Eastern Orthodox Churches – July 2014
Orthodoxy in Melbourne under the aegis of the Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in Oceania commemorated the beginning of the First World War in the “Axion Estin” (“It is Truly Meet”) Greek Orthodox Monastery in Melbourne on Saturday, 19 July 2014 with the celebration of a Pan-Orthodox Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and Memorial Service.
The Holy and Sacred Liturgy was con-celebrated by their Graces Bishops Ezekiel of Dervis (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Irinej of Australia and New Zealand (Serbian Orthodox Church), Mihail of Australia and New Zealand (Romanian Orthodox Church) and Iakovos of Miletoupolis (Ecumenical Patriarchate). Three priests and one deacon from each canonical Orthodox jurisdiction assisted in the celebration of the Liturgy. The Serbian Orthodox Church was represented by Protopresbyter Cedomir Videkanic, Dean of the Melbourne Deanery, Presbyters Vladislav Sipovac and Alexander Trninic and Protodeacon Petar Mrakic.
Participating in the commemoration of the centenary of The Great War were the faithful, priests and choirs from the Greek, Russian, Serbian, Romanian, and the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Australia. The service was conducted in six languages (Greek, Church Slavonic, Serbian, Romanian, Arabic and English) and sung according to the melodies and traditions of the mentioned five Orthodox Patriarchates.Following the Liturgy and Memorial Service, wreaths were laid at the impressive memorial dedicated to those killed from Antiquity to The Great War. During the tribute, wreaths were laid by representatives of the Australian Government, Diplomatic and Consular Corps, members of the Australian Armed Forces and several patriotic organisations. The wreath presented on behalf of the Serbian community was laid by His Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia Miroljub Petrovic.
This historic day, marked by this first such Pan-Orthodox celebration, was concluded with an Agape Meal served in the monastery refectory and a speech offering an historical analysis of the involvement of Orthodox nations in WWI by the Mitred Protopresbyter Dr Michael Protopopov, Deputy President of the Melbourne Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies and lecturer in history and theology at Melbourne University.