A public statement, issued at the conclusion of Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocesan Annual National Clergy Conference

Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocesan
Annual National Clergy Conference

With the blessing and under the patronage of His Eminence, Metropolitan Basilios of Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines, the faithful clergy of the Archdiocese gathered for the Second Annual National Clergy Conference from Wednesday the 15th to Friday the 17th of May 2019, at St Michael’s Monastery, Antiochian Village, Goulburn NSW.

Moved by the spirit of altruism, service, and responsibility for the welfare of the churches and the Archdiocese, the fathers travelled from all states and gathered to discuss current affairs relevant to life in the church and to enhance their knowledge in ministry and topics of governance; equipping them with necessary skills to guide the flock entrusted to them by God to the shore of salvation. The occasion was also taken to meet, pray and share experiences with newly ordained deacons.

The Conference was opened by His Eminence, with a Trisagion Service remembering those who had served the Archdiocese and an opening benediction in the monastery chapel.

Using the teaching of the Apostle Paul “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:15) as a measure for excellence, His Eminence focused on the importance of the priest both as a servant of the Sacraments and as a teacher of the Word.

Throughout the conference, diverse topics were offered and discussed by presenters from among the clergy and academics outside the Archdiocese. In addition to topics covering the sacramental, liturgical and matters of legalities, briefs of progress were presented by the Liturgical Committee, the Child Safe Committee, the IT & Media Department, and representatives of Catholic Church Insurance.

Two key spiritual projects were adopted by the conference as the ministerial focus for realisation in 2019/20, namely:

  1. Holy Communion: Concerning how to raise laity awareness on the significance of Holy Communion and the importance of preparation;
  2. Criteria of Lay Leadership: Concerning the criteria of appointment and training of Sunday School Teachers and Youth Ministers.

Sub-committees for these projects were established to discuss and provide methods of implementation of the recommendations made through workshops and the outcomes that were proposed by the fathers in their discussions of the above-mentioned.

Continuing daily in prayers, His Eminence presided throughout the daily cycle and concluded the Conference with an all-night vigil for the feast of the Holy Apostles Andronicus and Junia. The chapel was adorned with clergy serving and chanting the divine services in a harmonious and awesome manner.

Concluding the conference, the fathers rejoiced over the announcement made by His Eminence of the upcoming ordination of Fr Dn John Daher to the rank of priesthood, to be held on Sunday the 23rd of June, 2019. With great hope and gratification, the fathers left the monastery in anticipation for the next conference to continue their labours and deliberation over further topics to lead the Archdiocese in the ‘steps towards excellence’.