Ανταπόκριση από τη Νέα Ζηλανδία : Church opens on feast day27.10.2008 , LAWRENCE GULLERY
A man who wanted to be a priest as a boy realised his dream on Sunday when he held Hawke’s Bay’s first Greek Orthodox Church service in Hastings.
About 160 people gathered at St Demetrios Church, on the corner of Heretaunga St East and Southland Rd, to watch Father Ioakeim take the first service inside the former Anglican church.
The building originally served the Clive community as St Marks, then was moved to its Hastings site in 1987 where it had been used as an office for the past 20 years.
Fr Ioakeim, who left Greece to live in New Zealand as a teenager, said the opening «was a dream of the past becoming reality».
«It was a wonderful occasion, I thought the church would have about 120 people but there must have been nearly 160,» he said.
Opening the new church after months of renovation work was also special as Sunday, October 26, was the feast day marking St Demetrios.
Fr Ioakeim said he was happy to see people representing all parts of the community, including Sacred Heart and St Matthews churches in Hastings.
«We used St Matthews Church for many years for ceremonies such as wedding and funerals and we thank them very much,» he said.
Fr Ioakeim was 19 when he arrived in Wellington in 1978, following the footsteps of relatives who had made the change for a Kiwi lifestyle. A string of jobs in Wellington, Lower Hutt and Dannevirke followed before he decided to make Hawke’s Bay home.
«I have lived in Hawke’s Bay for about 29 years now. When I came here I realised you didn’t have to travel far for work, the sea is so pretty and close to Napier and felt I loved this place,» Fr Ioakeim said.
Fr Ioakeim was able to bring together about 80 Greek nationals who could use the new church, along with about 80-100 Russian Orthodox church followers and about six Serbian families.
Sunday’s service was led by Archbishop Amphilochios, the ruling bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of New Zealand, who lives in Wellington. «We will now have to meet with the bishop to decide whether we hold services once a month or twice, it will be his decision,» Fr Ioakeim said.
Όσοι Ορθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί επιθυμούν να βοηθήσουν το ιεραποστολικό και φιλανθρωπικό έργο της Ιεράς Μητρόπολης Νέας Ζηλανδίας και Ωκεανίας, ας στείλουν την αγάπη τους, μέσω των Ορθοδόξων Ιεραποστολικών Συλλόγων. Παρακαλούμε να δείτε την ενότητα : «Πως μπορούμε να ενισχύσουμε τις Ορθόδοξες Ιεραποστολές».
Σας παρακαλούμε να προσεύχεστε για τους Ορθοδόξους Χριστιανούς που κατοικούν στη Νέα Ζηλανδία και τους κατηχουμένους σε όλη την Ιερά Μητρόπολη. Να προσεύχομαστε θερμά στο Κύριο μας Ιησού Χριστό να οδηγήσει τα βήματα όλων των ανθρώπων ( Νεοζηλανδών, Μαορί κλπ) προς την Ορθόδοξη πίστη, στην Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία.