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New Sydney Priest Set For Missionary Work

Sydney’s newly ordained priest, Reverend Ninos Elya, plans to undertake missionary work for parishioners in Queensland, following his elevation to priesthood by the hands of His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon.

Rev. Ninos will make the first of his monthly sojourns to Queensland to offer the Holy Eucharist on Sunday 26 February, much to the joy of local faithful who have missed out on regularly ministries for close to eight years.

Following his ordination, on the morning of Sunday 5 February, Rev. Ninos offered the Holy Eucharist with the presence of His Beatitude among many priests and deacons from the Metropolitan See of Sydney.

“On the morning of the ordination, I was nervous walking into St. Hurmizd Cathedral and seeing so many faithful. But it went very well, thank God, and following the final confirmation by His Beatitude, I felt more confident. That was the Holy Spirit speaking through me,” Rev. Ninos told news.assyrianchurch.com.

Rev. Ninos’s inaugural sermon as an ordained priest was based on John 3:22-36, focussing on salvation through Christ alone, and delving into the humility of John the Baptist.

“I also used a quote from Mar Isaac of Nineveh, who was a bishop of the Church of the East during the 7th Century. He writes, ‘How can man acquire humility? By an unceasing remembrance of transgressions; by the anticipation of approaching death; by always preferring the last place; by always running to do the tasks that are the most insignificant and distasteful.’”

Rev. Ninos has been preparing for his ordination since May 2011. Under guidance from Rev. Yonan David over the last three months, Rev. Ninos practiced the Holy Liturgical service and prayers in Aramaic, and spent time reading commentaries by church fathers.

“Sometimes in life you are not yet sure of what path is right for you. But through prayers and fasting, thank God, He showed me… and He showed His purpose for me through other people too,” he said.

In addition to ministering to parishioners in Queensland, Rev. Ninos will also be working with His Beatitude and teachers at St. Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School to develop a religious education curriculum based on the teachings of the Assyrian Church of the East.

“I would like to thank God for making me an unworthy servant, His Beatitude and all priests and deacons, particularly Rev. Yonan for helping me to prepare for the ordination and first offering of the Holy Eucharist. I would also like to thank Rabi Shoora, who has supported me and was my violin and choir teacher,” Rev. Ninos said.

Preceding Rev. Ninos’s ordination, His Beatitude also laid his hands on two clergyman of the Archdiocese.

Sub-deacon Albert Badal was elevated to the rank of deacon for St. Hurmizd Church and Lector Alan George was elevated to the rank of deacon for Ss. Peter and Paul Parish.

A celebratory breakfast was held in honour of the three ordained clergymen, during which His Beatitude spoke on the future plans and achievements of Rev. Ninos.

Rev. Ninos Elya is a full-time theology student at the Australian Catholic University in Strathfield. Rev. Ninos has been assigned as the school chaplain of St. Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School (SHAPS), relieving Rev. Narsai Youkhanis from the role and allowing him to concentrate solely on Mar Narsai Assyrian College (MNAC) which awaits a heavy load of work going into the construction phase of the school and the movement of the school to new grounds.

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