Doxology to Mark the Commencement of the New Academic Year

Doxology to Mark the Commencement of the New Academic Year

Today St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College commenced its thirty-eighth academic year with its annual Doxology Service, held in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, Redfern. It was officiated by the Dean, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, in the presence of clergy, faculty members, staff, alumni, students and their families. Special guests included representatives of the Cretan Association of Sydney & NSW, the President Mr Emmanuel Vitetzakis, together with Mr Sifi Viglakis and Ms Eleftheria Manioudakis from the Viglatores Chania Academy who have been visiting Sydney as part of a national tour of Cretan Associations in Australia and New Zealand.

Distinguished hierarchs present included His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Sebasteia, His Eminence Metropolitan Myron of New Zealand, and His Grace Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis.

The Dean’s address at the conclusion of the service described how we are able, by studying theology, to realise the power of divine love and come close to Christ. Referring first to St Maximus the Confessor, His Eminence recalled a comprehensive phrase included in his writings: “the reward of faith is knowledge … and knowledge gives rise to love for God”, which very clearly highlights the relationship between the study of theology and love.

Citing again the words of St Maximus, Archbishop Makarios pointed out that “the criterion by which we can evaluate the degree to which our study of theology is genuine or not, is the degree to which our love for God seems to grow and intensify within our hearts.” Subsequently, His Eminence quoted another passage from the same Saint, where it is emphasised that whoever loves God, cannot help but love every human being.

“This is a principle which the Evangelist John also presents, when he mentions that ‘Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers, are liars; for those who do not love a brother whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. (1 Jn. 4:20).’ Our love for others, that is, a heart open to the needs of others, is considered identical to our love for Christ,” His Eminence added in conclusion.

His Eminence asked the new students of the Theological College to start their spiritual journey with a lot of faith, love and trust towards the Church and the Holy Archdiocese of Australia. He urged them to look forward to meeting Christ himself on this journey, while he asked them to practice prayer, because without prayer, as he noted, they will not learn theology and will never become theologians. He also asked of them to participate in the liturgical life of the Church, which is a spiritual investment and not a waste of time.

Twenty-three new commencing students from various major cities across Australia were able to attend the Doxology as the beginning of a 2-day Orientation Program. They were personally greeted by His Eminence and bestowed with a signed copy of the Book of Prayers, as a gift and gesture of welcome.

A luncheon followed the event, along with the customary group photograph.

For the current academic year, there are at present 81 students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate programs studying on campus and via distance education.