The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, under the aegis of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of Oceania, hosted the 32nd Annual Opening of the Law Term for 2015 with a Pan-Orthodox Prayer Service held at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Sydney on Tuesday evening, 10 February 2015. Many notable participants, including clergy and lay, legal professionals from the Inter-Orthodox community, were present to pray with and for dignitaries from the judiciary, including distinguished Supreme Court judicial officers, headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, The Honourable Tom Bathurst QC, as well as Mr John Eades, President of the New South Wales Bar Association.
His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Chairman of the Episcopal Assembly of Oceania, presided over the Service of Prayer and delivered a powerful, soul-searching and deeply thought-provoking homily on the Epistle passage from 1Timothy 1:3-11 noting that “the custom of having a Law Term Service is not merely a social event. It is rather a just recognition of the significance of Law in our lives, both as individuals and as a society.”
His Eminence then continued by stating that “for the Church, a fundamental starting point in this regard is the teaching concerning the ancestral fall, according to the biblical verse that ‘the law is not laid down for the innocent’ (1Tim. 1:9). The human person rejected the Divine Will through love of self. Law therefore exists in order to reverse the cause of the problem of self-love. This in turn highlights the role of Law in upholding moral order generally.”
In order to make more concrete the significance of Law for the individual person in everyday life, the Archbishop advised that it is sufficient to recall the following basic thoughts:
*1) We know from personal experience that the pursuit of individual and social progress presupposes love and enthusiasm.
*2) Love and enthusiasm presuppose trust and optimism (as no one would dare start something that was expected to end in failure).
*3) Trust and optimism however presuppose security and stability.
*4) Finally, security and stability presuppose Justice.
In prayerfully desiring every strength from above to all the Legal and Judicial Services of our State and Commonwealth, on behalf of all Orthodox jurisdictions in Australia, Archbishop Stylianos concluded with the observation: “With the above thoughts, our soul is filled with gratitude and admiration for all that the Law has offered until today within developed societies.”
Also present at the Prayer Service were His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church and His Grace Bishop Seraphim of Apollonias from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Representing the Inter-Orthodox Consular Corps were Their Excellencies Dr Stavros Kyrimis, Consul General of the Hellenic Republic, and Mr Branko Radosevic, Consul General of the Republic of Serbia. The programme was led by barrister Mr Gregory Antipas.