SYDNEY: July 13, 2009
Metropolitan Hilarion makes pastoral visitation to the Asian parishes of the Diocese
On Monday the 22nd of June, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion departed from Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport to begin an eight day visitation of the parishes in South Korea and Indonesia that are under the canonical protection of the Australian & New Zealand Diocese.
His first destination was Seoul, capital of South Korea where he was met by Deacon Father Paul Kang, who drove the Metropolitan to Holy Trinity Skete in the rural seaside village of Yonghwa.
On Tuesday the 23rd of June, His Eminence served the Divine Liturgy in the Skete’s Church of St Anna. The Head of the Korean Orthodox Mission, Father Justin Kang and his wife Matushka Helen, have both felt for a long time the call to the monastic life. Thus, during the Liturgy Father Justin Kang was tonsured to the small schema with the new name of John - Johan in Korean – in honour of St John of Kronstadt and will be based at Holy Trinity Skete. Matushka Helen Kang was tonsured into the small schema with the new name of Elizabeth in honour of the New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia. Mother Elizabeth is attached to St Helen’s Chapel in the village of Chanjho.
On the following day, Wednesday the 24th of June, Vladika Hilarion again served the Divine Liturgy in St Anna’s Church, and ordained the Revd Deacon Doctor Paul Kang to the holy priesthood. The son of Hieromonk Johan and Nun Elizabeth, Father Paul lives in the Korean provincial city of Gumi with his wife Matushka Anna. Holding a Ph.D. in Material Science, Father Paul works for the international electronics company LG.
Upon his tonsure, Hieromonk Johan retired from his position as head of the Korean Orthodox Mission. In his place Metropolitan Hilarion appointed Revd Dr Paul Kang to head the Mission which will now be based at the Chapel of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Gumi.
The prayers of the faithful are asked for the newly tonsured monastics Hieromonk Johan and Nun Elizabeth, and the newly ordained head of the Korean Orthodox Mission the Revd Dr Paul Kang.
On Thursday the 25th of June Metropolitan departed Korea from Incheon and flew to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, arriving late in the evening. He was met by the Dean of the Indonesian Orthodox Church, Archimandrite Daniel, and clergy and laity of the deanery.
Very early the next morning, Friday the 26th of June, His Eminence flew to the city of Solo in East Java, and taken immediately to Holy Trinity Church. Here he was met by most of the Indonesian deanery clergy, many parishioners and afforded the honour of a traditional Javanese welcome by a group of dancers. The size of the Indonesian nation meant that many of the clergy had to travel vast distances to gather in Solo for their deanery meeting.
Following his reception, the Metropolitan vested for the Divine Liturgy at which all the local clergy served. Before the Liturgy five men were tonsured to the order of Reader: Kirillos Baroto, Aleksander Kobesi, Michael Momongan, Chrysostomos Rolling Swempry Gaspersz and Alexander Kambuaya. Reader Aleksander Kobesi was then ordained to the rank of Sub-deacon.
At the appropriate places during the Divine Liturgy His Eminence ordained Deacon Athanasius Mori Muzendi to the Priesthood, to serve the missionary community in Jayapura, Papua (Irian Jaya), and sub-deacon Aleksander Kobesi to the Diaconate to serve the Indonesian Orthodox community in Bali.
The joy of the clergy and people at meeting the head of their diocese was very evident, with many requests for photographs being made. The clergy were then able to join the Metropolitan for lunch and speak with him informally. Following the lunch, Archimandrite Daniel spent much of the afternoon instructing a group of catechumens, some of whom had come from Jakarta. That evening the clergy continued their deanery meeting.
Early on Saturday morning, the Metropolitan was collected from his hotel and returned to Holy Trinity Church where he again served the Divine Liturgy before which Reader Michael Momongan was ordained as Sub-deacon. During the Divine Liturgy Deacon Aleksander Kobesi was ordained to the holy Priesthood and Sub-deacon Michael Momongan to the Diaconate. Despite the high temperatures and humidity His Eminence again was able to meet with his clergy over lunch, prepared by the priest’s wives and women of Holy Trinity parish.
Newly ordained priest Aleksander Kobesi is presented to the congregation at Holy Trinity Church, Solo on Saturday the 27th of June, 2009.
