Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) has recently launched an Aboriginal Australian mission in Gunning, New South Wales, near an Aboriginal community north of Canberra, the capital of that Commonwealth.  The parish has been named for one of the Saints who has shined forth here in North America (and around the world, really!), St. John (Maximovitch) the Wonderworker, who was ROCOR’s Archbishop of San Francisco and Shanghai.  (He labored in Paris too, a refugee from the Russian Civil War [i.e., Reds vs. Whites].)

I note that the missionary priest, Fr. Seraphim Slade, is himself an Aborigine convert and ordained just last year.  Very cool!  This Indian encourages Aboriginal Orthodox missions here in the Americas too: Let’s not rest on our Alaskan laurels now!  (And yes, Indigenous people come in all shades, there and here.)  😉  This retired broadcaster also likes the idea of Fr. Seraphim’s Aboriginal media work!

The Australia Diocese directory gives contact info as follows:

St John the Wonderworker of San Francisco Chapel

Australian Orthodox Indigenous Mission
All Services in English – phone for Service Times

50 Grovenor Street
Gunning NSW 2581
AUSTRALIA

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 55
Gunning NSW 2581
AUSTRALIA

Priest Seraphim Slade

Phone: (02) 4845 1370
Mobile: 0432 113 858
International Phone: +61 (2) 4845 1370

When they have services seems uncertain: one blog I saw had a definite every-other-week schedule (fortnightly, as they say Down Under), but the diocese doesn’t, so ISTM you’d do best to phone Father during the week before going, just to make sure he’s going to be there.

This is the same ROCOR diocese that received Indonesia mission founder Fr. Daniel* and some of his flock a couple years ago (“Friends of” site in English) after they apparently had some differences with the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s effort there (site partly in English, part Indonesian), and seems to handle the revived Church of Russia mission in South Korea.  It’s also the former residence of ROCOR’s First Hierarch, Metropolitan HILARION, who seems to still be leading that diocese along with his duties in New York.

Glory to God for all things!

(*–Want an Irish Orthodox connection?  Fr. Daniel’s emphasis on indigenously-driven, acculturating mission reminds me of my kinsman St. Declan of Ardmore, County Waterford, who brought the Gospel to his and my own Decies [Ir. Deise] ‘tribe,’ maybe even before St. Patrick!  You want controversy?: When Declan had succeeded in converting most of the people, their ruler still wouldn’t go along.  Since Declan was a member of his ‘clan,’ and thought a Christian people should have a Christian Ri, he had him voted out by acclamation, and himself voted in temporarily — a Bishop and everything — to hand off the reins to a neophyte Christian kinsman!  And this in one of Ireland’s couple dozen most important petty kingdoms!)

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This is good news, because it represents closer cooperation of another “canonical” jurisdiction with the main grouping of other canonical jurisdictions.  Bishop MERCURIUS of Zaraisk, who administers around three dozen parishes in the U.S. – referred to sometimes as “the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA” – on behalf of the Patriarch of Moscow personally, has attended some SCOBA meetings in recent years as an observer.  AFAIK there has never been any question about the “canonicity” of the Patriarchal Parishes of the ROC in the USA (as they are also called) as such, ie, their Communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, at least since Moscow and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) reconciled in 1970.  (Don’t ask me about before 1970 though; my history’s rusty.)

The PPs aren’t officially a diocese, but are under the personal jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Moscow, though as far as I can gather, they function almost like a diocese.  (There’s a similar cluster of parishes in Canada with its own administrator-bishop under the Patriarch.)  They were part of a rival diocese Moscow launched here, also called The Exarchate, after the OCA, then referred to as the Metropolia, declared temporary autonomy as a result of the Russian Revolution and Civil War through the 1920s and the disruptions it inflicted on the Patriarchate.  IOW, Moscow officially didn’t always recognize the Metropolia between the ’20s and ’70, although OCA histories point out that at least a couple times they continued to submit their newly-elected Primates to the Patriarchate for confirmation, and it confirmed them, sometimes years later.  After 1970, these were parishes that didn’t wish to be merged into the OCA right away, when Moscow assigned its canonical territory here to the OCA, and so it was agreed they wouldn’t have to, and that Moscow would only facilitate their integration into the OCA when each parish desires it.

To my knowledge, essentially only two other local canonical “jurisdictions” are not in SCOBA now, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR, aka ROC Abroad / ROCA) and that of the Jerusalem Patriarchate.  AFAIK there is no question about their Communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, it’s just that SCOBA membership isn’t mandatory.

