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Catholicos-Patriarch Consecrates Mar Benyamin Elya as Bishop of Victoria and New Zealand in Melbourne

On Sunday 16th July 2017 by the grace of Almighty God, the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon under the leadership of His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM was blessed with the consecration of His Grace Mar Benyamin Elya as the first Bishop of the newly-created Diocese of Victoria and New Zealand.
 
Visiting from the Patriarchate of the Assyrian Church of the East in Iraq, His Holiness Mar Gewargis III Sliwa, Catholicos-Patriarch was assisted in the consecration which commenced at 8am on Sunday 16th July at St Abdisho’s Cathedral, with the following prelates present alongside His Holiness;
 
– His Beatitude Mar Aprem (Metropolitan of Malabar and All India)
– His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM (Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon) 
– His Grace Mar Emmanuel Yosip (Bishop of Canada)
– His Grace Mar Awa Royel (Bishop of California, USA)
– His Grace Mar Narsai Benyamin (Bishop of Iran)
– His Grace Mar Paulus Benyamin (Bishop of Eastern USA)
– His Grace Mar Abris Youkhanan (Bishop of Erbil)
 
After the Consecration the new Bishop of Victoria and New Zealand celebrated the Holy Qurbana. More than 1500 faithful were in attendance for both services.  
 
The church services were attended by the following representatives of sister churches: 
 
– His Grace Mar Amel Shamon Nona
Archbishop – Chaldean Catholic Church
 
– His Beatitude Mar Yacoob Daniel
Metropolitan – Ancient Church of the East
 
– His Grace Mar Bosco Puthur
Bishop –Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
 
– The Right Reverend Philip Huggins
Bishop – Anglican Church of Australia and President of the National Council of Churches in Australia
 
– The Right Reverend Peter Danaher
Bishop – Anglican Church of Australia and President of the Victorian Council of Churches
 
– The Reverend Professor Emeritus Robert W. Gribben
Uniting Church in Australia
 
Clergy of the above noted churches were also in attendance accompanying their relevant Head of Church.
 
At the conclusion of church services a private breakfast was hosted for the prelates and clergy along with the newly consecrated bishop’s family.
 
Later in the evening, a Testimonial Dinner was held at Lakeside Banquet and Convention Centre where more than 700 faithful celebrated the historic occasion. It is noteworthy that the dinner was well attended by representatives of Federal, State and Local Government along as well as many guests from social, cultural and political organizations. Of particular note was the presence of:
 
– The Honourable Chris Bowen MP (Shadow Treasurer)
– The Honourable Marlene Kairouz MP (Victorian Government Minister)
– Mr Nazih Elasmar MP (State Member)
– Cr Drew Jessop (Mayor of Hume City Council)
 
Prelates and clergy of the Chaldean Catholic Church and Ancient Church of the East were also in attendance.
His Grace Mar Benyamin Elya will lead the newly created Diocese of Victoria and New Zealand which includes three churches, namely St Abdisho’s Cathedral in Coolaroo, St George’s Church in Reservoir and St Mary’s Church in Auckland (New Zealand). A Mission Parish is also active in Wellington. The new Diocese has 4 full-time priests and more than 20 deacons. The Diocese’s membership includes more than 1200 registered families (households) who make up part of the thriving Assyrian community in Victoria and New Zealand. 

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