by God’s mercy, Archbishop of the Most Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Primate and Exarch of All Oceania, to the God-loving Bishops, the gracious clergy and monastic brotherhoods, to the Presidents of the honourable Administrative Committees and Philoptochos Associations, to the teachers and students in the Schools, to those who work in the philanthropic institutions and to all the Christ-loving plenitude of the Orthodox Church in Australia, grace and peace from our Saviour Jesus Christ who was transfigured on Mount Tabor.
Venerable Brother fellow Bishops and my beloved children,
The grace of the all Holy Spirit and the affectionate care and canonical concern of the Holy and Great Church of Christ, after the favourable proposal of His All Holiness, our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, have established me as the sixth Archbishop of this renowned, celebrated and historic Most Holy Archdiocese of Australia. I arrived to this blessed country of ours on the 18th June and was enthroned on the day of the holy and glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Sydney. I glorify God that I was elevated to an Archepiscopal Throne which has been extolled by the renowned and distinguished Hierarchs of the Great Church of Christ, Christophoros, Timotheos, Theophylaktos, Ezekiel and Stylianos, and whom I commemorate with gratitude, recognising their immense and inestimable contribution to the Orthodox Church in Australia and the Greek Nation.
During this period of time, since I have been here in this new Homeland of ours, I perceive that all of us, clergy and laity, live in an atmosphere of an extended Pentecost. We experience a state of continual joy, peace, enthusiasm, excitement, tears, heartfelt affability, internal freedom and renewal. The enthusiastic and heartfelt expressions of your love towards my person, since my arrival at the airport, the presence of thousands of sisters and brothers on the day of my enthronement, and following this the spontaneous and unsolicited participation of our faithful during my visitations to Perth and Melbourne, but also to all the Parish-Communities, together with the benevolent Institutions that I have visited to this today, have moved me most deeply and have created within me the certainty that all that has been taking place recently here in Australia is not the work of people, but the gift of the all Holy Spirit.
Therefore, for all your love, for your spontaneous expressions of joy and enthusiasm, for your presence at my different visits, for your laudatory public comments in your personal websites on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and in the media, for your warm congratulatory letters and your countless emails, primarily however, for your heartfelt prayers for me, I feel the need to thank you with all my heart and to assure you that your love, your words and your prayers constitute a great spiritual support for me. For all these things, I thank you wholeheartedly and give you my fatherly blessings.
I chose our first communication to take place today, as we celebrate the Transfiguration of Christ, since He, through this paradoxical event, revealed what His chief work was, bestowing at the same time, the message of regeneration and renewal. Christ took that which we had and gave us that which He had. In this spirit, we ought not talk about the Transfiguration of Christ, but about the transfiguration of humanity. On Mount Tabor, the three disciples, Peter, James and John, were the ones who, in the end, were transfigured, because their eyes were illumined and they beheld the glory of the divine person.
The work of the transfiguration of humanity already began to be realised by Christ. And Christ bequeathed this work to the Church and to the Apostles. We too, here in Australia, all together, clergy and laity, need to expend ourselves for this sacred cause. I invite you all to journey together with me in the work of Christ and the Church, which is a work both regenerative and transfigurative. I ask that we preserve our unity and that we work together for the good of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, maintaining our Greek language, our values and customs bequeathed to us by our forefathers. I mobilise your love, so that we may proceed all together for the glory of Christ, our Ecumenical Patriarchate and our Holy Church.
With these thoughts, I wholeheartedly thank you one more time, praying that you have the blessing of God in your life and in your god-pleasing works.
With the love of the Transfigured Christ and fervent paternal prayers
In Sydney, on the 30th day of July, 2019
† Makarios of Australia
1st Encyclical, 6 August, 2019.