November 20, 2016
Sydney, Australia: Clergy, Faithful in Australia & New Zealand celebrate 20th Anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion’s Diocesan Service

From the evening of Wednesday, November 16, until the afternoon of Saturday, November 19, a great many of the clergy and faithful of the Australian & New Zealand Diocese gathered in Sydney for the 18th Diocesan Assembly and the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion’s service as ruling bishop.

On Thursday, November 16, the clergy assembled in Holy Protection Church in Cabramatta, for the solemn greeting of Metropolitan Hilarion. Joining His Eminence were His Grace George, Bishop of Canberra, and the newly-appointed Ruling Bishop of the Serbian Archdiocese of Australia & New Zealand, His Grace Siluan (Mrakic). Twenty-six priests and seventeen deacons of the Diocese concelebrated at Divine Liturgy. A choir sang under the direction of Eustratius Papageorgiou.

Metropolitan Hilarion was presented with a special gold-encased Diocesan Cross, the citation for which was signed by Bishop George and all the clergy of the Diocese.

Following lunch, the 18th Diocesan Assembly commenced. Metropolitan Hilarion delivered the opening address, in which he summarized the life of the Diocese over the past three years.

That evening, more than 300 people gathered at the Renaissance Centre in Lidcombe for a festive banquet in honor of Metropolitan Hilarion’s twenty years of service as Ruling Bishop of the Diocese. Distinguished guests included His Eminence Paul (Saliba), Metropolitan of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand & the Philippines; His Grace George, Bishop of Canberra; Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Australia Gregory Logvinov, and Consul General Serge Shipilov.

At the beginning of the banquet, the anthems of Australia and Russia were performed, with the Australian national anthem sung by the Hierarchal Choir. In his speech, the Russian ambassador pointed at Metropolitan Hilarion’s prominent role in the process of unification of the Russian Church Abroad with the Moscow Patriarchate in 2007. His Eminence was also congratulated by Metropolitan Paul, head of the Antiochian Church in Australia, and by Bishop George of Canberra, who had known Metropolitan Hilarion since his youth and service in Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. One of the most influential politicians of recent decades who served in the Australian Parliament for 43 years, Philip Ruddock, also congratulated His Eminence.

The Diocesan Choir under direction of Andrei Laptev sang Orthodox chants and popular Russian songs, among them one of Metropolitan Hilarion’s favorites, "Farewell to the Favorite City," composed by V. Soloviev-Sedoi in 1941.

Many guests congratulated their Ruling Bishop in person from the bottom of their heart, and Metropolitan Hilarion spoke to all those present about his life and service in the Diocese.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese