On Saturday 6th of August 2022, on the Great Feast of the Transfiguration, an immense joy was felt among the Antiochian Orthodox faithful of Melbourne as one of their spiritual sons, Shadi Hanna (Deacon Ignatius), a well-respected and devout member of the Archdiocese was ordained to the rank of the Holy Diaconate.

This occurred by the laying on of hands of His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios, who reflecting on the state of the human person, noted the nostalgia or longing one constantly feels to be with their Lord. Even when the world offers various temptations and offers, one may still turn to the Lord and respond as St Peter did, when he along with the other disciples were asked if they too wanted to leave their ministry, by saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

In his turn, the newly ordained deacon responded on his Eminence saying: “Your eminence I would like to start by expressing my deep gratitude for the care and love that personally, I and my family have and received and felt from you. It is a model of the care that a shepherd shows to his flock and the love of a father to his children. The title deacon indicates the primary function of this ministry in the church, to serve. As the great Saint Ignatius instructed “Servant of the Church of God”.

I can relate worthiness to St Paul’s words to the Thessalonians as a community of faith, “you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” it is only a community of believers that leads a life that is worthy of God that can make such an exclamation, our archdiocese is the example of such a worthy community who honours someone like me your unworthy brother with this path of salvation. We are reminded on this holy day of the feast of Transfiguration by the apostle Peter who himself was a witness of the event on the mountain to “confirm the calling”, I pray that we all confirm this calling with the effort and the work to be witnesses for His glory, so that like the blessed apostles we are able to see the light of Christ and “witness blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ”.

This ordination took place at St Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in East Melbourne. The faithful along with the clergy prayed wholeheartedly for the newly ordained Deacon who was given the name Ignatius, after the great Saint of Antioch. Together, with all the faithful of our God-protected Archdiocese, we say, Axios, Moustahiq, He is Worthy!

To a blessed and fruitful ministry, Amen!