The Greek Orthodox Christian Society was established in February 1955, by two University students, soon to be joined by a remarkable young man – now known to all, as Father Stephanos. The Society was formed for the purpose to:
- Cultivate an earnest Orthodox Christian life among its members – the so-called Inner Spiritual Transformation.
- Further the work of the Orthodox Church in Australia
- Train Christian workers for the spreading of the Christian Gospel, and
- Promote knowledge of the Greek Orthodox Faith in the wider Australian Community.
We felt, that as young, committed Christians we could help the Church and the people in some way – seeing the difficulties they were facing. Social isolation – ghetto mentality, slow erosion of both Ethnic and Religious identities – in an environment, with very different Social structure.The reason for the establishment of the Society was to help the Greek people already here since before WW2, and also those arriving post-war from the motherland. The help would have been Spiritual, both Religious as well as Social. At that time there were no Welfare Services, and the organization known as the Greek Orthodox Community, consisted of an Office with a Secretary, providing only advisory service.
We felt that the Spiritual Life of our members was important, and that missionary work among our people was also quite important. This work consisted of:
- Establishing Sunday Schools – for both young and older children (68 Sunday Schools in 2015)
- Importing and selling Christian books outside the Churches on Sundays
- Visiting the sick Greek people in Hospitals
- Helping those who needed help with the English language, but also to help those with personal problems.
- Financial help to those who needed it – from moneys collected among ourselves.
The religious and spiritual improvement of our fellow Orthodox brethren needed people who themselves lived a truly Christian life, so they could be role models for the rest of the Community.
This meant the inner spiritual transformation of ourselves, had to be accompanied by acts of piety and love, so we could grow in the spirit and develop the faith that is both strong and saving. Otherwise – “Faith without works is dead“, according to the Apostle Iakovos (Jam. 2:20).
But Jesus, on His Ascension, left us with another Commandment: “Go and make disciples of all Nations“. The early Church took this seriously, as seriously as the Holy Eucharist. For our generation of Christians, this remains the Neglected Commandment. And yet, it is the other phase of the Basic Christian Message. In current language this is called Mission or Missionary Work.To grow both in spirit and in faith, and to continually improve our knowledge of the Bible, the Church Fathers, the Saints and the Church itself – we meet weekly. Such weekly meetings have continued over the 60 years of the existence of the Society – without interruption.
It is the Policy of the Society that members, contribute as much as possible, to Missionary Work.
I conclude in the same manner as I started. All people of the Church, should rise up and do something for our Church and our God – and this should be Missionary work, calling people to undertake the – the Inner Spiritual Transformation. The Church is only too willing to help anyone to achieve this. This implies that:As you know there is a book by a South African Englishman – Bryce Courtney – “The Power of One“. The book is fascinating and the success of the hero admirable. Today we witness what “The Power of the “Few” can do, if fired by the Power of the Faith.
The whole Church should be placed on a Missionary footing.