Istoria Ortodoxiei Antiohiene în Australasia
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|Ortodoxia în Australia (cronologie) |
Ortodoxia în Noua Zeelandă (cronologie)
Arhiepiscopia Ortodoxă Greacă a ANZ
|Antiohiană – Mitropolitul Arhiepiscop Pavel|
GOA Aus - Arhiepiscopul Stylianos
GOM NZ - Mitropolitul Amfilochios
ROCOR - Mitropolitul Hilarion
Română - Episcopul Mihail
Sârbă - Episcopul Irinej
Doamana Noastră din Kazan
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Similar cu majoritatea jurisdicțiilor din Australia și a altor părți a 'diasporei', o istorie detaliată a Arhiepiscopiei Ortodoxe Antiohiene a Australiei și Noii Zeelande este scrisă mai bine în termeni de orașe care, ulterior au devenit eparhii, decât invers.
Primul val de imigranți în această zonă a fost format din libanezi, numiți pe atunci sirieni, și a avut în loc în anii 1880-1890, când s-a găsit de lucru în vânătoare și meșteșugărit în zonele rurale din statele estice ale Australiei și din Dunedin. Credincioșii ortodocși antiohieni din Australia au participat la construirea unei biserici comunitare cu hramul Sfânta Treime în Surry Hills, Sydney, și una cu hramul Bineivestiri în East Melbourne, alături de credincioșii ortodocși greci și ruși. Patriarhia Ierusalimului a trimist preoți capabili să vorbească greaca și araba și, uneori, și rusa. Slujbele se țineau în diferite limbi ale 'vechii-lumi', slujitorii parohiilor provenind din diferite surse de imigranți iar icoanele fiind donate de etnici de diferite origini.
Problemele de peste mări au creat catastrofe la nivel local. Depunerea din 1898 a Patriarhului Antiohiei vorbitor de greacă și, în condecință, alegerea în 1899 a unui Patriarh de Antiohia vorbitor de limbă arabă, a cauzat o reacție adversă din partea patriarhatelor helenofile. Patriarhia Constantinopolului a acordat jurisdicția parohiilor de peste mări proaspăt recunoscutei Biserici a Greciei, în 1908, cu precizarea că slujbele trebuiau ținute în greaca bisericească.
În Sydney, efectul s-a simțit imediat; în Melbourne, un preot care vorbea și araba a rămas până în anii 1920. În replică, comunitatea siriană a preferat să se întâlnească în locuințe particulare, mergând la biserica parohiei ortodoxe grecești doar în caz de necesitate, în principal pentru botezuri, nunți și înmormântări. Unii dintre ortodocșii antiohieni, în lipsa unei alternative, și-au trimis copii la școlile duminicale anglicane și protestante. În orice caz, nici parohiile ortodoxe grecești, nici variatele grupuri protestante nu puteau îndeplini nevoile ortodocșilor antiohieni: a fost evidentă necesitatea înființării de parohii ortodoxe antiohiene.
Biserica Sfântul Gheorghe, Sydney
În 1913, Părintele Nicholas Shehadie a fost trimis în Australia ca exarh pentru a vedea mărimea problemei și pentru a găsi posibile soluții. Deși misiunea lui trebuia să fie una temporară, izbucnirea Primului Război Mondial a împiedicat întoarcerea Părintelui Nicholas în Liban, unde se găsea familia lui. În consecință, șederea lui a devenit permanentă. El a realizat necesitatea unei biserici pentru ortodocșii antiohieni și i-a detrminat să o construiască. Până la acel moment, Sfânta Liturghie se slujea acasă la unii membrii ai parohiei.
Autoritățile locale au acordat un teren pentru construcția bisericii la colțul dintre străzile Walker și Redfern, Redfern. Prima biserică ortodoxă antiohiană a fost contruită acolo și a primit hramul Sfântului Gheorghe.
În 1934, exarhul Nicholas Shehadie, fiind bolnav de ast cronic, s-a pensionat curând după împlinirea a 70 de ani. Atunci, al doilea fiu al său, Michael, a devenit preot. În perioada păstoririi sale la Biserica Sfântul Nicolae, autoritățile guvernamentale au revocat concesiunea și au demolat biserica, pentru a construi locuințe. Părintele Michael au făcut presiuni serioase asupra autorităților pentru a le fi acordat un nou teren, iar în 1950 au primit un alt teren la colțul străzilor Walker și Cooper, în Redfern, unde se găsește acum o catedrală. În orice caz, Părintele Michael nu a văzut-o finalizată. În 1951, la vârsta de 56 de ani, epuizat de lupta cu autoritățile guvernamentale, a trecut la Domnul.
