The 9th Meeting of Bishops and Archiepiscopal Vicars of Australia took place between the 13 and 14 of May, under the Presidency of Archbishop Makarios of Australia in Sydney.

After he conveyed the Paschal greetings and blessings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the body of Bishops, current issues and initiatives of the local Church were discussed.

First on the agenda were eminent global social crises, such as that of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, “often leading to the appearance and outbreak of zealots and para-ecclesiastical voices that cause enormous spiritual damage”, reported the Synaxis.

In a heartfelt message to the faithful, the Synod and its Bishops urged people to not to be influenced by talk of impending dangers and should not attribute the global trial of the pandemic exclusively and only to the so-called new world order.

“The pandemic is a real fact and in no situation can it be allowed to become a tool for gaining benefit from communication, for increasing popularity stakes, for self-promotion and especially for confirmation of ‘spirituality’ and ‘holiness’,” the message stressed.

This is why it was unanimously decided to send an Encyclical by Archbishop Makarios to the pious flock of Australia, which will authoritatively, theologically and scientifically inform the plenitude of our local Church about the pandemic and vaccination.

READ MORE: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia responds to ABC’s allegations against Makarios

In addition, the Synod focused on the  journalistic reports of the ABC news agency against Archbishop Makarios, condemning them: “The Archdiocese of Australia unequivocally condemns deceitful journalism and distortion not only for Hellenism and the Church, but for every organisation and for every person who resides in Australia.”

In an official statement, the body of Bishops asks ABC Management to retract the reports and to publicly apologise for the lies, slander and distortions they published about the Church, the Archbishop and the Greek community. Otherwise, it clarifies that the Archdiocese of Australia will turn to the Australian judicial system as well as other public and private organisations to restore the truth. At the same time, the gratitude by the local Church is publicly expressed to all the Organisations and bodies that strongly reacted by writing to the ABC, and whose members exceed 800,000.

Furthermore, the English version of the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Australia, ‘Vema’ which until recently was in print format will be available digitally as of next week.

Moving on to Sacraments, the Holy Archdiocese will continue to not allow them to be performed outside of Holy Parishes unless there is an urgent need and only after special permission has been granted.

The National Metropolitan Choir of Australia, which was established by the Archbishop, is moving forward and will present its first official event on 26 November this year, at Sydney Town Hall to honour the completion of 30 years since the election of our Patriarch to the Patriarchal Throne. Unfortunately, due to the restrictive measures, the Metropolitan Choir will not be able to hold the event in Constantinople, and specifically in the Holy Church of St Irene, as had originally been planned for the anniversary of the Patriarch.

Meanwhile, following the voluntary resignation of Mr Konstantinos Kontis from the Consolidated Trust of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Mr Theo Bakalakis, an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and an elect member of the Greek community in Australia who works in Cairns will be managing as a member.

Finally, the convening of the Clergy-Laity Congress has again been postponed due to the COVID-19 restrictive measures in indoor venues. Determining factors in setting a new date for the meeting are the operation of the schools as well as the opening of the airports to non-Australian citizens.