Newly Tonsured Monk at Pantanassa Monastery by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios
(Photos and Video of the Tonsure can be found at Monastery Life galleries – Pantanassa Monastery)
On Friday evening, 24 February, novice-monk Br Panagiotis (Sergis) of Pantanassa Monastery was tonsured a Rasophor monk by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.
As the choir chanted a hymn that refers to the Prodigal Son, “Thy Fatherly embrace hasten to open to me… the unfailing wealth of Your mercy, O Saviour, reject not my heart…” novice-monk Br Panagiotis was led by his spiritual father and Abbot Eusebios Pantanassiotis into the catholicon (main church) of the monastery in order to be tonsured a Rasophor monk. After having venerated the icons, Br Panagiotis bowed before all the faithful asking for forgiveness, and was then brought before the bishop’s throne where our Spiritual Father and Leader, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, was to begin the tonsure service.
According to the monastic tradition, during the prayer of tonsure, His Eminence named the new monk Theophilos, in honour of St Theophilos, one of the 40 martyrs of Sebastia.
Following the Tonsure His Eminence addressed Fr Theophilos with words of spiritual guidance on the monastic life and explained that the new name, ‘Theophilos, means friend of God. He who pursues the divine, the holy and the sacred.’ His Eminence then advised Fr Theophilos ‘For your whole life, do not seek or pursue anything else except how you will maintain and increase this divine friendship with Jesus Christ’.
The participation of several clergy in the vespers service as well as the presence of many young people chanting in the traditional byzantine style, along with the prayerful faithful, helped create a contrite and blessed atmosphere. At the end of the vespers service, all the faithful greeted the newly tonsured monk as is tradition with the words ‘Brother, what is your name?’ receiving the reply ‘Monk Theophilos’.
In the same spirit, the congregation proceeded to the monastery’s refectory while chanting the hymn “It is truly right” in thanksgiving to our Lady Theotokos. After the common meal, Abbot Eusebios shared a few words highlighting the significance of the occasion for Orthodox monasticism in Australia and thanking His Eminence for accepting to Tonsure the new monk, in particular he said, ‘Your Eminence, We sincerely thank you for continuously expressing Your spiritual paternal feelings and with Your Hierarchical presence not only sanctifying and purifying everything but with Your presence playing an essential role in the life of every new monk. We pray that God grant You many years and us, your flock, many more similar Holy experiences of Christian Kinship.’
His Eminence then concluded the night by complementing this when He described that the life of a monastic is an experience of heaven on earth.
Photos and Video of the Tonsure can be found at Monastery Life galleries – Pantanassa Monastery