A word about SCOBA itself is in order.  The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas* actually is comprised ‘only’ of the 9 member-primates of certain jurisdictions headquartered in the U.S., and now also the PP administrator vicar-bishop, Mercurius (at this writing SCOBA hasn’t updated this page yet).  Jurisdictions themselves technically aren’t part of SCOBA, and neither are the other Bishops of jurisdictions with Primates in SCOBA, although SCOBA has organized so far three meetings of many of their other Bishops here, in Ligonier, Penna., in 1994; in Washington in 2001; and in Chicago two years ago.  SCOBA also sponsors several officially interjurisdictional ministries or organizations.  SCOBA is not a synod or jurisdiction, but a voluntary working-group for greater collaboration among Orthodox here, with an ultimate goal of jurisdictional unity of the Orthodox here.  There are (or perhaps have been) similar organizations in Australia, Germany, and France.  SCOBA has its critics: some say they’re going too slow towards Orthodox unity, others say they’re too involved with the Ecumenical Movement.  The Primates convene twice a year; this is interesting because according to ancient Orthodox Church Canons (rules), a local (provincial) synod of bishops is supposed to meet twice a year.

(*–“Americas,” I believe, because at the time the Greek Archdiocese of America was “of North and South America,” although today a couple other groups have some parishes in South America also.  But most Orthodox there are not part of SCOBA.)

Many Years to Metropolitan HILARION (Kapral), till now Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand as well as of some of the Orthodox in Indonesia and South Korea, just confirmed by the Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow as First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), and Ruling Hierarch of its diocese of the eastern United States!

Metr. HILARION is a Canadian, the son of Ukrainian immigrants / refugees to Alberta province, and a Baby Boomer, born in 1948.  He succeeds Metr. LAURUS (Skurla), who reposed in March from the flu on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy at age 80.

Hilarion was elected by the Council of Bishops of ROCOR, the 11 of them, meeting in New York City Monday afternoon, subject to the Moscow Synod’s confirmation earlier today.  He is expected to be enthroned by his brother Bishops this Sunday in NY.  Since the reunion with the MP a year ago, ROCOR appears to function as an autonomous ecclesiastical province of the Patriarchate, whose approval is needed – and expected – for its Bishops’ elections; its Bishops are supposed to take their turns serving on the Patriarchal Synod.

BTW, ROCOR’s official name in Russian (or is it Church Slavonic?) sounds less redundant: “Russian Orthodox Church Zagranitsei,”  which last term I believe means simply “Beyond the Borders” or words to that effect.  They’re often called “the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad,” or ROCA for short.  (You don’t think Jay-Z is a highly-traditional Orthodox Christian, do you?!!!)

For Lenten almsgiving, consider the following:

Metropolitan Archbishop PAUL of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand, in announcing the reception of the 6,000 in the Philippines on their website, requested donations to help with things there. He listed a bank account number for wire transfers, but in case those are costly for you internationally, I emailed him about sending a check the old-fashioned way. He says to make it out to “Archbishop Paul Saliba” and mail it addressed as follows:

Archbishop Paul Saliba
2 Brampton Avenue
Illawong NSW 2234
Sydney AUSTRALIA

He says he personally has an account in US dollars, but the Archdiocese does not, so if we send them made out to him personally, he will exchange them.

According to the Archdiocese’s former website, he’s 68 years old, from Lebanon, studied in Greece, and studied and worked here in the States from ’68-99, including qualifying as an alcohol and drug addiction counselor to help parishioners and other Orthodox in the DC area, where he spent 20 years. According to Orthodoxwiki, the Archdiocese went from 6 parishes in ’99 to 34 last year, to which we can now add about an equal number in the Philippines!

The Antiochian Archdiocese in Australia has recently announced it expects to receive into its ranks members and prospective clergy from two denominations in The Philippines, who a Wiki author reports to number approximately 6,000 in 35 congregations / missions (link probably won’t last forever).  They’ve already got an interesting English-language website for mission in that country.

This reminds me of the initial reception of ‘just’ 2,000 “Evangelical Orthodox” into Antioch’s North American Archdiocese back in 1987 I’ve read so much about!  There’ve been growing pains, but they’ve transformed that jurisdiction, and in significant ways, much of the rest of the Orthodox Church on this continent, especially in the U.S. where most of them are, as Fr. Peter Gillquist points out in the linked article.  You can bet Metropolitan PAUL Down Under has been in touch with Metr. PHILIP*and Fr. Peter up here, as well as with Antioch itself, regarding such a large reception.  (*–Although both their family names are Saliba, IIUC they’re not related.)

There doesn’t seem to be much information about those “incoming” on the Web yet, that I can locate.

Many years to them!