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.
Venerable Brother fellow Bishops and my beloved children,
As you already know, at the behest and commendation of His All Holiness, our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and at the recommendation of our own humble person, the Holy and Great Church of Christ, worthily and justly elevated their Graces in Australia, Bishop Seraphim of Apollonias and Bishop Nikandros of Doryleum, who laboured for many years in the vineyard of the Fifth Continent, to Metropolitans of Sevasteia and Eirinoupolis respectively. The intention of His All Holiness our Patriarch, but also our own, was to honour, in the same way, His Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Derbe, a brother worthy and respected in all things, by a similar such promotion. In contrast to the two aforementioned brother Hierarchs, who accepted this proposal of promotion at once, and voluntarily resigned from their administrative positions, His Grace Bishop Ezekiel declined, preferring rather to continue his ministry in Melbourne, “next to the new Archbishop”, as he stated repeatedly.
I personally congratulated the two aforementioned brothers on behalf of all of us, namely the gracious clergy and the devout flock of our Holy Archdiocese of Australia. I was present at their election and I advised both to continue to remain with us in Australia. In this regard, His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Sevasteia, formerly bishop of Apollonias, stated that he would continue to reside in his home in Sydney, whereas His Eminence Metropolitan Nikandros of Eirinoupolis stated that he would like to continue to dwell in the Archdiocesan residence in Adelaide, where he resided up till now. Permission for this was given wholeheartedly.
I am certain that the presence of the two fine brother Hierarchs in Australia is beneficial for our Church, and I firmly believe that only positive results are able to emerge from our good and brotherly collaboration. For this reason, I urge all of you to continue to invite the two brother Hierarchs to your parishes on your feast days, to your school and community events, as our own humble person will do, inviting the two fine and honourable Brothers to all significant events of our local Church. Honour, in like manner the aforementioned Hierarchs, and respect their immense past contribution here. I believe that their longstanding ecclesial experience, but also their love for the local Church are able to contribute positively to the advancement and successful progress of the godly aims and objectives of our Holy Archdiocese. I consider their presence to be invaluable to us.
Likewise, I would like to inform you that, within the framework of the administrative reorganisation of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, resulting from the vacancies in the administrative positions created from the promotion of the new brother Metropolitans, we undertook the following decisions:
- The Very Reverend Archimandrite, Father Evagrios Koutouzis has been appointed the new Vicar-General (Πρωτοσύγκελλος) of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
- His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis has been appointed the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Brisbane.
- The Very Reverend Archimandrite, Father Elpidios Karalis has been appointed the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Perth.
- The Very Reverend Archimandrite, Father Silouan Fotineas has been appointed the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Adelaide.
- The Very Reverend Archimandrite, Father Evmenios Vasilopoulos has been appointed the Archiepiscopal Vicar of the newly established Archdiocesan district of Northcote in Victoria.
- The Very Reverend Archimandrite, Father Thalassios Voultsidis has been appointed the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St John in Perth.
- The Reverend Deacon, Father Athenagoras Karakonstandakis, recently made Archdeacon on the 27th October, has been appointed the Director of Finance.
- The Reverend Deacon, Father Christophoros Krikelis has been appointed the Director of the Personal Office of the Archbishop.
- The Reverend Deacon, Father Stephanos Tinikasvili has been appointed Archivist.
The new co-workers of our Holy Archdiocese are distinguished for their ecclesial ethos, hard work, their dedication to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the local Church, their self-sacrifice, their theological education, their spirituality and their love towards their fellow human beings. For this reason, we are certain that they will show themselves worthy of the expectations of the Church and their Shepherd.
My paternal wish and Archiepiscopal hope to all of you is that you support the abovementioned clergy in their difficult task, working with them for the glory of Christ and the advancement of the work of our Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
With these thoughts, wishing you strength from God in your god-loving ministry and in your life, I remain, with much love in Christ and paternal blessings.
In Sydney, on the 28th day of October, 2019
† Makarios of Australia