On Tuesday 22 November Oakleigh Grammar had the honour and privilege of welcoming His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, for the first time in 15 years. He was accompanied by their Graces Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis and Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis. It was a significant and memorable occasion, etched in the hearts and minds of our school community. Our guests were greeted by our school drummers and flag bearers, honouring His Eminence. Upon entering the church, they were embraced by the hymnody of our Byzantine Choir.
The President of the board of Oakleigh Grammar and the Greek Orthodox Community of Oakleigh, Mr Angelo Sardellis, welcomed His Eminence to our community expressing his great joy and heartfelt thanks for his prayers and support.
I spoke on behalf of the school community, welcoming His Eminence and highlighting the importance of Orthodox values and Hellenic culture which makes up the fabric of our school.
His Eminence expressed his great joy and satisfaction at the progress our school has made, and encouraged our students to ‘be who they can be’ through God’s Grace. He closed his address with a Cretan poem which states ‘although there is a distance between us our hearts are always fond of each other.’
The assembly concluded with the singing of the National Anthem and the hymn of our patrons Saints Anargyri.
It was an honour for our students and staff to bear the wise words of Archbishop Stylianos.