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In 1908 Constantinople removed the Orthodox churches in Australia from the jurisdiction of neutral Jerusalem, and gave them to the [[Church of Greece]] with the stipulation that all services were to be in Church Greek only. This deprived the Arabic-speaking Orthodox and the Russian-speaking Orthodox of effective spiritual comfort.
Born in 1862, Father Nicholas Shehadie was sent to Australia in 1913 as Patriarchal Exarch to determine the extent of the deprivation and to find possible solutions. While this was intended to be temporary, World War I intervened, preventing Father Nicholas from returning to Lebanon and his family. After the war his stay became permanent and he exported his wife and children from Lebanon to Australia.
He realised the need for a church for the Syrian Orthodox (as they were then known), and determined to build it, with [[Divine Liturgy|Divine Liturgies]] being held in parishioners' homes until that time.