owners of the Church and all the immigrant Orthodox Christians who arrived in Tasmania, since 1878 .
At the same time, the name day of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was duly celebrated at the specially organized reception, during which Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis, Mr. Antonios Papastamatis, representative of the young people of Tasmania, and finally Archbishop Makarios spoke. All the speakers referred to the spiritual character of Patriarch Bartholomew and praised his invaluable contribution to the Church and the world.
On Sunday, June 12, the feast of Pentecost, the Archbishop of Australia presided over the Orthros, the Divine Liturgy and then the Genuflection Service, accompanied by Bishops Kyriakos of Sozopol and Bartholomew of Charioupolis, at St. George’s Church in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. At the end of the Holy Services, the Archbishop expounded on the message of the feast and stressed that the day of Pentecost is a call to unity and love for all.
A reception followed in the Greek Community’s “Greek Hall”, during which the Chairman Mr. Nikolaos Theodoropoulos welcomed the Archbishop and his entourage, while he did not fail to underline the Archbishop’s contribution to Australia during his three years of ministry. The reception concluded with a program of traditional dances by the young people of Tasmania who constitute the Cretan clubs.
On June 13, the feast day of the Holy Spirit, the Archbishop officiated at the Holy Trinity Church and during the High Priestly Divine Liturgy he ordained Deacon Irenaeus Koikas, the new Superior of St. George’s Church Hobart, to the office of Elder. In addition to the ordination of Fr. Irenaeus, Archbishop Makarios ordained the parish priest of the Holy Trinity Parish, Fr. Demetrios Katsis, as a Pastor, and Mr. Stephanos Papastamatis as a Reader. To both newly ordained men he has addressed admonishing speeches and advice on their new ministry in the Church.
The Divine Liturgy was followed by a Greek Feast in the courtyard of the Parish, which was a great success and was well attended not only by Greek Orthodox Christians, but also by many Australians of non-Greek origin.
A Divine Liturgy was also held in the Holy Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary in Launceston, North Tasmania, on Saturday, June 18, the last day of the Archbishop’s tour of the island state of Australia. It should be noted that this is the first time that an Archbishop is officiating in this Holy Church, and that is why the Greek Orthodox congregation there welcomed Archbishop Makarios with great enthusiasm and feelings of deepest respect.
The Archbishop, with his entourage, arrived in Launceston on Friday, June 17, and immediately held a special meeting with the Board of Directors of the Greek Community of the town. During the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, the Archbishop stressed the need for the Greek community to keep the language, faith, customs and traditions of the homeland, in order to pass them on as a valuable legacy to future generations.
At the same time, I have honored Mrs. Ioanna Amerikanou with the Medal of the Order of Philochristians for her long-standing contribution to the Church and the Greek community of Launceston. The Divine Liturgy was followed by a banquet in honor of the Archbishop of Australia, during which members of the Board of Directors, Bishops Kyriakos of Sozopol and Bartholomew of Charioupolis and finally the honored Bishop spoke with heartfelt words.
It is worth noting that during his stay in Tasmania, Archbishop Makarios of Australia:
He paid a visit to the Parliament House of the State of Tasmania, where he had a private meeting with the local Premier, Mr. Jeremy Rockliff, in the presence of the Minister for National Heritage, Mrs. Madeleine Ogilvie. During the meeting, the agenda included the enhancement of the renovation work of the Holy Trinity Church, the enrichment of the Greek language and Greek traditions programs and the reception of Ukrainian immigrants in Tasmania.
Invited by the Mayor of Hobart, Mrs. Anna Reynolds, I paid a visit to the City Hall, where a reception was organized in his honor, in the presence of prominent expatriates and other state officials. During the reception, the Mayor welcomed the Archbishop of Australia and his entourage from him and spoke of the presence of Greeks in Tasmania and the contribution of the Orthodox Church to the Australian society in general. The Archbishop thanked the Mayor for the welcome and reception, and conveyed the gratitude of the Greeks of Hobart for his contribution to the Greek community.
He visited Archbishop Julian Porteous of the Roman Catholic Church at the Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Palace, where they discussed issues related to religious freedom and Christian unity in the State of Tasmania. Both Archbishop Makarios and the Roman Catholic Archbishop pledged to cooperate on issues of legislation and on the relationship between religion and the authorities, which will be carried out through the local commissioner, Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis.
He had a meeting, at the Holy Trinity Church, with the Bishop of the Anglican Church in Tasmania, Mr. Richard Condie, during which issues of common interest in Church-State relations in Tasmania were discussed.
He also had a special meeting with the Chairman of the Hellenic Welfare Center of the Archdiocese of Australia, Mr. Stylianos Magdalopoulos, and his associates, during which they discussed the extension of welfare programs in Tasmania.
Furthmore, he had a special meeting with the Chairman and members of the Hellenic Community of Tasmania, Mr. Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, during which they discussed issues that concern Hellenism and the relationship of the expatriates with the Church and the local authorities.
He attended the dinner offered in his honor by the Cretan Association of Tasmania, during which the Chairman of the Association, Mr. Ioannis Chiotakis, addressed the Archbishop and of course the Archbishop duly responded.
I have visited Coles Bay and Wineglass Bay, where I have toured the area and the Tasmanian Ocean.
He visited the Cemetery at Cornelian Bay, where he performed a Trisagion for the late Fr. Christos Pamias, the first clergyman of Tasmania, Gregory Kasimatis, who had donated the land for the construction of the Holy Church of St. George, and the other expatriates, in the presence of many Orthodox Christians who arrived there to pray for the repose of the souls of their ancestors.
He visited Port Arthur, Tasmania’s historic port, where the first prisons for convicts from Great Britain, Australia’s first immigrants, were located, as well as the site of the murder of 35 innocent victims on April 28, 1996.
Finally, Archbishop Makarios had the opportunity to meet many of the expatriates living in Tasmania, who shared with him their concerns and thoughts about the future of Hellenism and Orthodoxy in the island state of Australia.