FIJI, AUSTRALIA & ST PAISIOS OF MY HEART
The first monastery of Fiji is refurbished
During the days which comprise the first week of the Great Fast (which is called Clean Week) in the monasteries there are readings from the first book of the Sacred Scriptures, the book of Genesis. One can see there the great wisdom and love with which our good God made the world and He placed man there to make him to rejoice and for him to care for this world, while glorifying ceaselessly his Creator.
These days we find ourselves keeping a similar practice in the town of Saweni here in the Fiji Islands. We are making an extraordinary effort until the image of the Sacred Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos is completed, as well as in the surrounding areas and especially in the chapel, which will also be the parish church until, a little further over, the regular church of the Holy Trinity is built with the Orphanage and the School.
Anyone would be proud to see with what zeal and effort they work, not only the paid tradesmen and workers, but also all the members of the Ierapostolic (Missionary) team together with our priests and our monastics. Even the children of the prolific Panteli and other neighbour-hood children lend a hand. Panteli’s wife, Maria, runs in and out to provide for the workers coffee and water. Our clergymen, Fathers Batholomaios and George are rushing to finish the wall which will present the monastery more beautiful still. The monk Savvas with Lambro and Nicholas from Sydney are preparing a rough but very beautiful table, which will be placed under the rich shade of the mango tree.
The pavilion where the catechetical school and the agape meals will be served is nearly complete and on Cheesefare Sunday after the Divine Liturgy, all of us together, both clergy and laity, young and old partook of the cheesefare dishes, thanking God and begging Him to grant to us one clean and holy Great and Holy Fast (Tessarakosti).
In Church, one can discern in the faces of all their satisfaction and joy at finally finishing the little chapel of the Panaghia, which in its way will insure aesthetic enjoyment, comfort and refreshment. Our choir, which includes nearly the entire congregation, chants answering the petitions of the Priests while enjoying the majesty of the verdant location, which unfolds before them from the open right side of the church through its three artistic arches.
Everything in its place with care and good taste. Across from the Bishop’s Throne is the all-venerable icon of our Lady Theotokos, the Panaghia of Ypsene, Rhodes. She stands as the Lady of the House and Queen of her home in Fiji blessing and encouraging the efforts and the struggles of all and transporting their petitions to the throne of her Only-Begotten Son, especially those of the pious donors and benefactors, of our Greek Orthodox brothers from Sydney, Australia.
And so, as children of our Creator God and continuing the the good work of His creation we were counted worthy in the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean to prepare the house of prayer and of Sacred Worship.
Here where our Orthodox Fijians brothers will celebrate the sacred Sacraments and who will be enlivened by them, giving glory in an Orthodox Manner to His All-Holy Name and every time that they enter the Church they will read the words of the Psalms that are written on the lintel of the door:
“Standing in the temple of your glory, we feel as if we are standing in heaven, O Theotokos, heavenly gateway, open unto us the door of your mercy.”
The Archbishop of New Zealand Metropolitan Amfilochios
HOLY ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ZEALAND