(original post on Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia)
With ecclesiastical grandeur and splendour the “feast of feasts and festival of festivals” was celebrated in the Greek Orthodox churches of Victoria. Thousands of Greek Orthodox in the centre and suburbs of Melbourne, undaunted by the continuous and heavy rain, reverently flocked to the Holy Church of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia for the “Come and receive light” and the joyous message of “Christ is Risen”.
In the Archdiocesan District of Northcote, the centre of the resurrection services was at the Holy Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, in the suburb of Thomastown, where the Resurrection Service was presided over by His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, Archiepiscopal Vicar of Northcote. As it is the most populous Greek Orthodox Parish in the north-west of Melbourne, thousands of believers flocked to the Holy Church to receive the eternal light.
At midnight on Great and Holy Saturday, despite the continuous rain, His Grace Bishop Evmenios, joined by the Holy Clergy, went out to the church forecourt, from where he announced “Christ is Risen”. Addressing the faithful, with obvious emotion, he emphasised: “All of you were not afraid of the rain, you came without hesitation to celebrate the glorious Resurrection. You have moved me and reminded me of the Myrrh-bearing women who, early in the morning, in the dark, went to Christ’s tomb to anoint His body with myrrh.”
Afterwards, Bishop Evmenios conveyed the wishes of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia and, instead of a sermon, he read the Archbishop’s Paschal Message.
After the proclamation of the Holy Resurrection, the Paschal Divine Liturgy was celebrated, also in the presence of a large congregation, while at the dismissal, His Grace Bishop Evmenios blessed the red eggs and distributed them to the faithful.
On Easter Sunday morning, Bishop Evmenios officiated at the Vespers of Love held at the Archdiocesan Church of Axion Esti in Northcote. All the clergy of the Archdiocesan District of Northcote participated in the service, while the passage from the Gospel of John was read in eight languages, where the appearance of Christ after his Resurrection to his disciples is described.
In his short sermon, His Grace Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, after conveying to the faithful the love and wishes of their Shepherd, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, emphasised the message of hope brought by the Resurrection of the Lord, pointing out that “Christ is the victor and the One who has the final word for everything, even for things we cannot even imagine”.