Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia

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History[edit]

In 1897 the Greek Community of NSW was founded, encompassing Greek and Syrian Orthodox Christians. They built the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, the first Greek Orthodox Church in the Southern Hemisphere, completed in May 1898. Fr. D. Vakaliaros, who spoke Greek and Arabic, officiated. Fr. S. Fokas arrived from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1898.

[Additional historical content of founding Communities to be inserted]

Aftermath the arrival of Archbishop Ezekiel Kefalas [TBC] a new church system was implementated in 1959, with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia ["the GOAA"] elevated to an Archdiocese [1 August 1959] by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia Inc.[edit]

In 1958 the established communities founded the Federation of Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia Inc. ["the Federation"]. The Federation Foundation Member Communities were the Greek Orthodox Community of Sydney and New South Wales Inc.; the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria; the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia Inc.; and the Greek Orthodox Community of Newcastle.

Later, the Greek Orthodox Community of Clayton Ltd Vic., Greek Orthodox Community of Illawarra Wollongong NSW., Greek Orthodox Community of St Albans Vic., Greek Orthodox Community of Keilor Vic. and Greek Orthodox Community of Sunshine Vic. affiliated.

The Federation continued to represent the Communities' interests.

Serious divisions appeared within the Greek Orthodox Communities of Australia in the early 1960s. In respect to the Greek Orthodox Community of SA Executive Committee, Archbishop Ezekiel excommunicated ten councilors and suspend their cleric Rev. Stylianos Stenos as un-canonical.

Greek consulates declared the marriages performed by an un-canonical priest as invalid under Greek law.

While the Greek government introduced civil marriage in 1982, Greek citizens who needed consulate services were required to procure ‘canonical’ marriage and baptism certificates from the GOAA by paying, obtaining and presenting a receipt [of an appropriate sum] to validate the sacraments.

Foundation of Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia[edit]

On the initiative of the Federation, the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia was founded and registered on 4 June 1970 pursuant to the Associations Incorporations Act 1985 of South Australia.

The Church is autocephalic independent and self-governing without being in any way responsible or subject to or in any way influenced by any other religious authority an shall so remain unless otherwise determined by the Archbishop and 2/3 of the financial members of each Community."

The Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia follows the Gregorian calendar. Adherence to the Autocephalous Church is via affiliation to the Federation. In 1937, the Community built the Greek Orthodox Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, the first such church in South Australia.

The Community churches do not have any spiritual and doctrinal differences with other Greek churches under the jurisdiction of other Christian Orthodox Church denomination. They follow the Orthodox faith; the holy sacraments such as baptisms, marriage and priesthood of the church are recognised by the Australian Government.

The Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia is recognized as a religious denomination under the Marriage (Recognized Denominations) Proclamation 2006.

The priests of the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia are recognised by government which have signed international conventions (Geneva Convention of 1951), including Australia.

Hierarchs[edit]

As of 2014[edit]

The primate position of the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia remains vacant.

Previous hierarchs[edit]

  • Archbishop Spyridon Ermogenous was the first Archbishop of the Church
  • Bishop Pavlos Laios (former assistant bishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia)

Participating communities and churches[edit]

As at 23 November 2013, these Communities adhered to the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia:

Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia Inc.[edit]

  • Greek Orthodox Cathedral Church of Archangels Michael and Gabriel
  • Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nikolas
  • Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Constantine and Helen
  • Greek Orthodox Church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary
  • Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian [Chapel at Ridleyton Greek Home for the Aged]
  • Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Virgin [Annual Feast Day]

Greek Orthodox Community of Newcastle Inc.[edit]

  • Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Dimitrios

Greek Orthodox Community of St Albans Vic.[edit]

  • Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Paraskevi

Greek Orthodox Community of Keilor Vic.[edit]

  • No Church or cleric

Greek Orthodox Community of Sunshine Vic.[edit]

  • No church or cleric

References[edit]

[1] M P Tsounis "The Story of a Community" A short pictorial history of the Greek Orthodox Community of SA Inc. [1990]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Eastern Orthodox Church