Timeline of Orthodoxy in Australia

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This is a timeline regarding the presence of Orthodoxy in Australia.

Contents

Community Churches

  • 1810 First known Orthodox (Russian) permanent resident arrives in Australia. Wife of a British Military officer freshly arrived from the Peninsular War.
  • 1820 April: First Orthodox service in Australia. Held at Kirribilli Point (Sydney) by Fr Dionisii, a Russian Orthodox chaplain on the Vostok.
  • 1850s: Massacres of Orthodox Christians by the Ottoman Turks in Greece, Lebanon, Mount Lebanon, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East see a great displacement of Orthodox from these regions.
  • 1868: Fr Christoforos Arsenios settles at Clermont in Central Queensland. No record exists of any services conducted.
  • 1880s: Numbers of Greek and Arabic speaking Orthodox arrive in Australia. Later Russians arrive as well.
  • 1890s: Russian, Syrian, and Greeks set up community worship groups where all involved are welcome. Commmunity churches are organised.
  • 1896: Archimandrite Dorotheos (Bakaliaros) is first resident priest who functions as such. Conducts services in Melbourne and Sydney.
  • 1897: Joint Greek, Russian, and Syrian Orthodox communities in Sydney (New South Wales) and Melbourne (Victoria) are established.
  • 1898 May 29: Foundation stone laid in Sydney of the first Orthodox Church in Australia (included Greek, Russian and Syrian worshippers and contributors). Dedicated to Holy Trinity.
Greek-speaking Patriarch of Antioch deposed. Intense lobbying underway between Antioch and Constantinople. Relations become acrimonious.
Patriarch of Jerusalem considered neutral in this dispute and asked by community churches to send out priests for Australia and New Zealand.
The Church of Jerusalem appoints Fr Seraphim Phocas to Sydney and Fr Athanasios Kantopoulos to Melbourne.
  • 1899: Refusal of the Patriarch of Constantinople to recognise the newly elected Arabic-speaking Patriarch of Antioch and All the East causes a parting of the way between the Greek speaking Orthodox and the Arabic speaking Orthodox around the world including Australia. Russian speaking Orthodox also suffer in the fall-out.
  • 1900: Foundation stone laid in Melbourne of first exclusively Greek speaking Orthodox Church. Dedicated to the Annunciation.
  • 1902: Church of Greece takes responsibility for Greek parishes in Australia from the Church of Jerusalem.
  • 1903: Fr Nikandros Bettines arrives in Melbourne from Zakynthos, sent by the Archbishop of Athens.
  • 1908: Patriarch of Constantinople arbitrates and awards jurisdiction of Greek parishes in Australia to the Church of Greece.

Local Exarch

  • 1913: Fr Nicholas Shehadie appointed Patriarchal Exarch for Australia and New Zealand by His Beatitude Gregorious Haddad Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.
  • 1913: First Exarch of Australia and New Zealand, Fr Nicholas Shehadie arrives in Sydney and serves as parish priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Surry Hills.
  • 1917: Bolshevik revolution in Russia sees large numbers of Russians and allied peoples displaced and fleeing genocidal massacres there and in satelite countries over the next 10 years. Many flee to western Europe, and then North America, and South America. Others flee to Asian Russia and then to China, Japan, South East Asia, Philippines, and Australasia.
  • 1919: Exarchate of Australia and New Zealand is confirmed as permanent by Patriarch of Antioch.
  • 1920 May 23: Foundation stone laid at Walker and Redfern Sts Redfern, Sydney, by the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Sydney, for the first exclusively Syrian Orthodox church in Australia. Right Reverend Father Nicola Shehade becomes pastor of Redfern, and continues as Exarch of Australia and New Zealand.
  • 1920s: Genocidal massacres in modern Turkey following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire see millions of people displaced. Large numbers of Orthodox flee to the new world including North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.

