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Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 20
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Wilhelm Offline OP
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Dear friends

It’s about time to report to you about our little Slavic Byzantine community in New Zealand. The community is very small and by lack of traditional priests liturgies where always of the spoken kind.
While our regular priest Fr. Felix from Melbourne was in Europe we had Fr. Igor and his wife visiting us. Lucky we had the assistance of the Russian Orthodox Choir during the Divine Liturgy. Freely given.
When the Russian Orthodox Church was in need of a choir some years ago several people under the baton of a catholic lady we assisted for many months during Liturgy. As Catholics we had the full cooperation of the Australian Russian Orthodox Archbishop who met us and his priests who teaches us the ins and outs in this.

This time when we asked the Russian Orthodox Choir returned the favour without a hesitation.
It was ever so nice. No animosity whatsoever. Pure ecumism. The choir was very impressed with our “orthodox” priest.
The visitors to our liturgy where very impressed with the choir.

We further had a visit from Fr, Bohdan Lukie from Canada. As his visits where on weekdays it was not possible for people to attend. Further his invitations where clearly only for Ukrainians. Our congregation is an embrace of the total Slavonic Byzantine Rite, including Russian and Latvian etc. Pity. The turnout was 8 and 3 people. I again apologise to the Russian Orthodox Choirmembers that turned up to assist.

New Zealand is a different country to Australia or America. Careful planning is a must and consultation could have avoided damage to our delicate situation.

Never mind.
Last Saturday we had a Slavic Byzantine Liturgy celebrated by Fr. Felix.
We had about 30 people and 10 to 15 children. Babies and older children.
Pity this time I failed to get the Russian Choir members to come to our assistance. Even while some singing took place it was very low key.
The next part was a miracle
Our Latin catholic Choir Leader turned up. With her little girl and husband.
Her first ever encounter with the Greek Catholic Church.
This was the turning point of the Byzantine Church in Wellington.
A chapel full of young families. A full sung Liturgy.
She had found the Church of her Russian grandparents. The Church where she belonged. The Church where she was no longer a welcome guest as in the Russian Church. I could hardly hold my tears when she presented her little girl to the priest for her first Holy Communion.

What a homecoming.

The other parents presenting their children. The warm welcome of the priest.
It was Christ Himself saying bring the children to me. Such a richness of tradition.

Dear friends I had to bring you this good news.

Wilhelm

Joined: Jul 2003
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Nice to see you are still out there Wilhelm. Thanks for the update.

[img]http://catholicukes.org.au/tiki/show_image.php?id=1706[/img]

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NIKA

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Wilhelm - that is wonderful. Out in mission land, it is wonderful how people can work together - we have similar experiences of receiving help from Latin and Orthodox folks with our liturgies, and us returning the favor.

Keep on singing - and keep the people coming. Need a deacon? I do know something about sheep... biggrin
FDD

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Dear Wilhelm,

Thank you for sharing this story, and I am delighted to hear of the growth in this small community. I hope it continues and goes from strength to strength!

the unworthy,
Elias

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Wilhelm Offline OP
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Thanks Pavel, for your greetings. The photo was the small congregation in Auckland.
I am hoping for contact with a correspondent of the NZ Catholic. He made plenty of shots. Maybe there will be one for us. Maybe there is a likelihood that we can bring our Eastern Church to the other Catholic people.

Hieromonk Elias,
I can assure you that we will be going from strength to strength.

The Eastern Church is an unknown identity in New Zealand. In 2000 after I met Eparch Peter in Melbourne. My search for the missing church needed the help of the Orthodox Hieromonk Ambrose to get me in the right direction. Thank you Fr. A.
Not even the Catholic Information Centre had an inkling that the Catholic Byzantine Church existed in New Zealand. Funny enough they know about orthodox churches.
This is the type of neglect created by policy makers that dispersed ethnic people for fear of cluster-forming. Its source is alien-phobia or ethnic-phobia. The church is a mirror of society and distanced itself from “aliens” As a consequence Eastern Church members, being immigrants, never lifted their heads for fear of being clobbered.
With help of Eparch Peter we got priests coming to New Zealand. As several are married and stay, like in Wellington in the presbytery our latin priests are getting educated. There is a reluctance but there is no stopping. Internet is providing a voice to the previous voiceless.

To Fr. Diak
I like to say. It is very important to us that we had the friendly services of the Orthodox Church Choir at Fr. Ihor Liturgy. People here have no idea about beauty of the Byzantine Church traditions.
To have the choir is a great asset in bringing the traditions of our rite. We miss so much with the mumbles of the congregation in a spoken Liturgy. Fr. Ihor’s wife was duly impressed and had a secret wish for their own parish back home.
. For our last Saturday celebration it was a working day for several of the Russian Orthodox Choir. So a “ sorry’ from the choirmembers for Fr. Felix who asked me to organise the choir. Thanks to Helena we did not go without.
The biggest asset is that we have shown that Orthodox and Catholics are part of that same family, are aware of it and are prepared to help each other. That we respect each other in our differences, whatever they are. There is no doubt about it that the Orthodox Church will gain support and goodwill trough this nice gesture.

O yes only to welcome to our land of 40,000,000 sheep Would not leave much time for singing. Or goat-cheese. Drop Fr. Felix a line if you want to come this way.


regards to you all

Wilhelm

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Hi Wilhelm, That photo came of the Eparchial website so the pics need to be sent to who ever looks after it.

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NIKA

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Pavel,

Can you share the link?

Gordo

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UGCC Australia & NZ Eparchial Website:

http://catholicukes.org.au/tiki/tiki-register.php

ICXC
NIKA


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