On Saturday 3rd of June 2023, the Saturday of the Departed in the Orthodox Calendar, the Antiochian Orthodox Community in NSW celebrated the Consecration of the Antiochian Orthodox Burial Ground next to the Chapel of the Holy Resurrection on the allocated area for the Antiochian Orthodox Community at Rookwood Cemetery.

H.E. Metropolitan Basilios presided over the Consecration Service of a new Cemetery and the Trisagion service for all beloved departed ones from our community, surrounded by the clergy and members of our Antiochian Orthodox Community in the presence of Mr. Davide Ham, Executive representing Rookwood Cemetery and Ms. Dimity D’Arbon – Stakeholder Relationship Manager.

In his Speech Mr. Ham has stressed on below points:

Thank you all for joining us to mark the consecration of the newly developed Antiochian Orthodox Burial Ground, joining the Antiochian Orthodox Pavilion here at Rookwood General Cemetery.

Serving our community – in all its diversity – is at the heart and core of what we strive to achieve across all our OneCrown cemeteries.

Last year with key representatives from the Antiochian community opened and consecrated this impressive new pavilion, The Holy Resurrection, which now provides a peaceful space for prayer and reflection at Rookwood for the Antiochian Community.

Today’s consecration of the Antiochian Orthodox Burial Ground completes this important development.

I applaud the faith leaders of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and The Philippines for their foresight and commitment to negotiating this dedicated area for their community.

I trust you’ll agree, the results of this milestone development are well worth the wait, yielding approx. 400 Monumental and Lawn burial sites in total.

This development has also further strengthened our partnership and understanding of the Antiochian community’s future burial needs, both in terms of the burial land required and the religious and cultural practices to be followed. From here on out, we remain committed to working in partnership with the Antiochian Orthodox community to host more events and masses at Rookwood to support their religious beliefs and special occasions.

In his turn, H.E Metropolitan Basilios addressed our community saying:

In this Rockwood Cemetery and for over one hundred years, thousands of people of our community are resting in peace, bishops, priests, and thousands of Antiochian Orthodox families, all they are buried in different sections. Finally, we have an allocated area for the Antiochian Orthodox Community to put in rest of our beloved people, pray for them and visit them.

As faithful Christians, we understand the earthly death as a gateway to eternal life, we believe in the Resurrection of both soul and body, and we believe that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, therefore it is sacred. A grave or tomb for us is a place where we can visit and pray for our departed beloved ones, a place where families keep alive the memories while showing their love and respect for their departed relatives.

On behalf of the Antiochian Orthodox Community and Archdiocese, I would like to thank Rookwood General Cemetery, the CEO (past and present), Mr David Ham, the management teams, the engineers, the Relationship Managers, and all those who were involved in this project, for this great job and for your support and making our request achievable.

Also, I would like to express my gratitude to members of our community who without their support and generosity, this project would have been impossible. And especially I would like to thank the builder, the engineers, the sponsors, and the donors who worked with zeal and commitment to complete this pavilion and icons.

May their memory be eternal, and congratulations to our Antiochian Orthodox community.