Ukrainian Orthodox Parish of St Savvas joins Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia [PHOTOS]

A moving liturgy took place at the Ukrainian Orthodox Parish and Community of St Savvas of Kalymnos in Banksia, Sydney, which has now become the first in Australia to formally become part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

The decision to incorporate all Ukrainian parishes in Australia under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia came in May after Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew voted at a synod.

Archbishop Makarios of Australia visited the Ukrainian parish for the first time on Sunday June 5 and presided over a divine liturgy, the inaugural liturgy of St Savvas Parish as part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

Upon his arrival at Kingsford Airport in Sydney, he was received by a group of Ukrainian parishioners in their traditional national dress, holding Australian and Ukrainian flags who offered him tsoureki and expressed their gratitude.

The crowd led by Fr Savvas Pizanias, Head of the Ukrainian Parish of Saint Savvas in Kalymnos, Sydney, and Mr Peter Deriashnyj, President of the Ukrainian Australian Cossack Federation and President of the Ukrainian Parish of Saint Basil in Newcastle, sang Ukrainian songs and ecclesiastical hymns, while continuing to exclaim “Axios” (he is worthy of it).

On behalf of all, the President of the Federation of Ukrainians, Mr. Deriashnyj, said: “In these difficult times that our nation and our country, Ukraine, are going through, your presence has come as a gift from God.

We are orphans and we want to have you as a father, and please never abandon us.

A moved Archbishop Makarios replied: “We will all move forward together, united, with the blessing of Patriarch Bartholomew. This ungodly and dishonest war which is the result of the method of the devil and his people will end and then we will all celebrate the freedom of the beautiful and blessed Ukraine.

Please until then pray for the war to end. I will be near you. I will be your father and the Archdiocese will be your home from now on,” he added. “I welcome you to your house, to which you normally and ecclesiastically belong.”

Later, at St Savvas Church, members of the congregation, mostly Ukrainians, were moved as they welcomed the Greek-Orthodox Archbishop for this historic unison. The official joining of Australia’s first Ukrainian parish community to the holy Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia was celebrated spiritually and in thanksgiving on the day the Church honors the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council.

In his speech at the end of the liturgy, Bishop Makarios gave a short speech and thanked the parish priest, Fr. Savvas Pizania, for his precious contribution in achieving unity within the community.

Bishop Makarios emphasized the importance of the Synod and its intention to maintain and promote unity between Christians and the Church in turbulent times and how applicable all of this is today.

Archbishop Makarios also expressed his continued support for the Ukrainian people and once again condemned the Russian invasion.

“It’s a completely mad conceit of a very sinful plan,” he said, “a plan that has forced millions from their homes and turned entire cities into rubble.”

“I hope our merciful God will put an end to this madness and restore peace,” he added.

Representatives of the Ukrainian parish of St Savvas then presented Archbishop Makarios with a special gift, a wooden egg with a depiction of his namesake saint Agios Makarios.

Also present during the day were the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr. Christos Karras; MP for Rockdale, Mr. Steve Kamper MP; the High Commissioner of Cyprus to Australia, Ms Martha Mavrommatis; and the Mayor of Georges River Council, Mr. Nick Katris.

Finally, parish members recited psalms and sang Archbishop Makarios’ Polichronion in Ukrainian.

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