Australia’s recently-appointed Greek Orthodox Archbishop Makarios is arriving in Melbourne on Saturday.

The official program of the Archbishop’s visit was released on Tuesday and is jam-packed until his departure on Tuesday 15 August.

He is scheduled to land in Melbourne on Saturday 3 August at 11.00 am, and will be formally welcomed by the clergy, dignitaries and faithful with an official doxology at St Eustathios Church in South Melbourne.

Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis, who is in anticipation of the Archbishop’s visit, revealed that it was requested His Eminence be in Melbourne for the feast day of the Dormition of the Theotokos, a particularly sacred time for the Orthodox community.

READ MORE: Programme on Archdiocese site

“It is the first time Archbishop Makarios will be visiting Melbourne, which is certainly the Australian city most densely populated by Greeks. Our dearly departed Archbishop Stylianos always characterised Melbourne as having a Greek manner, and now our new Archbishop is coming to see our Greek Melbourne; to see the Greek community, to see our lives, to see our works, to see the way we continue to live as Greek Orthodox Christians with deep faith and pronounced love for our homeland,” Bishop Ezekiel said

“He will visit a number of parishes, where he will perform ecclesiastical and divine liturgies. His wish is to see as many things as he can in all areas, and so he will meet with a lot of people, visiting a number of institutions and communities of the diaspora.”

The Archbishop’s program includes Neos Kosmos’ Head Office, the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, the Hellenic Museum, 3XY Radio, TA NEANewspaper, as well as the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia, among others. He will also be visiting Alphington Grammar, Oakleigh Grammar and St John’s Greek Orthodox College.

READ MORE: Archbishop Makarios meets with Sydney’s Imbriots

While in Melbourne, the Archbishop had organised meetings with the Consul-General of Greece in Melbourne Dimitrios Mihalopoulos, Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau, State Opposition leader Michael O’Brien, along with plans to meet with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, which has yet to be confirmed.

Excitement and preparations

President of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis, said that he was looking forward to the primate’s visit to the Greek Centre. “We had the privilege some years ago to have Archbishop Stylianos make his first visit to the Greek community of Melbourne. That visit marked a turning point in the relationship between the Greek community and the Archdiocese.” The visit to Melbourne represents “a continuation of our excellent relationship but also the start of a new path of collaboration and friendship.”

Churches around Melbourne are also preparing for the visit.

Father Peter Alexandros from St Nicholas, Yarraville, told Neos Kosmos that the church will be hosting a special welcome celebration at 6.30pm Saturday and is urging those from the Greek Orthodox community to attend. “The celebration will include ‘Paraklisi’ supplication to the Holy Mother. We are very honoured to have Bishop Makarios visit our community and will welcome him with open arms,” Father Alexandros said.

Father George Frangos, the parish priest of the Dormition of Our Lady in Altona North, points out the importance of the visit for Greeks of Melbourne. “We await him with much love and anticipation, having seen the significant impact he has had already, with the people of Sydney and Perth whom he has already spent time with and visited,” Fr Frangos told Neos Kosmos. “We await to receive his blessing, to hear his kind words of wisdom and to be partakers of the unconditional love he has shown for all.”

Meanwhile, North Altona parish school president Christos Dimitriou expressed his delight that His Eminence will be visiting the region on Wednesday, with events planned to show the newly-anointed Archbishop that he is among friends. “‘Your Eminence, you are not in an unknown place among strangers, but among Greek friends who love their country, church and Archbishop,’ is the message we want to give,” Dimitriou said.

READ MORE: ‘A Caring Father, An Honest Brother and A Sincere Friend’ – Archbishop Makarios Enthroned in Sydney

For those wishing to greet Archbishop Makarios upon his arrival at the airport, Bishop Ezekiel said they are welcome to do so, but must be mindful as the airport authorities advised the Greek church about safety restrictions.

“My message is for the faithful to come to the official reception at St Eustathios,” he said, though he is not stopping anyone from greeting the archbishop at the airport provided that safety restrictions are complied with.

READ MORE: Archbishop Makarios feels ‘blessed’ to be coming to Australia


3 August
11am Archbishop arrives at Tullamarine airport
1.30 Official doxology and formal welcome of His Eminence at St Eustathios Church, South Melbourne

4 August
7.30am Divine liturgy at St Eustathios Church, South Melbourne
12pm Lunch at St Eustathios Hall
6.30pm Great Paraklisis Service at St Nicholas Church, Yarraville, followed by dinner at the parish

5 August
7am Divine liturgy at St Efstathios Church, South Melbourne
7pm Festal Vespers Service at the Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish, Thomastown, followed by dinner at the parish

6 August
7am Festal Divine Liturgy at the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Thomastown
1pm Lunch offered at the Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish Hall
6.30pm Paraklisis Service at St Haralambos, Templestowe, followed by dinner at the parish hall

7 August
7am Divine liturgy at St Efstahios Church, South Melbourne
6.30pm Small Paraklisis Service at St Vasilios Church Brunswick, followed by dinner

8 August
7am Divine liturgy at St Efstathios Church
2pm Archbishop Makarios to visit St John’s College, and a College Assembly will be held in his honour
6.30pm Great Paraklisis service at St Haralambos Church, Templestowe followed by dinner at the parish hall

9 August
7am Divine Liturgy at St Efsthatios Church
6.30pm Small Paraklisis Service at St Raphael Nicholas and Irene Church, Bentleigh, followed by dinner

10 August
8am Divine Liturgy at the Presentation of Our Lady to the Temple, North Balwyn
6.30pm Vespers Service at St Athanasios Church, Springvale

11 August
7.30am Divine liturgy for the Holy Monastery of Axion Estin, Northcote
12pm Meal offered at Holy Monastery of Axion Estin
6.30pm Great Paraklisis Service at St Andrew Church, Forest Hill, followed by a dinner at the parish hall

12 August
7am Divine liturgy at St Eustathios Church, South melbourne
6.30pm Paraklisis at St Catherine Church, East Malvern, followed by dinner

13 August
7am Divine liturgy at St Eustathios Church, South melbourne
6.30pm Great Paraklisis Service at South Melbourne
7.45pm Lecture presented by his Eminence Archbishop Makarios to the youth of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia in Melbourne at St Eustathios Church

14 August
7am Divine Liturgy at St Eustathios Church
7pm The Dormition of the Theotokos Church, followed by dinner at the parish hall

15 August
7.30am Liturgy for the Dormition of the Theotokos Feast, Panagia Soumela Church, Eastxxx
12pm Meal at Panagia Soumela Parish Hall