New parish of Serbian Orthodox Church in Sydney

The Serbian Orthodox Church has become richer by receiving a new parish, unique in that it is the only church in the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, where the official liturgical language is English.

The Parish of St Archangel Michael in Homebush, a Sydney neighborhood close to the Olympic village, has come under the auspices of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The transition was formalised during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of Forgiveness, 06 March 2011, celebrated by His Grace Bishop Irinej, Parish Priest Fr John Vesic, and Deacons Branko Vasilic and Nemanja Mrdjenovic.

The Parish of Saint Michael the Archangel was founded by Russians in 1977 as "The Australian Orthodox Fraternity of St Michael" and since then has been under the auspices of the jurisdiction of the Orthodox homebush2Church in America (OCA). The OCA had originally received three parish communities in Australia, two in Sydney and one in Brisbane. All three parishes have now been received into local jurisdictions of Orthodox Churches in Australia. The Fraternity purchased the current church building in January 1978.

For the last two years, this parish, which today is comprised of Orthodox people from different ethnic roots, was served by the Very Reverend Father John Vesic on loan to the Orthodox Church in America but effectively under the spiritual care of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Australia.

At their recent annual meeting, the parishioners of the Fraternity decided to formally change canonical auspices to the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand. His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, head of the Orthodox Church in America gave his blessing for final release of this wonderful parish community to the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand. At the conclusion of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Forgiveness Sunday from the ambo was read the Ecclesiastical Charter of His Grace Bishop Irinej canonically reception of the new parish.
It is interesting to note that the Charter was received from the hands of His Grace Bishop Irinej by the Church Warden, Mr Nikita Schapsky, who as a young man was an altar server with Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, during the Saint's tenure in Shanghai.

During the Liturgy, at the small Entrance, the Archpriest Fr John Vesić was elevated to the rank of protopresbyter-stavrophor. Upon delivery of the Charter and reception of the parish under the aegis of the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Grace Bishop Irinej handed to Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Fr John, the Holy Gospel Book, Holy Myrrh for Chrismation and the Antimension signed by Bishop Irinej by which he is now deigned to serve the Divine Liturgy in the parish. Thus, Fr John was appointed the permanent parish priest on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox homebush4Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.

Source: Diocese of Australia-New Zealand