His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon has made an episcopal sojourn to Melbourne, where he elevated Deacon Antawan Mikhail to the sacred priesthood and announced the city’s new church name.
With the laying on of hands, His Beatitude administered the sacrament of priesthood upon Deacon Antawan Mikhail at St George Parish, Melbourne on Sunday 9 January, 2011.
The ordination took place in St. George Church, with the participation of parish priests Rev. Gewargis Toma and Rev. Hurmizd Jarjeis as well as Sydney’s Rev. Narsai Youkhanis and a great number of deacons from both cities.
Following the conclusion of the ordination, the Eucharistic Liturgy according to the Anaphora of Addai and Mari was consecrated by His Beatitude with more than 500 faithful partaking in the Qurbana Qaddisha.
In his sermon, His Beatitude discussed the ongoing suffering of Assyrians and other Christians in the Middle East. While many Assyrian Christians are facing direct attacks in Iraq, others bear the burden of poverty and economic hardship after fleeing Iraq to neighbouring countries including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.
The Assyrian Church of the East has and continues to encourage the Iraqi government and international community to do more to address the plight of Iraq’s Christians and prevent heinous terrorist attacks upon them.
Through the encouraging work of the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO) much has been done to alleviate the suffering of Assyrians and aid them in dire economic conditions. Recent efforts include the distribution of parcels containing necessary foodstuffs as well as cooking equipment to refugees and others residing in Lebanon.
His Beatitude requested enhanced support for this charitable organisation from amongst all the faithful of the Holy Church.
During his Melbourne visit, His Beatitude also announced that the city’s new church will be consecrated and dedicated by the grace of God to Mar Odisho, a venerable saint amongst many in the glorious history of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East.
The announcement, which was received with much adulation and joy, was made during a breakfast held in His Beatitude’s honour at Ishtar Reception Center, Melbourne where the invocation was delivered by Rev. Narsai Youkhanis, also visiting from Sydney.
During the breakfast, Melbourne’s faithful were updated on the progress of plans for the construction of the church and Sunday school/office facilities that will be built on the current site of Ishtar Reception Center.
With construction due to commence in the coming months, His Beatitude said he envisioned a completion target of seven months. However, the financial and moral support of all members is vital to the successful fulfilment of this ambitious project.
Melbourne’s St. George Parish beseech Almighty God to protect and guide their beloved Metropolitan who continues to work tirelessly for the advancement of the church in the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon and the promulgation of God’s will on earth.[nggallery id=145]