In 1953, Preacucernicul Părinte Malatius Hussney a fost numit exarh patriarhal și rector la Sf. Gheorghe. În timpul păstoririi sale, a fost pusă piatra de temelie pentru o nouă biserică, în care s-a slujit prima dată în 1954. El a fost urmat de Arhiepiscopul Anthony Woolf, care a fost exarh patriarhal și rector între 1957 și 1961. În urma decesului Arhiepiscopului Anthony la Cairo, Cucernicul Părinte Anthony Chidiac a fost trimis să slujească la parohia Sf. Gheorghe din Redfern. El a murit în accident de motocicletă în 19 octombrie 1962. Din ianuarie 1963 până în 17 iulie, V Rev Exarch Emilianos Shehadie din Kousba, Lebanon, a slujit ca înlocuitor de preot paroh. În 22 septembrie 1963, prin permisiunea amabilă a Arhiepiscopului Ezekiel (GOA), Cucernicul Părinte John Catsaras, fost preot în Sfax, Tunisia, a slujit temporar în această parohie.
În 18 iunie 1964, Părintele Nicolas Mansour a ajuns la Sydney, venind din Beirut, Liban și și-a început activitatea ca preot de parohie cu o Liturghie în 21 iunie 1964. Curând după sosirea sa, biserica a fost sfințită de către Episcopul Dionysios (GOA), iar în 1967 intrarea în biserică și presbiteriul au fost finalizate. În orice caz, răspândirea credincioșilor antiohieni în întregul New South Wales era prea mare pentru a o singură parohie.
La solicitarea Părintelui Nicolas, Biserica Antiohiei l-a trimis pe Arhimandritul Gibran în Australia să găsească o soluție pentru rezolvarea problemei. La recomandarea acestuia, Sfântul Sinod la ridicat Exarhatul de Australiua și Noua Zeelandă la rangul de eparhie patriarhală. Arhimandritul Gibran a fost hirotonit episcop și numit vicar patriarhal al noii eparhii.
Biserica Sfântul Nicolae, Melbourne
In 1929, James Batrouney visited Lebanon/Syria, met Archimandrite Antonious (Mobayed), and on his return to Melbourne, Archim. Antonious was recommended as a suitable priest (being well-educated and speaking Arabic, Russian and Greek) for the church in Melbourne. Patriarch Arsanios of Antioch commissioned Archim. Antonious as the first priest of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Victoria. He arrived on November 12, 1931, bringing and donating everything essential for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Some of these items can still be found at Saint Nicholas Church today.
The first services were held in Saint George Anglican Mission, the beginning of a long and amicable relationship between Anglicans and Orthodox in Victoria. In March 1932 the community purchased a church, where Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church stands today, using four £125 donations from John Batrouney, Joseph & Walter Davis, and Alex Malouly. The iconostasis, based on the iconostasis of the Holy Resurrection Cathedral, Tokyo, was completed by Palm Sunday, 1932, when the first service was held in the Church. At the first council meeting of May 1932, it was decided to name the church after St Nicholas. The church was consecrated on October 1, 1933 by Metropolitan Timotheos, the head of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand. The consecration, attended by an Anglican minister, Rev. F.E. Maynard, and the Greek and French consuls, was chanted in Arabic, English, Greek, and Slavonic.
Saint Nicholas included both Arabic members and Russian members, the latter group also contributing to bringing Archim. Antonious to Australia, converting the church into an Orthodox church, writing icons, and organising a choir which would chant the Liturgy in Slavonic on every fourth Sunday. When the Russians established their first church in Melbourne in the early 1950s, the committee of Saint Nicholas donated a Slavonic Bible in memory of Archim. Antonious, and as a symbol of the enduring friendship between the Syrian/Lebanese and the Russians.
With Arabic and Slavonic choirs, a youth society, Syrian/Lebanese youth that knew the service in Arabic, and a priest willing to travel to Sydney, Adelaide and New Zealand to raise funds for the fledgling church, St Nicholas had been built into a strong, pan-Orthodox church. However, after a short illness, Archim. Antonious reposed on November 9, 1943. He was buried by Metropolitan Timotheos, assisted by Archimandrite Theophylactos and Fr Michael Shehadie.
The Second World War precluded any replacement priest from either America or Antioch until after World War 2. In 1948, Exarchos George Haydar arrived, and was ideally suited to minister to migrants from Lebanon. A rectory was built in 1953. Exarchos George reposed in 1962, and his funeral was conducted by Patriarchal Exarch Archim. Anthony Woolf of Sydney, assisted by clergy from many jurisdictions.