Local Bishops

  • 1924 Mar 7: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand established by Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Jul 8: Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Christoforos (Knitis) of Australia and New Zealand arrives.
  • 1925: First Russian church acquired in Brisbane. Was dedicated to St Nicholas.
  • 1929: Metropolitan Christoforos (Knitis) deposed, exiled to Samos.
  • 1930s: First Russian Orthodox priest in Sydney, Father Methodious, resides with Antiochian Orthodox family of Anis and Aman Birbara. Until the purchase of a house in Moore Park, and its conversion into a church, Archimandrite Methodious held all his Sydney services at the Antiochian Orthodox church of St George Redfern.
  • 1931 Sep 18: Timotheos (Evangelinidis) elected Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand by Ecumenical Patriarchate.
  • 1932 Jul 26: Metropolitan Timotheos (Evangelinidis) arrives in Australia.
  • 1934 May 15: Exarch Nicholas Shehadie (Antiochian) passes away from asthma. Funeral at St George Redfern is presided over by Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Timotheos.
  • 1935: Father Nicholas' son Michael is ordained deacon, then priest, on behalf of the Patriarch of Antioch, by Metropolitan Timotheos.
  • 1936: First Orthodox church established in Western Australia, under Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, dedicated to Sts Constantine and Helen.
  • 1947 Apr 22: Archimandrite Theophylactos (Papathanasopoulos) elected Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand by Ecumenical Patriarchate.
  • 1948 Nov: First Russian Orthodox Bishop Theodore (Rafalsky) arrives in Australia. He studied theology in Russia before World War I with Sydney's Antiochian Orthodox priest Fr Michael Shehadie.
First Ukrainian Orthodox services held in Canberra by Fr A. Theodorovych.
  • 1949: First Serbian Orthodox services held by Fr Sv. Sekulic.
  • 1950: First Bulgarian Orthodox parish in Melbourne.
  • 1952: First Estonian Orthodox parish established by Fr D. Juurma.
  • 1955/56: Bishop Sava becomes Bishop of Australia and New Zealand (ROCOR).
  • 1958 Aug 2: Metropolitan Theophylactos (Papathanasopoulos) killed in car accident in Melbourne.
  • 1959 Apr 27: Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Ezekiel (Tsoukalas) of Australia and New Zealand arrives in Australia.
Sep 1: The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand becomes the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand, and Metropolitan Ezekiel becomes Archbishop.
  • 1961: St Andrew's Brotherhood set up by Archbishop Ezekiel for the improvement of Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan services.
Jan: First Greek Orthodox Clergy-Laity Congress held in Sydney.
Jun 19: Land purchased for Greek Orthodox St George Monastery, Springwood.
  • 1964-1969 Father Nicolas Mansour is Patriarchal Vicar-General of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand
  • 1965: Second Greek Orthodox Clergy-Laity Congress held in Sydney.
  • 1967: Father Nicolas Mansour appointed Exarch of Antiochian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand, bestowed with pectoral cross and adorned with it by Greek Orthodox Archbishop Ezekiel at request of Patriarch Ignatius of Antioch
  • 1969: Archimandrite Gibran (Ramlawey) dispatched from USA by Patriarch Ignatius of Antioch to investigate future of Antiochian Orthodox Church in Australasia.
Oct: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Australasia established by Holy Synod of Antioch.
Nov: First Antiochian Orthodox hierarch, Bishop Gibran (Ramlawey) of Australasia, returns to Australia and commences duties as Patriarchal Vicar of Australia and New Zealand.
Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Iakovos of Philadelphia arrives as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to investigate future of Greek Orthodox Church in Australia and in New Zealand.
  • 1970: Sister Dorothea places St Basil's Homes for the Aged under the patronage of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
Jan: New Zealand is separated from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, and becomes a separate Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Zealand with jurisdiction over Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea.
  • 1971 Orthodox Church in America presence begins in Australia with reception of one disaffected ROCOR parish in Bankstown, New South Wales, along with three priests.
Simultaneously Polish Orthodox presence begins in Australia with reception of a disaffected priest from ROCOR.
  • 1972: Third Greek Orthodox Clergy-Laity Congress held in Sydney.
Dec 20: First Romanian Orthodox parish established in Carlton, Melbourne. Dedicated to Ss Peter and Paul.
  • 1974: Bishop Nikolai (Mrdja), elected First Serbian Orthodox hierarch for Australia.
Bishop Nikolai (Mrdja), First Serbian Orthodox hierarch for Australia arrives in Australia.
Dec 30: First Serbian Orthodox hierarch, Bishop Nikolai (Mrdja), enthroned.
  • 1975 Feb 13: Metropolitan Stylianos (Harkianakis) of Miletoupolis elected Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Australia.
Apr 15: Archbishop Stylianos (Harkianakis) of Australia arrives.
26: Archbishop Stylianos enthroned.
  • 1979 Sep 22: Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Churches of Australia established, with the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Archbishop of Australia as permanent chairman.
  • 1981 Jan: Fourth Greek Orthodox Clergy-Laity Congress held in Sydney.
  • 1982: First Greek Orthodox National Youth Conference held at University of Melbourne. Resolution passed to hold Greek Orthodox National Youth Conferences every second year thereafter, with Greek Orthodox State Youth Conferences held on the alternate year.
  • 1983: Greek Orthodox St Andrew's Brotherhood revived and better organised by Archbishop Stylianos.
  • 1984: Second Greek Orthodox National Youth Conference held in Sydney.
  • 1985 Jan 27-29: Fifth Greek orthodox Clergy-Laity Congress held in Brisbane, Queensland.
May: Construction of St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College commences. College prepares to open in 1986.

