To the Reverend Clergy
and the Administrative Committees
of all Parish-Communities
within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Before even recovering from the tragedy which shook the world due to the cruel killing of innocent students, parents and teachers in Beslan, Russia - for whose souls we prayed especially on Sunday September 12 - we are now called upon to do the same for another tragedy. Although its victims were fewer in number, the second tragedy is not less painful for us all.
I refer to the helicopter accident near Mount Athos, which took the lives of 17 Clergy and lay people, including the late Patriarch Petros VII of Alexandria together with other Bishops, Priests and lay officials of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, as well as Officers of the Greek Air Force.
Among the victims was Bishop Nectarios of Madagascar, dearly loved by all of us and possessing great virtue and selflessness, whom we have never ceased to consider as our own Clergyman. His work amidst hardships faced by members of the Madagascar mission, which he held together, honoured not only all Orthodox Clergy but each of us as well.
Well known were Bishop Nectarios yearly visits to our Archdiocese in Australia so as to raise funds for the missionary work of Madagascar, for which he sacrificed and dedicated everything, day and night, even his very own life.
It is therefore requested that a Memorial Service for the victims of the tragic accident be held in each local church of the Archdiocese on Sunday September 19, 2004.
As the parents and brother of the late Bishop Nectarios reside in Adelaide, an exception will be made there in so far as Assistant Bishop Nikandros will celebrate the Divine Liturgy with the participation of all our Clergy in South Australia on Saturday September 18 in the Holy Monastery of St Nectarios, where the already sorely missed Bishop Nectarios had faithfully served for a long time, as he also had in Queensland and elsewhere.
Archbishop S T Y L I A N O S
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia