Ordination Ceremonies within the Archdiocese

We are living in a world which is dying from the inside, due to a variety of illnesses which affect its moral health and are leading it, slowly, to spiritual death.  The faithful must be able to distinguish between revelation from the Creator, and theory; between what is essential in religion, and what is human behaviour and knowledge.

Dostoyevsky wrote: ‘when God dies, everything become acceptable’. Solzhenitsyn wrote, ‘the Western civilization is going to moral alienation and loss of principles, and the centre of the spiritual is hardly growing’.  Many people think that the problems they are facing are moral, but in reality they are spiritual.

WH William wrote, ‘smart theologians erected an amusement city and called it Church, through which they took the faithful from one sect to another.  The priests of that Church were able to convince their many faithful that the essence of their problem is mental and not ecclesiastical.  Therefore, and because the dependence of the West on human logic and wisdom only, and because of its refusal of the two thousand years’ experience of the Church, therefore, the West’s spiritual life is facing emptiness and secularism’.

Here, in Australia and New Zealand, we meet this small Antiochian Archdiocese, which has come from the East, to sow the unpolluted seed of the Gospel. It is refusing to adapt to the world, but is staying faithful to its two thousand year Tradition and Apostolic Teachings.

Anyone who is following the educational currents of the day, will know that there is little commitment, little care, little seriousness, and very little depth and willingness to preach the Word of the Lord to our generation, in a language they understand and relate to.

The Orthodox Church refers to the Gospels, the Tradition, and the Teachings of the Holy Fathers, to ascertain the Will of God.  Many have abandoned the original Church. They become like leaves in the wind, exposed to different sects and heresies.  The Orthodox Church provides a haven to any and everyone, who is seeking God, and His Will.  Some might ask, ‘what kind of Christianity is in their faithful souls and hearts?  Does their faith resembles the original faith of the Church?’ 

We have to make sure that our training is corresponding to today’s educated, rich society, which is influenced greatly by modern technology, and cares only about its own peace, goods, and personal self-satisfaction. We have to use the language of today.  That way, modern people can see that our faith, is the faith of the original Church.

In brief, what is the essence of our Christianity?  Are we going after a peaceful Christianity, after an easy and joyful Christianity, a Christianity that seeks no humbleness, no sacrifice, no obedience, no enthusiasm in the soul, no fear and love of God? Are we a Christianity whose members do not sin, who face no punishment, a Christianity that is sure that its adherents are already guaranteed a place in heaven?

Do we have a Church whose God does not get angry?  Who leads people who have no sins, to a kingdom without judgement, through a Cross without any suffering? Do we want a Church whose God is gentle, distributing favour without question, and giving his Kingdom as promised and guaranteed to whoever and whenever asks for it?  No!

The Orthodox Church believes in a faith that requires death to the world, convinced that if a person does not die before he dies, then he will die when he dies.  The faithful must deny themselves in order to find God, and if they find only themselves, they will lose God.

The Holy Spirit, in wisdom, prepares the Church to witness and illuminate the darkness which engulfs the soul, and to declare God’s will and word.  God has sent and is still sending workers to work in His vineyard.  Our deacon lived and experienced the life of faith, and found out that the world is not able to provide peace and happiness to his soul.  He works with his wife, and they are working and will keep working, in order to see in their lives the commandments of their Lord ‘that all might be one, as you and I, Father, are one’.

Your Church, Father Antonio, is a two thousand years old Church.  It did not change its main teachings and sacraments, and is not planning to change them in order to adapt to the modern world.  The Church’s main concern is to please its founder only.  God is the centre of its life.  She lives in Him, and for Him, and is united with Him. She will work with you, and those like you, to pass what was entrusted to her from the Lord Himself, to the next generations.

Dear Father Antonio, you have been good worker in the vineyard of our Lord.  Today, with your wife, with courage and dedication, you join the rank of the Royal Priesthood.   You both have the will and commitment to teach the truth, without looking for worldly rewards.  The Church today is in a dire need for shepherds like you, who will not flee whenever they see some foxes coming to steal the members of their flock. 

We need Priests who pray often, who ask the Holy Spirit to direct their steps, who introduce new ideas and methods to strengthen themselves and their flock, but who do not change the unchanging Faith.  We will work, Father, to make sure that the Church will never become a dot in the history books.  You have to work with your wife and co-workers to write a new page in the history books. 

We were preceded by a large number of Fathers and Mothers who worked hard to preserve and deliver the faith which was ‘given by the Saints’.  They refused to be a mere tracing on the sand of life.  Let us work together to nourish our spiritual children with the manna of our Church, and to witness to those who are hungry for the light of our Church.

I pray to the Comforter to keep His grace and love upon you throughout all your lives. Amen. 

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