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.
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.
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.