New Romanian Orthodox Church opens in Koondoola
The solemn consecration of the new Church of the Holy Trinity by the Romanian Orthodox Bishop for Australia and New Zealand, His Grace Bishop Mihail, was a special occasion, marked also with the presence of Archbishop Emeritus Hickey. PHOTO: Acsell Design Studio
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB passed on his congratulations and sincere greetings to the Romanian Orthodox community last month, wishing them God’s blessings on the occasion of the solemn consecration of their new church in Koondoola.
The solemn consecration of the new Church of the Holy Trinity by the Romanian Orthodox Bishop for Australia and New Zealand, His Grace Bishop Mihail, was a special occasion, marked also with the presence of Archbishop Emeritus Hickey.
Convener of the Catholic Archdiocesan Taskforce for Catholic-Orthodox Bridge-building (CATCOB) Phillip Shields, who spoke to the eRecord about the event, recalled that Archbishop Emeritus Hickey was greeted affectionately by Bishop Mihail.
“Archbishop Emeritus Hickey shared warm words of congratulations with the Bishop and Parish Priest, Fr Doru Bucur, and the parishioners present,” Mr Shields said.
“Archbishop Emeritus Hickey was then invited into the sanctuary to witness the prayers and psalms in preparation for the great ceremony the next morning.”
Mr Shields went on to explain that the ceremony of consecration was steeped in centuries of tradition for both the Eastern and Western Churches.
“It was very similar to the ceremony that Archbishop Hickey performed at the newly renovated St Mary’s Cathedral six years ago on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception,” Mr Shields said.
Mr Shields also noted that the consecration of the new church took place on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, to whom the parish is dedicated.
At the conclusion of Vespers the night before the consecration, Archbishop Emeritus Hickey was shown the official document of consecration and the sacred relics of St Sabine, a Roman martyr from the second century, which had been placed reverently on the Diskos, the holy plate where the consecrated Eucharist rests during the Divine Liturgy on the altar.
“Witnessing this Orthodox community’s profound prayer and reverence for the Holy Relics brought back many memories and emotions of the consecration of St Mary’s Cathedral,” Archbishop Emeritus Hickey said.
In his homily after Vespers, Bishop Mihail explained that the consecration of the new church follows the rhythm of the first Pentecost – first the arrival of the people, then the building.
“Now you have achieved both components of the real church – a faithful Christian congregation and its most spiritual need – a visible church. Tomorrow, the building will be blessed and put under Holy Trinity protection.
“We warmly embrace His Grace Archbishop Hickey being part of our great achievement.
“From the beginning, His Grace has been a close friend of our community. I always feel that His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Hickey is a beloved friend of our small parish. During the years, His Grace (Archbishop Emeritus) has been in contact with Romanian Orthodox faith, not only in Perth, but he has been to Romania too.
“Being with us on this very special day makes me feel like being with a brother in Christ enjoying his own brother’s spiritual achievement.”
Archbishop Emeritus Hickey responded with thanks to Bishop Mihail and congratulated all on the beauty of their achievement in arriving at the day of solemn consecration.
The Archbishop Emeritus went on to urge those present to use the strength derived from their house of prayer to preach Jesus Christ, as God and Saviour, to a world which has turned so much to secular things rather than the things of God.
The next morning, Sunday, 7 June, the solemn, four-hour ceremony was celebrated with great solemnity by Bishop Mihail during which priests from the various Orthodox churches concelebrated.
Addressing the congregation after the solemn liturgy, Bishop Mihail explained that the time has come for each one of the congregation, with spiritual joy, to see and to feel here and now, God’s presence.
“From today, we can consider this place as a home and a gate to heaven where everybody can come and meet our Heavenly Father.
“In good days and in time of struggle, your prayers will be heard here and all your life will gravitate around this holy place.
“Please do not forget to prepare the new generation to take over your great achievement. It should be continued from generation to generation.”