Local Theological School

  • 1986 Feb: St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College begins teaching.
Third National Youth Conference (Greek Orthodox) held in Melbourne.
  • 1988 Sep 13: Moscow Patriarchate establishes first parish in Melbourne, dedicated to Holy Trinity.
  • 1989 Jan: Sixth Clergy-Laity Congress (Greek Orthodox) held in Melbourne.
Fourth National Youth Conference (Greek Orthodox) held in Melbourne
Moscow Patriarchate established second parish in Sydney.
  • 1991: Fifth National Youth Conference (Greek Orthodox) held in Adelaide.
  • 1991-94: Schism occurs from Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia. Patriarchate of Jerusalem accepts schismatic parishes and begins jurisdiction in Australia. Great protests from Archbishop Stylianos and Patriarch Bartholomew ensue, culminating in an expanded Greek-speaking synod and the excommunication of the bishops that went to Australia. Jerusalem withdraws from Australia, parishes form, in the case of the followers of Bp Paul of Christianopoulos, or else join old-calendarist synods.
  • 1993 Jan: Seventh Clergy-Laity Congress (Greek Orthodox) held in Sydney.
  • 1994: Sixth National Youth Conference (Greek Orthodox) held in Brisbane.
  • 1996 Feb: Modern English version by Professor David Frost of Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom published for the Australian Antiochian Orthodox Diocese
Nov: First Visit of Ecumenical Patriarch.
  • 1998 Jan: Eighth Clergy-Laity Congress (Greek Orthodox) held in Sydney.
Seventh National Youth Conference (Greek Orthodox) held in Sydney.
Nov: Having been received into the Orthodox Church, Fr Edward (Ted) Doncaster was ordained by Bishop Gibran and assigned to the Antiochian faithful in Western Australia, founding St Anthony the Great parish.
  • 1999 Jan: Bp Gibran Patriarchal Exarch for the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Australasia reposes.
Mar: The Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Australasia raised to the status of Archdiocese by Holy Synod of Antioch and All the East.
Sep: Archimandrite Paul Saliba, parish priest in Washington DC, USA, elected Metropolitan Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand by the Holy Synod of Antioch.
  • 2002: St. Andrew's Orthodox Press established to publish The Greek-Australian Vema, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese.
  • 2003: Eighth National Youth Conference (Greek Orthodox) held in Melbourne.
  • 2004: Permanent Romanian Orthodox priest in Western Australia
  • 2006: St. Andrew's Orthodox Press publishes The Divine Liturgy of our Father among the Saints John Chrysostom.
  • 2007 Jan: Ninth National Youth Conference (Greek Orthodox) held in Brisbane.

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