To the Ends of the Earth

Orthodox Christian Missions

Axios: First Priest in Fiji

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From the blog of the Monastery of Panagia Ypseni, Rhodes:

Over the summer it was with great joy that we were visited by first Orthodox Christians on Fiji, Fr. Bartholomew and his Presbytera, Lydia, and saw his ordination to the diaconate on the island of Rhodes.

The ordination of Father Bartholomew to the priesthood in Thessaloniki was also a great blessing for us. On a Sunday morning, all the various friends and supporters of mission in Northern Greece gathered in the Metropolitan Church of St. Gregory of Palamas, so that they could feel the very heartbeat of Orthodox Mission, through living Orthodox Missionaries.

It was quite moving, as you can see from the photos below.

The Divine Liturgy and the Ordination was celebrated by His Eminence, Amphilochios, Metropolitan Amphilochios. He was joined by the Metropolitan of Rodostolou and the Holy Mountain, Chrysostomos, and the Archimandrites Fr. Theologos, Fr. Nikephoros (missionary in Congo), and Fr. Anastasios (from Kenya), Fr. Panaretos fron the Holy Mountain and the fathers of the metropolitan church.

Fr. Bartholomew, Mr. Prantzou and His Eminence gave speeches which informed us about the progress of Orthodoxy at the other end of the earth, in the Fiji Islands and Pacific, and encouraged everyone greatly because the Gospel is being spread to the people there.

Glory to God for All Things!

Pictures of the ordination and a article in Greek can be found here.

More on Orthodoxy in Fiji:

From Friday July 3rd through Sunday the 5th, the humble and quiet corner of Sambeto was raised up to sacred heights and saw spiritual events.

From anonymity and insignificance Sambeto became the centre of Orthodoxy in the land of Fiji this far flung island land of the Pacific.

In only three days a sacred baptismal font was constructed in the courtyard of the mission house, a beautiful baptistery whose equal can be found neither here nor in New Zealand. Here visitations, conversations, and religious education took place. Thus, this little corner became a sign of anaphora to the port city of Nadi.

On Friday, in the presence of certain distinguished people of this community and land, the very first baptisms took place a couple; Symi and Louisa who received the baptismal names of Bartholomaios and Lydia. On Saturday the couple’s wedding took place in an atmosphere of appropriate simplicity and royalty which springs forth from our sacred Orthodox tradition. Special emphasis to the event came from the love and offering of the sisters Gavriilia and Andrianna, as well as from the presence of Father Christodoulos (who just arrived from Colorado, of the United States) together with the most beloved Mr. John Johns (an attorney of the Omogenia). Both the newlywed couple and everyone in attendance were quite moved.

The grace of God was richly shared out upon this corner of Sambeto, which from here on out has entered into the annals of Orthodox history. The hearts of all the simple Fijians felt this historic significance, and they experienced unprecedented moments of emotion and joy.

On Sunday of this blessed three-day period we celebrated the Divine Liturgy. This Liturgy was the second ever, since the foundation of the earth, to occur on this little island that floats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It marked the beginning of the sacred apostolic work of Orthodoxy in Fiji.

Orthodoxy of the Fijians and of the many Pacific Islanders has now entered into history. God has blessed it. Blessed be His name.

† Archbishop of New Zealand Amfilochios

More information on the mission to Fiji can be found at the website of the Greek Archdiocese of New Zealand, foundhere (just scroll down).

The First video is of Fr. Bartholomew’s ordination to the priesthood, and the second is of his ordination to the diaconate.

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Written by Stephen

January 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Fiji, Ordination

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