Church of Serbia – Australia – August 2016
On the Fifth Sunday from the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, 24th of July 2016, in the church of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra and Lycia in Woolloongabba, Brisbane the patron saint of the Circle of Serbian Sisters, Saint Kyriaki the Great-martyr, was celebrated.
The Archiepiscopal Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, the newly-elected Bishop of the Eastern American Diocese, the concelebrants were Protopresbyter-stavrophors Dusan Stefanov and John Vesic, Economos Stanisa Ostojic, Presbyter Nikola Stefanov, and Protodeacon Miodrag Tomic.
Following the Divine Liturgy, His Grace cut the Slava bread and through his sermon said his farewells to his flock, giving them an “Orthodox Prayer Book” as a small token of love and appreciation.
After the Liturgical gathering, everyone assembled in the Church Hall where the hardworking ladies of the Circle of Serbian Sisters prepared a rich feast. Fr Stanisa (substituting for the parish priest, Protopresbyter-stavrophor Jovan Cvetic, who is currently in Serbia) took the opportunity to read his farewells to Bishop Irinej. Fr Stanisa, on behalf of the entire flock, noted all the good works His Grace has accomplished during the past ten years of his spiritual stewardship in Australia: “Today we give recognition for the sacrifice of our spiritual shepherd who has kept watch and always tried to dignify not only this community but all the parishes throughout Australia, both with prayer and good counsel.”
Father Stanisa mentioned that through the hard labours of Bishop Irinej and with the blessing of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, through the new Constitution the prior two dioceses, the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand and the Diocese for Australia and New Zealand of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate, were united in one Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand under the omophorion of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Further, he added: “Today, brothers and sisters, I can on behalf of my humbleness, in the name of our parish priest Father Jovan, express gratitude to His Grace Bishop Irinej on his fatherly care towards this community during his Episcopate and I wish the same in his Episcopal work in his new appointment to the Eastern American Diocese.”
Following Fr Stanisa’s speech, Bishop Irinej reminisced on the wonderful moments at St Nicholas parish in Woolloongabba, his participation in the building project of the church and the ongoing iconography project – recalling his first glimpse of the icon-painted walls of the church, especially Christ Pantocrator in the central dome.
His Grace Bishop Irinej left a deep mark and an unforgettable impression not only on the Orthodox community in Woolloongabba, but on all the Orthodox Christians in Brisbane.
Many blessed and fruitful years, Your Grace.