Newly ordained Deacon Father Michael Momongan
During the afternoon Archimandrite Daniel baptised a number of catechumens who were to make their first Holy Communion at the Sunday Divine Liturgy. That evening the deanery clergy gathered for prayer and continued their meeting, electing new office bearers for the Indonesian Orthodox Church in accordance with legal obligations.
At the Sunday Liturgy the next day, almost all of the clergy served together with the Metropolitan. Reader Moses Kristianto was ordained Sub-deacon, and then Deacon, and Deacon Michael Momongan was ordained to the holy Priesthood. Father Michael will take charge of the Orthodox community in Manado, Sulawesi left orphaned by the tragic death last year in a motor accident of his brother Father Gregory Momongan. Over fifty people, including those newly illumined in Baptism, made their communion.
Following the Liturgy, Archimandrite Daniel and the deanery clergy escorted Metropolitan Hilarion next door to the nearly completed parish hall for a formal reception. His entrance was honoured by the music and singing of a traditional Javanese gamelan orchestra and singers. Greetings were offered to His Eminence and the newly ordained priests, deacons, sub-deacons and readers by representatives of Solo’s Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, a Muslim cleric and representatives from the local Hindu and Buddhist congregations, as well as the official heading the local office of the national government’s Department of Religious Affairs. Entertainment was given to the large crowd by the gamelan orchestra and its singers, and a children’s choir from a local Protestant orphanage. The children were orphaned after their parents were killed in the recent anti-Christian riots in the province of Acheh. A traditional Indonesian meal was then offered to the Metropolitan, clergy and the other guests.
That evening Metropolitan Hilarion attended the last session of the deanery meeting and spent two hours listening to each priest and deacon tell of the progress and problems faced in each of their far-flung parishes and missions. His Eminence was able to give practical advice and encouragement, answer a number of questions relating to canonical matters and offer assistance in helping the clergy learn more about their liturgical duties.
Early the next morning, Monday the 29th of June, the Metropolitan flew back to Jakarta where he was met by parishioners from St Thomas parish. Some of the clergy, including ordination candidates, had travelled by bus the night before from Solo and were delayed in arriving, so the Liturgy at St Thomas’ Church began rather late. Before the Divine Liturgy Reader Chrysostomos Rolling Swempry Gaspersz was ordained Sub-deacon, and during the Liturgy Deacon Moses Kristianto was ordained to the holy Priesthood, and Sub-deacon Chrysostomos Gaspersz to the Diaconate to serve with Father Athanasius Mori Muzendi in Jayapura, in the Indonesia province of Papua .
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, His Eminence served the mystery of Holy Matrimony for the servants of God Michael Anak Agung Gde Raka and Elizabeth Koesoemo.
The Metropolitan lunched with members of the St Thomas parish and spent time with a number who sought his advice and counsel. A trip was arranged to a local cemetery where prayers were offered at the graves of departed Orthodox relatives of St Thomas parishioner and benefactor Christine Hadiningrat.. Boarding a flight that evening His Eminence arrived back in Sydney early on the morning of Tuesday the 30th of July.
Please pray for the newly tonsured monastics Hieromonk Johan and Nun Elizabeth, the newly ordained Readers Kirillos Baroto and Alexander Kambuaya, Deacon Father Chrysostomos Gaspersz, and the new priests Fathers Paul Kang, Athanasius Mori Muzendi, Aleksander Kobesi, Michael Momongan and Moses Kristianto.
Please pray for the all the clergy and faithful people of the Korean Orthodox Mission and the Orthodox Church of Indonesia as they witness to Christ in very difficult, challenging, and, in Indonesia, often dangerous situations.
Both mission areas are very, very poor and lack many resources. They need the financial help of Orthodox Christians in more affluent countries such as the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. If you would like to help, please send a contribution to the ROCOR Diocesan Office, 20 Chelmsford Avenue, Croydon, NSW, Australia clearly marked for either the Korean Orthodox Mission or the Indonesian Orthodox Church. Your support of our brothers and sisters in Christ is urgently needed. Supporting Orthodox missionary activity in non-Christian areas is part of the great legacy and tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church. In helping ROCOR’s missionary activity in Korea and Indonesia we are obeying the command of our Saviour to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth, and follow in the footsteps of generations of Russian missionaries such as St Innocent of Irkutsk, St Tikhon of Moscow, St Nicholas of Japan and St John of Shanghai and San Francisco.