Archbishop's Report 2006



10 FEBRUARY 2006

We are pleased to report that slowly but surely, your Archdiocese has been focusing its attention on the educational aspects of our clergy and our faithful.

We must all realise that, the Church in the today world cannot survive without “locally grown” clergy and field workers! We need workers who are committed to the vineyard of their Lord, are educated in the local culture, as well as knowing the teaching and Tradition which were received from the Holy Fathers.  Accordingly, we have been sending students to Balamand, Saint Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College in Sydney, and to North America.

In addition, we established five years ago, a theology program in Sydney where over forty men and women have been trained in Orthodox Teaching.  Some of them are planning to become priests, others are teaching Sunday schools, some are Sunday school directors, etc.

On Thursday, we conducted a thanksgiving service at Saint Nicholas, East Melbourne to commence the new theology school year.

Three years ago, we negotiated with the Uniting Church faculty of their theological college to establish an Orthodox Theology Program as part of their school within the Melbourne College of Divinity.  They consented.  Today, we have a well-trained faculty, a theology program and over eighty students.  The sad part is, only a very small number of those students are Antiochian.  We all must work with our churches to encourage more students to enrol, more faithful to be patrons (25 dollars a year).  We must nourish this school to become our Australian Theology School.

Our attention has been focused on our faithful, especially the children.  We need schools to educate them while they are very young, and plant in their hearts the seeds of the faith.

Towards that goal we have been working on:

School in Melbourne.  Saint George laid the foundation stone for the building and we are expecting to have it ready for the 2007 school year.
In Sydney, we have completed the application for a school.  We are planning to begin classes by 2007.  Soon we will be remodelling the Old Headquarters in 8 Henry Street for that purpose.

We have been negotiating with the Department of Railways to establish a child care centre on our property at Saint Nicholas, Bankstown.

Our faithful in Saint Michael, Sylvania has been negotiating with the local Shire Council to give us land to build on.  The Council’s condition is to build a youth centre and a church.  We are expecting a positive answer very soon.

We have been working with different youth specialists.  Retreats and meetings with the youth are held in our two major centres.  We need more workers and we will provide them to work with our youth.

Youth meetings are held all over the churches of our Archdiocese.  I know that “the work is plentiful and the workers are few”.  We are praying to the Lord of the Vineyard to send workers to his vineyard.

Ordinations: We are preparing to ordain a number of our deacons to the rank of priesthood, to satisfy the needs of our faithful.  Tonight, we will ordain Deacon Antonio.  Deacon Nemme will follow up, and then Father Deacon Ibrahim.  Subdeacon Chris Gain is to be ordained Deacon soon.

We began this year to recognise and honour the High Schools and College graduates with a liturgy.  His Eminence presided over Divine Liturgy at Saint Mary Mays Hill and honoured six students for the first time.

Beginning next December, all of our churches will honour the students and the graduates.  We are encouraging the members of the Board of Trustees to get involved with their local Parish Priests, thinking and helping in the educational field.

Thanking all of you and praying to the Almighty to bless and direct all our steps to the glory of His Church.

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