In the Greek Orthodox church, every diocese is a Metropolis, headed by a Metropolitan. The term Metropolitan derives from the Greek word for the capital of a province where the head of the episcopate resides.
In 2021 the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew proposed to the Holy and Sacred Synod that the Diocese of Dervis (Melbourne) be elevated to the rank of a Metropolis, and His Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis to the position of Metropolitan of the Ecumenical Throne.
“With great joy we announce that during today’s deliberations, the Holy and Sacred Synod, at the recommendation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, decided to elevate the once glorious Diocese of Dervis to a Metropolis with His Grace Bishop Ezekiel becoming an active Metropolitan of the Venerable Ecumenical Throne”
His Eminence Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis was born in 1938 in Akrata Kilkis of Macedonia, graduated from the Theological College Halki (Constantinople) in 1962. Ordained a deacon, he arrived in Sydney that same year where he was ordained a priest on Sunday, 30 September, at Dubbo, NSW, during the consecration of the Church of Panagia Myrtidiotissa. He later served at churches in Leichhardt and Belmore before being elected Bishop on 1 March, 1977, with the honorary title of Dervis. He was appointed Assistant Bishop to the late Archbishop Stylianos and served for three years in Perth, five years in Adelaide and in Melbourne from 1984.
On Sunday, July 24, 2022, the Cretan Village in Wantirna South will host an event in honour of Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis, on the occasion of the celebration of his name day. The honorary event is organized on the initiative of Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who, together with the Assistant Bishops and the Intercommunal Committee of Victoria, invites everyone to participate.
At the request of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, the Holy and Sacred Synod elected four Assistant Bishops for the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, including the Very Reverend Archimandrite Evmenios Vasilopoulos who was elected with the title of Bishop of Kerasounta*.
In May he was invited to represent the Greek Orthodox Church at at a special event to celebrate the visit to Australia of Mar Awa III, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East.
During his speech, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta* referred to the common historical course of the Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, but also to the common challenges they are called to face on the fifth continent (Australia): “To preach our faith and maintain our cultural traditions in a society that is becoming increasingly secular and hostile to Christianity”.
“We have a lot to learn from each other because we are related communities in Australia. Not least because so many members of the Assyrian community found refuge in Greece before coming to Australia and speak better Greek than many of us. But these are bonds that go back millennia. We cannot forget that some of the most revered saints of our church were Assyrians”.
(* Kerasounta is located in what is modern Turkey. A Greek Orthodox church was built in the 17th century about 45 km southeast of Kerasounta. According to reports, the church is adorned with rich iconography, a product of the Greek craftsmen who lived there and the faith of the parishioners that filled it. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were around 800 Greek residents. However, the village was destroyed in the summer of 1916 and its inhabitants were slaughtered by Topal Osman, an Ottoman officer who was a perpetrator of the Armenian and Pontic genocides. Those who survived sought safety elsewhere).