'The Jewish festival of Hanukah marks the moment of the lighting of that one lamp, the menorah. Our world needs this light,' said Archbishop Peter A Comensoli on Friday night at Pillars of Light, a multicultural display for unity and hope to celebrate Chanukah, community and connection.

'This light is a symbol of hope for our world, be it a local world, and personal, or more general and universal.'

The story of Chanukah recalls how a small group of Jews saved their beloved temple from being destroyed by their enemies. They lit a lamp to rededicate the temple to God and although they only had enough oil for one day of light, the light miraculously lasted for eight days. Each year, in remembrance, a candle is added every night for eight nights using one of the best-known symbols of Judaism, the Menorah (candelabra).

'In my own Christian tradition,’ the Archbishop said, ‘the light of one candle that is God’s love in the world is to be shared so that we can see — that all may live and love.'

Speaking at the display in Federation Square, Archbishop addressed the younger people in the audience and those watching on Zoom.

'You are also seekers of a horizon of faith, hope and love within which to locate your own lives,’ the Archbishop said. 'You are “horizon-hunters”, seekers of that pillar of light that is God’s gift to the world and is the guide for our lives.'

'With you, we stand as lights for our city. Each of us small, precious by ourselves and perhaps vulnerable to the winds of fragmentation and indifference and tribalism.

Yet together, our shared light is bright and constant and enduring. So whether it is the light of Hanukah or the light of Christmas, may the bigger light that we seek to be, be itself a sign for Melbourne and beyond.'

Organised by ARK Centre in partnership with Federation Square and Principal Partner Gandel Philanthropy, the Pillars of Light event was launched on 10 December and will take place across the eight nights with participation from 10 cultural communities including Catholic, Muslim, Vietnamese, Indigenous and Chinese communities.

Every visitor is invited and encouraged to fill out a note of a good deed or action they plan to embark upon and post it on to the Pillars of Light.

‘The message of Chanukah is that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness,’ explains Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann, Rabbi of the ARK Centre in East Hawthorn. ‘Sharing light, both literally and figuratively, with the intention of spreading joy, harmony and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of connection throughout the Melbourne community that has suffered from such isolation during these times of heavy restrictions .’

‘Our broader Melbourne community is made of many sub-groups. By bringing together a range of different groups, cultures and faith communities over these eight nights we hope to build bridges and create a greater sense of community in the heart of one our best-recognised communities, the CBD,’ he said.