Melbourne’s St. George Church was honoured with a visit from His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand during a 4-day Arch-Episcopal Sojourn to the city. During his time in Melbourne, His Beatitude took the opportunity to engage in a number of meetings, in particular with the Parish Council and both Parish Priest’s Rev. Gewargis Toma and Rev. Hurmizd Gewargis, where the general progress of the Parish was examined and a number of plans put in place to ensure the continued success of the Parish.
On Sunday the 29th of March, the Sixth Sunday of the Great Fast, His Beatitude consecrated the Eucharistic Liturgy for many hundreds of faithful who came to receive the Holy Qurbana and welcome His Beatitude. In the evening His Beatitude took time from his busy schedule to hold a meeting with the St. George Church Youth Group where he exhorted the young faithful to remain strong in their Christian faith and work together for the advancement of each other’s spiritual lives. The success of the youth program in Sydney was discussed, with particular reference made to Sydney’s Ss. Peter and Paul Parish. His Beatitude informed the youth in attendance of his desire for an English-language parish to also be established in Melbourne in the near future, to cater for the needs of young people who either are not familiar with the Assyrian language or who have become alienated from the Church. This informal meeting and the wisdom imparted to the youth by His Beatitude energised those in attendance to continue working for the glory of God and the strengthening of the church in Melbourne.
Later in the evening a general parish meeting was held in which the faithful had the opportunity to hear His Beatitude address a number of issues of importance with regard to the church universally and also locally. Initially His Beatitude delivered a few words on the position of the Church globally and the challenges which are faced. Current projects in Sydney were also discussed, with particular attention paid to the forthcoming construction of a permanent premises for Mar Narsai Assyrian College, the progress of the retirement accommodation project and the opening of a childcare center (to cater for 30 children) next month. Following this His Beatitude informed those in attendance of plans which have been put in place for the construction of a new Church in Melbourne which will cater for the growing number of church faithful in Melbourne. His Beatitude asserted that, by the grace of God, construction would commence in July with the largest of the Ishtar Reception Center halls (already owned by the Melbourne church) to be converted into a Church. In addition to this a number of classrooms and offices will be constructed to cater to the needs of St. George Assyrian Language School (which is run under the auspices of the Church), the church Youth Group and the Parish in general. It was also announced that His Beatitude envisions a primary school, like Sydney’s St. Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School to be established in Melbourne to attend to Assyrian children who attend other government and independent schools. A report on the feasibility of this project has been commissioned from the Parish Council who will report to His Beatitude on the matter.
The visit of His Beatitude was long-awaited by the Melbourne faithful who were overjoyed and received immense blessings. The Parish faithful look forward to the commencement of construction of their new church and are eager to work for the benefit and advancement of their beloved Assyrian Church of the East.[nggallery id=53]