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Multiple baptisms in the Archdiocesan District of Adelaide

Sunday 3 March 2024 was a historic day in the brief history of the new parishes of the Archiepiscopal Church of St Sophia (The Holy Wisdom of God) and the English-speaking parish of St Sophrony of Essex. With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, a mass-baptism of 10 people took place – welcoming catechumens and their families into the Orthodox Church. The baptisms were immediately followed by two concurrent weddings of some of the newly baptised.

His Eminence blessed the establishment of the Parish of St Sophrony of Essex to become the first parish in the Archdiocesan District of Adelaide to conduct its services entirely in English – with a view to reaching out and bringing the Orthodox Faith to the English-speaking population. Now just over a year into its existence, through His Eminence’s prayers and the hard work of the Parish Priest Fr Daniel Bradshaw and his committee, the harvest of the first fruits of these labours was seen on Sunday – with all but one of those participating in the sacraments being parishioners of St Sophrony, and catechumens (and their children) of His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope and Fr Daniel.

Unfortunately, while development plans are firmly afoot, the facilities at St Sophrony are not yet at the level that can support events of this size. The Archiepiscopal Church of St Sophia stepped in to assist, with the enthusiastic support of its committee and philoptochos to be a part of something so historic.

The sacraments were officiated by His Grace, with the assistance of Fr Daniel, and also Fr John Saredakis and Fr Jeremy Krieg – with the large number of clergy being especially helpful in managing and guiding the four adults and six children who were baptised, and the two couples who were subsequently married. In a surprising twist, one of the couples had managed to keep their wedding secret from their family and to present them with a wonderful surprise blessing. The sacraments all took place in front of a full Church. After the sacraments, the Ladies Philoptochos of both St Sophia and St Sophrony served afternoon tea for all those present.

This was a blessed and a historic event for the parish of St Sophrony of Essex and for the District of Adelaide that deeply touched all who were a part of it. There are many in our society who hunger for true spiritual food that only the Orthodox Church can provide, and the events on Sunday are evidence of that. May there be many more to come.