Amidst a picturesque sunset on Thursday, 27th July 2023, the suburb of Punchbowl in Sydney witnessed a momentous event—the grand inauguration of the state-of-the-art aged care facility, St. Nicholas Senior Care Centre, situated on Henry St. This remarkable occasion hosted by His Eminence, Metropolitan Basilios, was graced by the presence of distinguished guests and community leaders, marked a new era in elderly care and community development.

The esteemed attendees included the Premier of NSW, Hon. Chris Minns MP, and other notable figures such as The Hon. Minister Stephen Kamper, the Hon. Minister Jihad Dib, Hon. Minister Sophie Cotsis, Hon. Mark Coure MP, Cr Bilal El-Hayek, Mr Joseph La Posta (CEO) and Catherine Davies, and other esteemed guests. Alongside them were revered Reverend Fathers, Archdiocese Board Members, distinguished guests, and cherished community members whose unwavering support made this meaningful project possible.

The opening ceremony commenced with the unveiling of a plaque at the entry, led by His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios. Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting, distinguished guests proceeded to the newly completed chapel to light candles and offer prayers of gratitude, followed by speeches and a tour of the facilities.

St. Nicholas Senior Care Centre is a testament to its meticulous adherence to the recommendations set forth by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Its top-quality finishings, thoughtful layout, and world-class interior design set new standards in aged care provision.

The development of the facility was undertaken by Deicorp, whose instrumental involvement ensured the facility achieved the highest quality standards within the available timeframe. The journey to create this centre began nearly two decades ago, with the parish of St. Nicholas playing a pivotal role in acquiring the properties and ensuring its integration into the local community.

The facility boasts many impressive amenities, catering to its residents’ diverse needs and interests. Spacious bedrooms provide comfort and privacy, while the state-of-the-art cinema promises endless entertainment. Residents can maintain their physical health and vitality through the well-equipped gym and physiotherapy room. For those seeking elegance and pampering, a large hairdressing area ensures residents can indulge in self-care without leaving the facility. An art studio also fosters creativity, empowering seniors to engage in artistic pursuits and express themselves freely.

Throughout the grand opening ceremony, led by Mr Robert Furolo, everyone who spoke was in awe of the magnificent work and facilities. Additionally, Premier Chris Minns conveyed the timeless message of caring for our elderly as implored in Psalms. Mr Jospeh La Posta expressed his wish to visit and support the community. The Hon. Stephen Kamper articulated his awe for the building work and integrity taken.

Metropolitan Basilios expressed gratitude to God that made this project a reality. He acknowledged, “First and foremost, glory to God, Whose guiding hand has helped us deliver this important community asset. We give Him thanks and praise.” Metropolitan Basilios, the critical initiator and driver of the project, beamed with pride as he described how the St. Nicholas Seniors Centre represented a sanctuary and haven for treasured elders, providing them comfort, companionship, and a vibrant community that embraces them wholeheartedly.

The centre’s significance in the Antiochian Orthodox community was emphasised, with Metropolitan Basilios recognising the ambitious dream and vision that had culminated in this blessed reality.

As the ceremony concluded, all those present marvelled at the vision and dedication that went into creating the St. Nicholas Senior Care Centre. The facility is set to transform not only the suburb of Punchbowl but ushering in a new era of elderly care and encouraging a shift in societal attitudes towards our elders and those in need of care.

With its doors now open to the community, St. Nicholas promises to become a new town centre where our beloved elders can live with dignity, respect, and the love and care they deserve.

A community open day is set for Saturday, 29th July, where the local community and parish members can explore parts of the large facility. All are welcome to come and celebrate this auspicious occasion.

The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, by the staff of Metropolitan Basilios and countless supporters, has undoubtedly achieved a remarkable feat in bringing St. Nicholas Senior Care Centre to life—a place that will forever be a sanctuary and a cherished home for the elderly, fostering a compassionate and vibrant community for generations to come.