Timeline of Orthodoxy in New Zealand

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Orthodoxy in
Orthodoxy in Australia Timeline
Orthodoxy in New Zealand Timeline
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Gk Orthodox Archd. of ANZ
GOA Aus - Abp Stylianos
Antiochian - Metr. Basil
ROCOR - Met Hilarion
Serbian - Bp Irinej
Romanian - Bp Michael
GOM NZ - Met Myron

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St Anna
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O.L. of Kazan
Proph. Elias
St John Mtn
St Sava (Elaine)
Archangels, NZ
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First Wave of Immigrants

  • 1850s: Massacres of Orthodox Christians by the Ottoman Turks in Lebanon, Mount Lebanon, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East see a great displacement of Orthodox from these regions.
  • 1880s: Numbers of Arabic speaking Orthodox arrive in Australia and some move from there to New Zealand.
  • 1890s: Russian, Syrian, and Greeks set up community worship groups where all involved are welcome.
  • 1898: Patriarch of Constantinople refuses to recognise newly elected Arabic speaking Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. This fractures the Orthodox communites around the world.
Patriarch of Jerusalem considered neutral in this dispute and asked to send out priests for Australia and New Zealand.
  • 1902: Church of Greece takes responsibility for Greek-speaking parishes in Australia from the Church of Jerusalem.
  • 1908: Ecumenical Patriarchate arbitrates and grants jurisdiction of Greek parishes in Australia to the Church of Greece.
  • 1910: Hmk Nicholas (Manavitch), the first Orthodox priest to reside in New Zealand arrives.
  • 1911 Jan 11: First church in New Zealand, St Michael's, blessed in Dunedin by Hmk Fr Nicholas.
  • 1913: Fr Nicholas Shehadie appointed Patriarchal Exarch for Australia and New Zealand by His Beatitude Gregorious Haddad Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.
Hmk Fr Nicholas leaves New Zealand for Sydney, Australia. No priest left in New Zealand.
  • 1916: Exarch Fr Nicholas Shehadie visits New Zealand for 2-3 months. Conducts services throughout New Zealand. After his departure there is, again, no priest in New Zealand.
  • 1919: Exarchate of Australia and New Zealand is confirmed as permanent by Patriarch of Antioch.

Second Wave of Immigrants

  • 1924 Mar 7: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand established by Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Jul 8: Metropolitan Christoforos (Knitis) of Australia and New Zealand arrives.
  • 1928: Metropolitan Christoforos (Knitis) leaves for Samos.
  • 1931 Sep 18: Timotheos (Evangelinides) elected Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand by Ecumenical Patriarchate.
  • 1932 Jul 26: Metropolitan Timotheos (Evangelinides) arrives in Australia.
  • 1937: Archimandrite Antonius (Mobayed) stays in New Zealand for several months, transfers responsibility for church to local Anglican clergy as a temporary measure. Fr Antonius last visits New Zealand in 1939.
  • 1947 Apr 22: Archimandrite Theophylactos (Papathanasopoulos) elected Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand by Ecumenical Patriarchate.
  • 1948 Nov: Bishop Theodore (Rafalsky) arrives in Australia.
  • 1958 Aug 2: Metropolitan Theophylactos (Papathanasopoulos) killed in car accident in Melbourne.
  • 1959 Apr 27: Metropolitan Ezekiel (Tsoukalas) of Australia and New Zealand arrives in Australia.
Sep 1: The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and New Zealand becomes the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand, and Metropolitan Ezekiel becomes Archbishop.
  • 1961: St Andrew's Brotherhood set up by Archbishop Ezekiel for the improvement of Archdiocesan services.
Jan: First Clergy-Laity Congress held in Sydney.
  • 1965: Second Clergy-Laity Congress held in Sydney.
  • 1969: Metropolitan Iakovos of Philadelphia arrives as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Local Bishop

  • 1970 Jan: New Zealand separates from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, becoming a separate Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Zealand. Dionysios elected Metropolitan of New Zealand and Exarch of India, Korea and Japan.
  • 1971: Fr Jack Witbrock, a former Anglican priest, converts to Orthodoxy.
  • 1969: First Antiochian Orthodox hierarch, Bishop Gibran (Ramlawey) of Australia and New Zealand, arrives in Australia.
  • 1972 Sep: Bishop Gibran visits NZ and ordains Fr Jack Witbrock to the diaconate and priesthood. Assigns Fr Jack to serve St Michael's in Dunedin. This he does for 12 years.
  • 1973 Antiochian Mission at Christchurch begins.
  • 1974 Dec 30: First Serbian Orthodox hierarch, Bishop Nikolai (Mrdja), enthroned.
  • 1992 Oct: Fr Ilyan Eades moves from Auckland to Dunedin to pastor St Michael's.
  • 1996 Nov: The first Pastoral vist by His All-Holiness The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to New Zealand
  • 1996: Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia established with the exarchates of Singapore, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore, taking India away from New Zealand. Nikitas (Lulias) made first metropolitan. New Zealand retains exarchates of Korea and Japan. Later, Moscow would protest the exarchate of China, and this exarchate would be dropped from the Metropolitanate's list.
  • 2000: Metropolitan Paul makes first archpastoral visit to New Zealand. Fr Jack Witbrock and Fr Ilyan Eades elevated to archpriest. Wellington mission begun (alternating Byzantine and Western rites), Fr Dr Ian Nield named priest.
  • 2003: Metropolitan Dionysios (Psiahas) of New Zealand elected Metropolitan of Proussa; Joseph (Harkiolakis) elected Metropolitan of New Zealand, Exarch of Korea and Japan.
Jan: Fr Victor Didenco received into Antiochian Archdiocese.
July: New Zealand Deanery of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand created. Archpriest Jack Witbrock made Dean.
  • 2004: By decree of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Korea is raised to Metropolis, with exarchate of Japan. Sotirios (Trambas), former auxiliary bishop to the Metropolitan of New Zealand, elected first metropolitan.
  • 2005 Aug: Metropolitan Joseph submits his resignation from the see of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Zealand.
  • 2005 Oct: Amphilochios elected Metropolitan of New Zealand.

Further Reading