Sydney, 1st August 2021

Dear all faithful of our God-protected Archdiocese.

I pray you are well and safe.

Today, the first of August, I wish you all a blessed Dormition of the Theotokos Fast. During these difficult times, I would like to let you know that you are in my prayers and that my heart goes out to you all, especially during a time when you are unable to attend your Church, which I know is your second home and is very essential in your lives. My thoughts are with our youth and young people who I am sure are suffering confusion and pressure from this present situation, and also with our many engaged couples who were meant to get married during this time but whose big day has been postponed due to current restrictions. Furthermore, my thoughts are with all our suffering tradespeople and workers in construction who reside in the eight LGA hotspots and are therefore prevented from being able to carry out their work, and the elderly who are abandoned and isolated because of these restrictions. I assure you that I am carrying you all in my hearts, my prayers and my thoughts.

As an Archdiocese, we are striving to support our people through many avenues. On top of keeping you in our prayers, we aim to live-stream Paraklesis services (Supplicatory Prayers) every night during the Dormition Fast together with Sunday morning liturgies and major feasts. We will also be supporting our youth and young people with Bible Studies and other activities online. Furthermore, as an Archdiocese, we are always ready to help those who are struggling during these uncertain times. Our two establishments, St. Raphael’s Mission and AWA (Antiochian Welfare Association) have already been supporting our community and assisting a number of families. If you know of any families who need immediate assistance, please contact these establishments and we will be more than happy to stretch out our hands and support them personally or find a way to support them.

I remind you that the anchor of our hope is our lord Jesus Christ. As good Christian citizens we must all play our part to help both ourselves and others around us. During these blessed days we elevate our prayers to the most holy Mother of God, our fervent intercessor, that she will bless our families and protect our children and our elderly.

I pray for all our clergy, all our parishioners and especially for those under tough restrictions in these eight LGAs. May the Lord, through the intercessions of the Theotokos, free us of this pandemic and may our lives return to normal very soon. Amen.

Yours in Christ,

✝︎ Metropolitan BASILIOS