In 1963, Fr Gabraeel Fadel arrived to serve at St Nicholas, and the parish entered a period of consolidation. Fr Gabraeel left in 1967, to be replaced by Fr Malatius (Essam) Hussney, who was ordained in 1968. Fr Malatius worked for the second wave of Lebanese immigrants to be actively involved in the running of St Nicholas.
Biserica Sfântul Mihail, Dunedin
A small, modest, wooden church in the south of New Zealand has the distinction of, in 1911, being the first Orthodox church to be built in New Zealand, and the first Antiochian Orthodox church to be built in Australasia. The church has since been made part of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a category 2 building.
In 1890, a number of Syrians immigrated to New Zealand, settling in Dunedin. Many went to Auckland, however, about fifteen Orthodox families, mostly from Syria and Lebanon founded and built the church.
Mrs Anthony Idour wrote to the Patriarch of Antioch, through the Bishop of Tripoli, and permission was given to proceed with building a church. A committee headed by Jack Idour raised 480 pounds in just over 6 months, paying for the building. Generous donors included Acton Adams of the Moa Flat Station, and Bishop Nevill of the Dunedin Anglican Diocese.
More money was required to pay for furniture, so the Lebanese produced material for a bazaar, held in the St Kilda Town Hall in 1911 and opened by the Mayor of Dunedin. Yielding several hundred pounds, St Michael's Antiochian Orthodox Church opened debt free.
Hmk Nicholas (Manovitch) had arrived in New Zealand in 1910, and celebrated services. A site had been acquired in Fingall St, South Dunedin by September 1910. On January 14, 1911, St Michael's Orthodox Church was opened, having been consecrated by Archim. Nicholas (Manovitch). Services were held regularly until 1913 when Fr Nicholas moved to Sydney.
During times that there was no Orthodox priest, which were always visiting until 1971, the church was closed. In 1916, Fr Nicholas Shehadie spent 2-3 months in Dunedin, holding Orthodox services. In 1937, Archim. Antonious (Mobayed) stayed in Dunedin for several months, during which time it was arranged that, having instructed them in the rudiments of Eastern Orthodox Liturgics, Canon A.P. Pywell, and then the Vicar of Holy Cross Anglican Church in St Kilda, would look after the congregation as an interim measure. Archim. Antonious visited Dunedin for the last time in 1939. The care of St Michael's became an accepted responsibility of the Vicars of Holy Cross, St Kilda, until 1971.
In 1971, an Anglican priest in New Zealand decided, seeing the trend of Anglicanism away from its traditional roots, to convert to Orthodoxy, and was ordained in September 1972 by Bp Gibran. Fr Jack Witbrock served as rector of St Michael's, Dunedin, for the next 12 years until he was succeeded by Fr Ilyan Eades.
In Melbourne, the desire of Fr Malatius Hussney to actively involve new arrivals to Australia led to a split, with the older members of St Nicholas feeling unwanted; as a result, St George was founded in Thornbury, Melbourne, in 1972. The next year, Bp Gibran wanted a new church built in the western suburbs of Sydney. Fr John Shehadie, son of Exarch Nicholas Shehadie, was appointed priest of the new church of St Nicholas, Punchbowl, and served there until his 1987 retirement.
Fr Malatius worked very hard for St Nicholas, including going to Lebanon and Cyprus to help refugees of the Civil War to obtain visa's to come to Australia. After Fr Malatius left to serve parishes in the United States, Fr Emile Assaf was assigned to St Nicholas from 1977 to 1990. Fr Emile continued to serve newly arrived migrants, and also renovated and redecorated St Nicholas - rendering external walls, erecting a fence, replacing the floor, purchasing new pews, painting the walls with icons and, towards the end of his tenure, renovating the rectory.
In 1982, Fr Elias Khoury was ordained to the priesthood, and assigned to St Nicholas, Punchbowl. In 1985, he was elevated to Archpriest. In the same year, a new parish was established in Mays Hill and named St Mary's, for the Nativity of the Mother of God. The first priest was Fr Hanna Shehadie, and the community worshipped in Granville. In 1987, St Mary's - now led by Fr Stephen Godley - moved to Merrylands; also in 1985, a parish in Wollongong was founded and named for St Elias.
In 1986, St George's decided to purchase its own church from the Anglican Church. Renovation started immediately, and were completed in 1988, when renovations of the hall began - these were completed in 1991, making the hall one of the most attractive Arabic special events halls in Melbourne. In 1994, the property adjacent to St George's (including a rectory) was purchased.
1987 was a landmark year, with the Antiochian Orthodox Church of St George, Redfern, Sydney, being elevated to the Cathedral of the Diocese.
