Australian PM Scott Morrison and leader of the opposition Bill Shorten expressed their sadness over the news of the passing of the Greek Orthodox Primate, Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis on Monday.
In a statement, Morrison said: “The passing of the Greek Orthodox Primate in Australia is a great loss for the Greek Orthodox community in Australia. His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis led the Greek Orthodox community in Australia for forty-four years.
“It is a lifetime of service that I honour. It is a sad day for Australians who adhere to the Greek Orthodox faith.
“The Archbishop was a leader in ecumenical dialogue between the Greek Orthodox Church and other faiths. In so doing, he enriched the lives of not only the Greek Australian community but also those from other faiths and backgrounds.
“Archbishop Harkianakis leaves a lasting legacy through his establishment and stewardship of St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College. I know the Archbishop was a much-loved and greatly respected leader of the Greek Orthodox community and on behalf of all Australians, I extend my sympathies.
“My thoughts and prayers are with His Eminence’s family and the Greek Australian Orthodox community at this difficult time.”
Leader of the opposition Bill Shorten also issued the following statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Greek Orthodox community, following the sad news of the passing of His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos.
“His Eminence served as Archbishop since 1975, and made an extraordinary contribution to the Greek Orthodox community in Australia.
“His Eminence loved the beauty of poetry, but he lived and served according to the humble practicalities of helping others, working tirelessly to help children with special needs and the elderly.
“He founded the first Greek Orthodox Seminary in the Southern Hemisphere, with the establishment of St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College in Sydney. Our condolences to the Greek Orthodox community and His Eminence’s family. He will be sorely missed.
“May he rest in peace.”