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Church

Archbishop Makarios on the Centennial of the Archdiocese of Australia

SYDNEY – His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia on the occasion of the centennial of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia issued an encyclical message regarding the history of the Archdiocese, its current course, and its journey  into the future with the recent granting of the new charter establishing an Eparchial Synod.

Archbishop Makarios wrote among other things: “Following the sacred tradition and ethos of our ancestors, we ceremoniously celebrate the anniversaries of historical events which have been significant and decisive for the advancement of the Church and the Greek People. One such important anniversary presents itself resplendently before us with the dawning of the month of March of this year, according to which one hundred years are fulfilled since the establishment, by the ever-remembered Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory, of the then-Holy Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand (March 1924-March 2024), subsequently elevated to The Holy Archdiocese of Australia (1st September 1959). “Two years before its establishment, under the Patriarchy of Ecumenical Patriarch Meletius IV (March 1922), the ecclesiastical eparchy of the Fifth Continent was reinstated to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, following the lifting of the concession to the Church of Greece with respect to its canonical right of protection and oversight within Australia. This is the point of time during which a change of ontological proportions takes place in the course of the Orthodox Church in Australia.

It is rather unlikely that the protagonists of the events of that period would have realized the historic magnitude and significance of the moments they were experiencing. We, however, today, are in a position to know and to have fully understood just how blessed and catalytic – for the future advancement of Orthodoxy in Australia – was the inclusion of our local Church within the spiritual shelter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which protected us during difficult times, ensured the consolidation of the faith of the Greeks in Oceania, healed on countless occasions the liturgical, spiritual and social needs of the immigrants, and during these times directed the Chief Shepherds of Australia in their ecclesiastical, educational, national and salvific work.”

Regarding the new charter, the Archbishop wrote: “The new Constitution of our Archdiocese is the fruit of the cooperation of my own humble person with distinguished Professors of Canon Law of the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Prof. Theodoros Yiangou and Rev. Prof. Chrysostomos Nassis. It has been approved by their Graces the Bishops who serve within our Holy Archdiocese, by the members of the Archdiocesan Council, but also by a group of experienced lawyers, led by the most honorable Archon of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and distinguished Lawyer, Dr. Nicholas Papanastasiou, so as to satisfy the demands of the legal order of the Commonwealth of Australia, within which we operate.

“The new Constitution comes to replace its outdated counterpart of 1959, to attend to the modern needs, which have naturally arisen after the passage of so many decades, to cover many gaps created by the increase of the population and the establishment of many of our institutions and organizations and, finally, to institutionally secure, even more so, the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in relation to the Australian authorities. The most important change introduced by the new Constitution is that the governance of the Church will now be exercised by the Holy Eparchial Synod, at which the incumbent Archbishop will chair and at which all Bishops who serve within our Archdiocese will take part and will henceforth be called Regional Bishops [‘Chorepiskopoi’]. This new situation is a milestone for the ecclesiastical reality of Australia, as it introduces a system of governance which corrects past dysfunctions and aligns with the ecclesiological and canonical imperatives of the Orthodox Church.”

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