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V Rev Protopresbyter Mitko Machevski is the parish priest of Saint Nicholas Church Bankstown, NSW, Australia, which is a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania that follows the Old Calendar and uses Church Slavonic.
Mitko was born in July 1954 in Ratevo, Yugoslavia, in an area now locally known as the Republic of Macedonia. His father Gjorgji Macevski was born in Ratevo, as was his mother Jana (nee) Postolovska. Mitko was the second of four boys. His primary schooling was years 1 to 8 at Rusinovo. He then received ecclesiastical training at Sveti Kliment Ohridski Seminary for 5 years, and went on to tertiary studies in Philosophy and History at University in Skopje. He was drafted for one year compulsory military service, which he served in Belgrade, Serbia. After discharge from military service he returned to Ratevo and married Zorka Milcovska (b. Sept 1956) who was a trained teacher.
Mitko was ordained in the Macedonian Orthodox Church and sent to serve with his popadia in the town of Valandovo in southern central Macedonia. While serving in Valandovo their daughter Alexandra was born.
In 1982, Fr Mitko was sent to Australia to serve in Rockdale, and then Queanbeyan, during the episcopate of Metropolitan Timotej Macedonian Orthodox Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand. In 1987, after serving 5 years in Australia, he was granted a canonical release from Met Timotej and went back to Valandovo in Macedonia.
After twelve months, Fr Mitko and family returned to Australia and both he and his popadia obtained secular employment. In 1995 Fr Mitko suffered an industrial accident which crushed his lower spine. His spine is now held together by 22 screws. In 1997, he was invited by Bishop Gibran to join the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese and serve the small congregation at Saint Nicholas Church (OCA), Bankstown, in an honorary capacity.
His initial period as priest at Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church Bankstown was succesful, in part because Bishop Gibran encouraged the parish to continue to follow the Old Calendar, and Slavonic usage. With the appointment of Bishop Gibran's successor, Metropolitan Archbishop Paul, he was confirmed as permanent parish priest, still serving in an honorary capacity.
In 2001, he was elevated to protopresbyter by Metropolitan Archbishop Paul and the Bankstown parish was accepted into the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania. Following encouragement from Met Abp Paul, in 2004 the parish purchased the land on which the church was built, from the NSW government.
Following purchase of the church property, Fr Mitko obtained part time secular employment again, while continuing as parish priest of Saint Nicholas Bankstown.
When asked why he changed to Antioch he said
- I am Orthodox for religious reasons, not nationalistic ones. Antioch is not a nationalistic Church. Antioch is happy to allow the full diversity of languages, and usages, including the two calendars. I can be more Orthodox in Antioch than elsewhere.