His Eminence Archbishop Makarios held a special prayer service on May 24 at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady in Redfern, Sydney, to commemorate the victims of the Greek Pontian genocide.
In a short speech, which was read in Greek and English by Father Nikolaos Bozikis and Father Panagiotis Mavrommatis respectively, His Eminence spoke with emotion and pride about the culture that developed in the blessed land of Pontus, focusing in particular on the flourishing of spiritual and ecclesiastical life.
“We must pass on the cultural heritage of the Pontian Greeks to the younger generations as a legacy of all humanity, of the entire human race,” His Eminence said.
“Because, really, what existed in Pontus was something very unique… it was something wonderful.”
His Eminence then went on to note the historical monasteries and churches which dominated the area of Pontus, including the cradle of Pontic Hellenism, the monastery of Panagia Soumela, and the Temple of the God of Wisdom, in Trabzon.
He also recognised some of the great ecclesiastical figures who decorated the Pontic land, such as the last Metropolitan of Trabzon and later the Archbishop of Athens Chrysanthos, the Metropolitan of Cologne Gabriel and the Metropolitan of Rodopolis Ieronymos.
In fact, the last two Hierarchs were known personally by His Eminence during his first few years at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
“I praise God for this blessing and for the spiritual legacy I received from my acquaintance with these truly great figures, with Hierarchs representing a great tradition, Pontic,” he concluded.
The small prayer service was attended by only ten representatives from the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia, the Pontian Brotherhood Wollongong “O Diogenis,” Pontoxeniteas NSW, and Panagia Soumela Sydney.