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Orthodoxy in Australia
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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. Mitko then received ecclesiastical training at Saint Kliment Ohridski Seminary for 5 years, and went on to tertiary studies in History at Skopje University. After his marriage to Zorka, he was ordained in the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Fr Mitko and Zorka have one daughter, Alexandra.
In 1986, Fr Mitko was sent to Australia to serve in Rockdale, and then Queanbeyan, during the episcopate of Metropolitan Timotji in Australia and New Zealand. In 1996, after 10 years in Australia, he was granted a canonical release from Met Timotji and returned to Macedonia.
After eight months, Fr Mitko returned to Australia and entered secular employment. However, in 1998, he was invited by Bishop Gibran to join the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese and serve at Saint Nicholas Church (OCA), Bankstown. He has remained there since, now as rector, while continuing to hold secular employment. In 2001, he was elevated to protopresbyter by Metropolitan Archbishop Paul.
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.