Fr. Geoff’s Blog
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God is on the move. He is calling people from all backgrounds and walks of life into communion with His Church. And He is calling members of His Church to cooperate with Him in this saving activity (1 Corinthians 3:9). The Good Shepherd was witness to this Divine activity on the weekend before the Nativity. Six adult catechumens were baptised on the Friday and received into communion on Christmas Eve.
Meet the new Metropolitan Archbishop of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, His Eminence, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Basilios (Kodseie). Metropolitan Basilios was elected by the Holy Synod of Antioch to the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines on 4 October 2017, and was ordained as Metropolitan Archbishop at the Lady of Balamand Cathedral, Lebanon, on 19 November 2017.
As this calendar year comes to a close, I am enormously grateful to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit for all the many and varied blessings we have received this year. Truly His mercy abounds. The Good Shepherd parish, located as we are in the centre of Melbourne’s population, has a mission to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all Australians. We model the ancient tradition of Eastern Orthodoxy in a modern, secular culture. We conduct our services in English so that Australians of all backgrounds can learn, grow and find healing in their body and soul.
By God’s Grace, His Beatitude Patriarch John X Patriarch of Antioch and of All the East To all my brothers, the Shepherds of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, and to my spiritual children throughout the Apostolic See of the Church of Antioch, “Beholding him that was in God’s image and likeness fallen because of the transgression, Jesus bowed the heavens and came down; and without suffering change, He made His dwelling in womb of a Virgin.” — The Entreaty, Great Vespers of the Nativity
The radical gap between modern evangelical worship and traditional Christian worship is in large part the result of the influence of the sixteenth century Swiss Reformer, Ulrich Zwingli. Zwingli was a contemporary of Martin Luther, and if Martin Luther wanted reform in the Church, Zwingli wanted to restore the Church from scratch. To illustrate just how radical have been the consequences of Zwingli’s teaching, let’s compare a typical evangelical worship service with a traditional Christian worship service.
Victoria’s Parliament was the scene for a powerful speech delivered by the Honourable Member for Ringwood, Ms. Dee Ryall. As a former nurse, she’s cared for many patients with chronic pain and approaching death. In this speech, grounded in long personal experience of the care of patients nearing the end of their lives, she advocates for proper funding of palliative care services and not the passage of a deeply flawed voluntary euthanasia bill.
It is deeply satisfying to see the peace, love and joy that flows into the hearts of worshipers here at The Good Shepherd. The work and fruit of the Holy Spirit is a deep, abiding, joyful stability which I see growing in many of our parishioners. Through entering into the worship of the Holy Orthodox Church, so many people, of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox backgrounds alike, find communion with the God Who is the Lover of Mankind.
Five hundred years ago this month, Martin Luther posted an invitation to an academic disputation on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. This act sparked a fire of protest that raged across Europe and caused a grievous schism in Catholic Europe that has never been healed. The soil that gave rise to the protest was a uniquely Latin, Roman Catholic one. The questions of dogma, doctrine and state politics were questions that arose from conditions unique to the West.
I have been receiving a lot of dismayed, uncomprehending and perhaps angry emails in the last week. My correspondents appear bewildered at why Orthodox Christian ethics does not share the conclusions of popular secular ethics. After all, they both appear to share many of the same values. Both ethical systems value “equality,” “freedom of choice,” “human brotherhood,” “fairness” and “justice.” So if they share these values, why doesn’t Orthodox Christianity support the same conclusions?