In 1989, Bp Gibran appointed the first committee of a new parish in Brisbane, which was registered in 1990. In 1993, Fr John Abdel-Karim became the first parish priest of the Church of St Paul, Woolloongabba, Brisbane.
The site for St Mary's, Mays Hill, was purchased in January 1991, with Fr Emile Assaf being transferred from St Nicholas, Melbourne, to pastor the new church with Fr Aziz Abwi. The first services were held in the church hall of St Mary's in 1994, with the first services in the church being on Good Friday, 1999.
In 1994, Fr Elias Khoury, parish priest of St Nicholas, Punchbowl, began working with the Department of Community Services and administered a new program, Ortho-Care, designed to help those requiring financial and spiritual assistance.
In the mid-1990s, changing beliefs and practises in the Anglican Communion, culminating in the ordination of women to the priesthood, caused a number of clergy to leave the Anglican Communion and join the Orthodox Church. Many of these moved to the Antiochian Orthodox Church, creating St Barnabas Parish, Gold Coast; St Anthony the Great Parish, Perth; St Anna's Monastery, Melbourne; and a parish in Canberra (which later moved to ROCOR), along with other clergy, including Rev. Fr Geoff Harvey, who were assigned to pre-existing churches.
In 1998, a parish at Mt Pritchard was founded and dedicated to St Mary, for the Dormition of the Mother of God. Bishop Gibran reposed on 16 January 1999 after thirty years of service for the Church in Australia and New Zealand. Fr Elias Khoury was named as the temporary administrator of the diocese.
In September 1999, the Holy Synod of Antioch decided to elevate the diocese of Australia and New Zealand to archdiocese with its own ruling metropolitan archbishop. Archimandrite Paul, parish priest in Washington DC, was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand. He arrived in Australia and took possession of the archdiocese on 29 November 1999.
1999 prompted a flurry of activity. In December, Met. Abp Paul visited Newcastle and Brisbane, and prompted the decision to build the church of St Paul in Woolloongabba, Brisbane. Three parishes were formed in 1999, including St Ignatius Mission, Canberra, Buna-Vestire Church, Bankstown (NSW) and St Herman of Alaska, Canterbury (Vic).
In January 2000, Fr John Vesic was appointed parish priest of St Mary's Church, Mays Hill, which is especially notable as Fr John does not speak Arabic. In June of the same year, Fr Nicholas Gan (in Newcastle) was released to join the Moscow Patriarchate. The Holy Synod of Moscow accepted him on 19 July 2000, along with the Eastern Orthodox Parish of the Theophany at Mayfield West, Newcastle, which had been under the care of Bp Gibran on behalf of Moscow.
2001 was another time of great activity for the Archdiocese, particularly in New Zealand: St George, Auckland, St George, Wellington, and Sts Gregory of Nyssa and Marina, Diamond Harbour, were all founded in this year. In Australia, St Paul, Dandenong (Vic) was founded; and in December 2001, Fr John Vesic was appointed parish priest of the newly-formed Ss Michael and Gabriel parish, the first English-speaking Antiochian Orthodox parish in New South Wales. The new parish worshipped in rented premises in Homebush until 2005, when it moved to West Ryde.
In the meantime, the Church of St Paul, Brisbane, celebrated its first services in their new church in 2002, with this church being consecrated in 2006.
2003 was a third time of great activity. The first English-speaking Antiochian Orthodox parish in Victoria was established, with Fr Geoff Harvey as the founding priest, under the patronage of the Good Shepherd. Later, worship was moved to Monash University, with Fr Geoff becoming the first Antiochian Orthodox university chaplain in Australia. Also in 2003, two parishes in New Zealand were founded, along with the Melbourne Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, where studies began in 2004.
In 2004, at the instigation of Met Abp Paul, the parish of St Nicholas Bankstown, bought the land that the church is on from the NSW government. The property is held for the parish by the Antiochian Orthodox Church Property Trust.
In August 2005, Archpriest Nicolas Mansour retired from full-time pastoral work, ending 42 years of service at the Cathedral. Archim. Nabil (Kachab), formerly of St Nicholas, Punchbowl, replaced him as Dean of the Cathedral.
December 2006 saw Fr John Vesic released to the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand, when he was replaced at Sts Michael and Gabriel by Fr Luke Bell. After Fr Luke left the Archdiocese in late 2007, he was succeeded by Fr Antonio Cagnoni.
Since his conversion from the Church of Christ and his ordination in 2006, Fr John D'Alton has made several inroads in a number of very important areas. In the first 18 months after his ordination, he was made the university chaplain of La Trobe University, the first Orthodox military chaplain in Australia, is the rector of the Holy Transfiguration Mission, Belgrave Heights, and is the president of the Melbourne Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies.