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Very Rev. Protopresbyter Mitko Machevski is the parish priest of St. Nicholas Church, Bankstown, New South Wales, Australia, which is a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand. The parish follows the Old Calendar and uses Church Slavonic.
Mitko was born in July 1954 in Ratevo, Yugoslavia, in what is now locally known as the Republic of Macedonia. His parents, Gjorgji and Jana (nee Postolovska) Macevski were also born in Ratevo. Mitko was the second of four boys. His primary schooling, from years 1 to 8, was at Rusinovo. He then received ecclesiastical training at Sveti Kliment Ohridski Seminary for five years, and went on to tertiary studies in Philosophy and History at University in Skopje. He was drafted for one year for 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), a trained teacher.
Mitko was ordained in the Macedonian Orthodox Church and was sent with his popadia to a parish in the town of Valandovo, 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 of Australia and New Zealand (Macedonian). In 1987, after serving five years in Australia, he was granted a canonical release from Metr. Timotej and went back to Valandovo in Macedonia.
After twelve months, Fr. Mitko and family returned to Australia, where both he and his popadia obtained secular employment. In 1995, Fr. Mitko suffered an industrial accident which crushed his lower spine. As a result, 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 St. Nicholas Church (OCA), Bankstown, in an honorary capacity.
His initial period as priest at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Bankstown, was successful, in part because Bishop Gibran encouraged the parish to continue to follow the Old Calendar and use Slavonic in services. 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 Metr. Abp. Paul and the Bankstown parish was accepted into the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand. In 2004, following encouragement from Metr. Abp. Paul, 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 St. Nicholas Church in 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.