The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, joined hundreds of Greek Australians to celebrate the Easter Liturgy at Kogarah, Sydney on Saturday evening.
Alongside his wife Jenny, Minister of Multicultural Affairs Geoff Lee and other officials, Morrison attended the liturgy, which was performed by Archbishop Makarios.
Before the liturgy, the Archbishop and the PM had a private conversation about issues of common interest. Morrison addressed the crowd and lit a candle on his way in.
Archbishop Makarios, in his message following the Resurrection, told the congregation “Do not fret”; this is what the Angel of God told the woman in black bringing the Myrrh to Jesus’s tomb after the crucifixion.
The Archbishop wanted to remind people to not live in fear, in a time that pushes us to be silent, shy and live without the will or the desire to investigate. His message was a message of hope and courage.
Mark Coure, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in Australia, Martha Mavromatis, Consul General of Greece in Sydney Chris Karras with his wife Economic Affairs Adviser at the Consulate General in Sydney, Katia Gikiza also attended the night liturgy.
Greeks in Australia celebrated Easter with more excitement than in other years, after last year’s limited celebrations due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Australia’s biggest cities saw hundreds of Greek Australians light up the streets, carrying the Holy Light back home after the Easter liturgy.
Easter message by Scott Morrison
PM Morrison also sent a message to Australia’s Greek Community ahead of Orthodox Easter.
“I send my warmest wishes to all those in Australia and around the world celebrating Easter in the Orthodox tradition,” reads Mr Morrison’s message.
Full message below:
For Christians, Easter is a time to celebrate the most important words of the Christian faith –– He is Risen!
Christians everywhere can draw strength and heart from these words.
They are a message of hope –– and of victory –– even over death itself.
As Prime Minister, I am so grateful to the Orthodox Christians of Australia and the churches for the understanding, unity and confidence you displayed over this past year. It has been a time when we have heeded that ancient message to “choose life” –– to protect, value and watch out for our family, friends, neighbours, community and country, as we all faced a once in a century pandemic.
Because of these extraordinary measures, we took a great stride in overcoming a virus that brought hardship, grief and loss to so many. We continue to journey along that path and today, we have confidence in a safe and effective vaccine.
The Gospels tell us that following His resurrection, Jesus greeted his followers with the words ‘Peace be with you’ This beautiful blessing, in the face of fear and uncertainty, is shared by faiths throughout the world.
So this Easter, I say ‘Peace be with you’, as we reflect and draw strength from our Christian faith, and look forward with a renewed sense of optimism and hope for our future.
I pray with Orthodox Christians everywhere that you have a safe, happy and holy Easter.”