Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

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The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, headquartered in Sydney, is an eparchy of the Church of Constantinople. Its current primate is His Eminence Stylianos (Harkianakis), Archbishop of Australia and Exarch of Oceania.

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Jurisdiction Constantinople
Diocese type Archdiocese
Founded 1924
Current bishop Abp. Stylianos
See(s) Sydney
Headquarters Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Territory Australia, New Guinea
Liturgical language(s) Greek, English
Musical tradition Byzantine Chant
Calendar Revised Julian
Population estimate 364,556

(Census 2001, including only specified Greek Orthodox)

Official website Greek Archdiocese


The first priest to serve in Australia was Archimandrite Dorotheos Bakaliaros around 1896. In 1898 the first Greek Orthodox parish was established, named after the Holy Trinity. Communities were originally supplied with priests from the Church of Jerusalem, and later the Church of Greece, and there was no attempt to organise the communities into a diocese.

In 1924, the Greek Orthodox parishes in Australia were transferred to the Church of Constantinople, who sent Christoforos (Knitis) to be the first metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand. He served until 1929 when he returned to Samos, his homeland. The next metropolitan was Timotheos (Evangelinidis), and he arrived in 26 January, 1932, serving until he was elected metropolitan of Rhodes in 1947. He was replaced by Theophylactos (Papathanasopoulos), who served until his death in a car crash on 2 August, 1958. Ezekiel (Tsoukalas), then an assistant bishop in America, was elected metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand in February 1959, and arrived on 2 April 1959.

On 1 September of that year, the Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand was elevated to Archdiocese, and Ezekiel to Archbishop. Later, in 1970, the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople separated New Zealand from Australia, leaving the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Zealand. In 1974 Ezekiel was promoted to the Metropolis of Pisidia, and the current Archbishop, Stylianos (Harkianakis), was elected on 13 February 1974 and enthroned on 26 April, 1975.

This article forms part of the series
Orthodoxy in
Orthodoxy in Australia Timeline
Orthodoxy in New Zealand Timeline
Antiochian Orthodox
Gk Orthodox Archd. of ANZ
GOA Aus - Abp Makarios
Antiochian - Metr. Basil
ROCOR - Met Hilarion
Serbian - Bp Irinej
Romanian - Bp Michael
GOM NZ - Met Myron

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Recent History

In recent years, there has been tension between the Archdiocese and the current Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I concerning the elevation of one of the auxiliary bishops of Australia, Joseph, to be the Greek Orthodox metropolitan of New Zealand. While some letters were exchanged and published through the Archdiocese-owned Greek newspaper, To Vema, the elevation of Metropolitan Joseph remained in effect and unchanged until he abandoned the post in 2005 and took up the role of an assistant bishop in Greece.

In the past year, the Greek Orthodox Parish-Community of St George, Hobart, has split due to rebel parish council breaking ties with the Archdiocese. The church building has gone to those ejected from the Archdiocese of Australia and who are now affiliated with the schismatic splinter group the Autonomous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia. The canonical priest under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia has begun a new parish of St George under the Archdiocese.

In early February 2006 the new parish of St. Therapon in Warhoonga, in the northern suburbs of Sydney, celebrated their first Divine Liturgy.


The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is treated as one single archdiocese with five archdiocesan districts: New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory; Victoria and Tasmania; South Australia and the Northern Territory; Queensland and New Guinea; and Western Australia. To assist the archbishop, he has an amount of assistant bishops - currently three, but in previous times as many as five. There are 118 parishes and communities across Australia, and over 750,000 faithful in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

The Archdiocese also includes 6 monasteries. The largest male monastery is the Holy Monastery of Pantanassa in New South Wales, and the largest female monastery is the Holy Monastery of Gorgoepikoos in Victoria.

The Archdiocese has numerous successful organisations under its wings. These include:

In 1982, the archdiocese began the St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College in Sydney as a part of the School of Divinity of the University of Sydney. At St. Andrew's Archbishop Stylianos currently serves as dean and Bishop Seraphim as sub-dean. As the lone orthodox theological college in Australasia, it often accepts students of other jurisdictions. St. Andrew's has graduated about 100 students since it opened its doors. Of those about 25 have been ordained as clergy , while others have become teachers in the Churches schools, catechists, chanters, or have continued into postgraduate studies.

The Greek Welfare Centres, operating for over 35 years under government funding and charity in each capital city and other cities of Australia. The 150 staff of the Greek Welfare Centres around Australia offer a large variety of programs and catering for the enormous varience in the needs of the hundreds of clients that flow throught their offices and their satellite centres each week.

St. Basil's Homes for the Aged, operate around Australia in each capital city since 1969 caring for all needs of the aged in their numorous facilities as well as delivering care into the homes of the Greeks under community care programs. St. Basil's cares for about 1200 aged Greeks in Australia. In 2006 St. Basil's commissioned a new $30million state of the art facility in Miranda to the south of Syndey.

Estia Foundation offers respite to those caring for children and adults with disabilities. Currently caring for over 100 young people.

Provicare Foundation is the drug and alcohol arm of the Archdiocese, offering telephone councelling as well as client visits.

The Archdiocese boasts seven bilingual colleges around Australia including primary and secondary education to children of the Church and other Australians. Each school has between 650 - 1000 students who enjoy education in all disciplines as well as Greek language, culture and their Orthodox Christian faith.

Each of these organisations and schools have been built by donations of the faithful and by contributions by the Australian government.

Each pasish in the archdiocese hosts any number of the following activities besides their usual worship program: Child Care centres, Greek language school, Companionship groups for the aged, infant play groups, teenagers groups, Bible Study, Orthodox Lecture series, Iconography courses, Church Chanting classes, Catechisms schools and social clubs.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia is also a founding member of SCCOCA. Archbishop Stylianos is the senior bishop of all Canonical bishops in Australia.

The Episcopacy

Diocesan bishops

Primates in Australia

External links