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Orthodoxy in Australia
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Born Stamatios Papanastasiou, Archimandrite Stephanos was the Vicar-General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia during the 1970s. As vicar-general, Archimandrite Stephanos represented the Archdiocese at the founding of SCCOCA in 1979.
In 1976, after his enthronement, Archbishop Stylianos (Harkianakis), Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, established the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of our Lord at Earlwood, Sydney and appointed Archimandrite Stephanos as its abbot. In order to devote himself fully to the monastic life and monasticism in Australia, Fr. Stephanos later resigned as Vicar-General to lead the monastery full time. At the monastery he was widely sought out for confession. As the monastery began accepting novices, Archim. Stephanos felt that an intra-city heritage was no longer an ideal situation for a monastery.
In the early 1990s, Abbot Stephanos began a hermitage at a new, but envisioned as temporary, site at Mangrove Mountain in New South Wales. In 1995, the temporary site at Lower Mangrove Creek was complete and the brotherhood moved there from Sydney. The new monastery at Lower Mangrove Creek was placed under the patronage of the Mother of God "Pantanassa".
As the transfer of the monastery was progressing, a number of women had approached Fr. Stephanos wishing to pursue the monastic life. While these women were sent to a monastery in Greece, Fr. Stephanos accepted that a monastic life for women was needed in Australia and the four nuns returned to make up the first sisters of the Monastery of the Holy Cross. They established residence at St. Arsenios House with Fr Stephanos as their spiritual father. In 2003, Holy Cross Monastery moved to Mangrove Mountain, five kilometers from Pantanassa Monastery, and St. Arsenios became the Sydney metochion for Pantanassa Monastery.
The plan for a permanent home for Pantanassa Monastery was not forgotten by Fr. Stephanos and the brotherhood. On May 27, 2005, Fr. Stephanos received government permission and excavation on the monastic site on top of Mangrove Mountain began. On July 16, 2005, the foundation stone of the main church ('katholikon') was laid by Archbishop Stylianos in advance of the start of construction of the church and first part of the living quarters in February 2006.
On December 10, 2010, Fr. Stephanos participated in the tonsure of Fr. Eusebios, a priest-monk of the monastery, by Fr. Theodore, Abbot of the ancient monastery of Panagia Molivdoskepasti in Konitsa, Greece. Fr Eusebios succeeded Fr Stephanos as abbot of Pantanassa Monastery, with Fr Stephanos being co-sponsor at Fr Eusebios' September 17, 2011 enthronement.
|Abbot of the Monastery of the Transfiguration of Our Lord
Monastery reverted to parish
|Abbot of Pantanassa Monastery
Mangrove Mountain, New South Wales