Article On Friday 7th April 2023, the Youth Committee of Saint George’s Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Victoria held one of its biggest spiritual events for the year. The event, which is now in its third year, is entitled ‘Garden of Gethsemane’ and invites participants to take a journey through a series of stations at which they reflect deeply on their spiritual lives in preparation for Holy Week. The event is self-directed and each person is given a booklet that guides them through the Garden.
The chosen theme for this year was the ‘The Path of Righteousness’. At each station, participants compared two different figures from the Gospel in order to uncover the tools necessary for us to travel down the path of righteousness leading to Christ’s gift of salvation. For example, Station 1 compared the actions of Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, and how Martha became distracted by worldly things whereas Mary put Christ and the Kingdom first in her life. Each station had reflective questions and symbolic activities allowing the participants to immerse themselves in the experience.
The ‘Garden of Gethsemane’ experienced many firsts this year. Firstly, the booklet was offered in Arabic for the first time allowing many more parishioners to come and experience this beneficial event. Therefore, in total, 3 booklets were offered in 2023: English, Arabic and a booklet for children. Secondly, the Garden expanded greatly this year utilising the entire Cathedral complex including the Sunday School rooms, the Community Centre and the Cathedral itself. The complex was transformed into reflective spaces, lit only by candles and with chanting in the background, to help focus the mind on the lesson of each station. Lastly, we were blessed to have His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios attend and experience the Garden himself and see the hard work of Saint George’s Youth Committee.
The Garden of Gethsemane intends to provide a critical examination of one’s own spiritual life so that they may grow in the faith, not only for the blessed week ahead but for their whole lives. Those who attended spoke of how beneficial, meaningful and enlightening the experience was, both for annual attendees and newcomers. The number of participants grows every year with this year garnering over 130 attendees.
We thank all those that attended, and we wish you all a blessed Holy Week.