His Eminence Archbishop Makarios gave another moving address on the weekend, at the Melbourne Cretan Village’s Australia Day dinner on January 26th.
His Eminence began his speech commemorating the tragic losses caused by the devastating fires, while praying for rain.
His speech was mainly focused on the initiatives and projects of the Australian Archdiocese for the coming year and the need to respond to the struggles of the new generation of Greek diaspora.
The Archbishop’s biggest focus was on the local Youth Conferences and National Youth Retreat.
“I want to give our children the opportunity to speak to me. I want to hear from the young people,” said His Eminence.
The proceeds from the Australia Day event in Melbourne were donated to the Greek Orthodox College of St John.
It is noteworthy that during the official dinner, a donation of $50,000 by the Melbourne Pancreas Association was announced to support the operation of St John’s College.
Drug rehabilitation centres
Further, His Excellence Archbishop Makarios referred extensively to the Australian Archdiocese’s initiative of opening Youth Drug Addiction Centres, under the name “ELPIS” aka, hope.
“Unfortunately, many of our children are lost to drug use,” he observed with a heartache, adding: “Many times they are trapped by a fairy tale, trapped in a fake dream, wasting their lives looking for a door to open to fill their salvation with serenity. But then they find that they have been led to deterioration because they have pursued a perverse dream.”
“We need to help our children,” he said, emphasising “there is the possibility of a return to drugs. We cannot be indifferent. So, with anxiety, soul pain and pastoral responsibility, we announced the establishment of two rehabilitation centres.”
The first rehabilitation centre is opening in Melbourne, thanks to the donation of Mr Nicholas Andrianakos, who provided a plot of land and an additional $1 million.
During the event, His Eminence bestowed 21 people with badges of “order of Philistines”, which honoured citizens who served the local church.
Mr. Nikolaos Andianakos and Mr. Onofrios Gorozidis, who donated of the plot at “Mount Mela” for the construction of a male monastery, were among those who received recognition.
Investment into the Greek Orthodox College of St John and St Andrews Theological School
When His Eminence announced the continuation of Melbourne’s Greek Orthodox College of St John, he added:
“From the first time I visited the school, I realized this was a special and blessed place. That’s why I immediately announced that St. John’s School would not be closed,” he continued, “and that I would support it and take it personally. And so it is. A new board has been appointed, a new headmaster and the school is starting this year with an additional 46 new students.”
In addition, His Eminence referred to the design of the Archdiocese for St. Andrew’s Theological School in Sydney.
“Our School of Theology must go a step further,” he said, “and obtain the proper building infrastructure that will be worthy of its purpose and its sacred mission.”
For this reason, he said, new buildings will be built for the Theological School, with assistance from St Basil’s. The organisation, commonly known for nursing homes, donated a plot of land in Lakemba to house students of St Andrews Theological College during their years of study.
“This is a project of over $ 10 million, which will give new impetus to Orthodox Theological Education here in Australia,” while thanking all those involved in St Basil’s.
His Eminence’s closing sentence was reflected on unity during current hardships. “Unity between us is not a luxury or a matter of choice. It is a necessary element, because unity belongs to the nature and the personality of our Church,” he said. He also urged Greek diaspora to love one another and have love for the land, which is currently being tested in Australia.