: Archpastoral Visit of His Grace Bishop George of Sydney Australia and New Zealand to Holy Annunciation Parish, Brisbane

On Saturday, 26 November 2022, Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church, Brisbane, was privileged to host His Grace, the Right Reverend George, Bishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand. Approaching the church, he was greeted by the altar servers, and blessed two to wear the cassock and enter the church. He was then welcomed by Mr Katavic, Warden, who gave a customary greeting of bread and salt, while the choir, led by Mrs Sams, sang ‘From the Rising…’.

Entering the church, he was greeted with a blessing cross by the Rector, Priest Andrew Smith. Our bishop gave a blessing to the priests, venerated the icons, and ascended the Ambon, as the choir sang ‘It is Truly Meet;’ then, as the choir sang ‘Ton Despotin‘, melodiously praying that the Lord grant our Bishop many, many years, His Grace blessed the faithful.In addition to the many parishioners who took the opportunity to greet Bp George, a number of clergy were also present: Archpriest Gabriel Makarov, Dean of Queensland and Rector of St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Brisbane, Archpriest Daniel Metlenko, Rector of St Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church, Centennial Park, Sydney, Protonamesnik Miloš Raketić, Rector of St Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, Woolloongabba,  Priest Stephen David, assistant priest at Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church, Brisbane, Priest Erich Fein, assistant priest at St John the Baptist Orthodox Mission, Toowoomba.

Entering the altar, His Grace was vested, and was then taken to the episcopal platform.  With Fr Andrew concelebrating with Bp George, the Third Hour was read, and then the Sixth Hour began.At the conclusion of the Psalms of the Sixth Hour, the altar servers took up three candidates, who bowed to the altar and the people, and made a prostration before the Bishop. For Palladios and then for Peter, Bp George prayed over them, tonsured them, vested them in the small phelonion (signifying the first rank of the priesthood), gave them a reading, and ordained them Readers. Then, Readers John and Palladios were brought before Bp George, where they were vested with the orarion, and then prayed over. Bp George concluded with announcing where each was appointed: Sdn John and Sdn Palladios to Holy Annunciation, and Rdr Peter to St John’s Mission in Toowoomba.At the conclusion of the Sixth Hour, Bp George gave the dismissal. He spoke briefly on the nature of the minor orders, and how we are in need of clergy to serve. He made clear that those ordained to minor orders should serve diligently, and thus be well-prepared when they are called on to serve in the major orders. He concluded by wishing the newly-ordained Godspeed in their labours.Fr Andrew responded by joyfully giving thanks for His Grace’s visit and pastoral care for our parish. Noting that various complications had intervened to prevent our Bishop visiting our parish since 2019, Fr Andrew expressed the fervent hope to again welcome Bp George in the new year. He invited everyone present to morning tea, both in honour of Bp George’s visit and in celebration of the newly-ordained.Most attendees were able to stay for our Morning Tea, which was jointly put together by the parish teams for Morning Tea & Coffee Hour, supported in turn with food and labour from many diligent parishioners. Most attendees were able to stay and share a time of joy-filled fellowship.Noting that many parishioners had yet to see or meet their Bishop, Fr Andrew hosted a Q&A session with His Grace during the Morning Tea. His Grace fielded many questions from parishioners, on: first steps in the spiritual life, how monasteries are established, the role and duties of a Bishop, how to pray while serving, applying canons pastorally, and the significance of a Ruling BIshop in the life of a parish. All were most grateful for the Bishop’s time and his considered answers.

Following the Q&A, His Grace departed to attend to other archpastoral commitments, and the clergy & faithful departed gradually in joyful thanksgiving – for the beginning of service from the newly-ordained, for the archpastoral care of our Ruling Bishop, and for the time spent in each others company.

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