Book Launch by St Andrew’s Orthodox Press

Book Launch by St Andrew’s Orthodox Press

On Thursday 22 April, the College hosted the official public book launch of the English translation of Lord and Master of my Life: Reflections on Spiritual Alertness by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, our College Dean. Originally published in 2016 under the Greek title Κύριε και Δέσποτα της Ζωής μου – Κείμενα πνευματικής εγρήγορσης, whilst he was Bishop of Christoupolis, this work comprises an interpretation of the eponymous prayer by the fourth century saint Ephraim the Syrian. The event took place in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation (Redfern, NSW) before moving to the adjacent College Hall for a book signing and refreshments. The book was released last year in April by St Andrew’s Orthodox Press (SAOP), but an official book launch event was not possible at the time due to prevailing public health orders and restrictions in NSW relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

This event was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Sebasteia, and Archepiscopal Vicars His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope (Adelaide) and Very Revd Archim. Fr Prochoros Anastasiadis (Canberra and Tasmania). The Consul-General of Greece in Sydney Mr Christos Karras was also present, along with the translators of the book from Greek into English, Dr Anna Dimitriou and Ms Angeliki Georgiou. Also present were reverend clergy of our Archdiocese, principals of our day schools, faculty members and students of St Andrew’s Theological College, as well as youth representatives from Greek Orthodox parishes in Sydney.

The College Sub-Dean, Assoc. Prof. Philip Kariatlis, emceed the event, while the Press’ Chief Publishing Officer, Dr Mario Baghos, spoke about upcoming SAOP publications. Lord and Master of My Life was then launched by Bishop Silouan, a sessional lecturer in Patristics at St Andrew’s who also wrote the forward to the English translation. In his beautiful reflection on the book, His Grace especially emphasised:

From His Eminence’s book, it is evidently made clear that this prayer sums up all that is essential in spiritual life. In a few words the prayer acknowledges our human limitations, our need to love our neighbour but also our desire for a loving communion with God. In the words of His Eminence, “the prayer of St Ephraim summarises, in a unique and wonderful way, whatever is spiritually needed for us to reach spiritual fulfillment and so it recommends a rule whereby we can assess our struggle during this period and for our entire time that we are in this world.”

After His Grace’s inspiring launch of the book, His Eminence gave a moving response where he recalled the circumstances within which he wrote this book several years ago in Estonia during a typically harsh winter, confined mostly indoors, working on it day-by-day after his daily prayers. He thanked Dr Kariatlis, Dr Baghos, Mr Basilios Psilacos, Dn Fr Stephanos Tinikashvili, Dr Dimitriou and Ms Georgiou for their work on the book. His Eminence then focused firstly on the title, which is both a prayer and a confession that Christ is master of our lives. “And this is important,” he pointed out, “because if I do not accept that Christ is the lord and master of my life, then I will take his place. I will be the lord and master of my life, and this is a spiritual destruction.”

Focusing on one of the last chapters, the Archbishop stressed that this was a prayer in which we ask God to give us the gift of seeing our own faults and not criticising our neighbour. “We have a tendency to judge everyone and everything except to judge ourselves,” he said. “We do not like to judge ourselves. We like to stand in the mirror to see if we are beautiful, but we do not like to stand in the mirror and see reality and the truth.”

In addition, the Archbishop focused on the meaning of the second part of prayer, that is, the second gift we ask of God, which is not to criticise our neighbour and not to disturb their internal peace.