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The inaugural workshop of the Greek Orthodox Pastoral Health Care Network Australia

With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, on Sunday, 10 February 2024, the Greek Orthodox Pastoral Healthcare Network Australia held its first workshop on the theme “Maintaining Self-Care in our Ministry”. The workshop was held in the parish hall of Saint Gerasimos Church, Leichhardt, in the presence of His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, and was organised by the National Coordinators of the Network, Rev. Fr George Liangas and Presvytera Catherine Constantinidis. 

Signifying that not only clergy, but also all Orthodox people that work in the health professions, are engaged in the work of pastoral healthcare, a large crowd of clergy and lay attendees heard a panel of four experts speak on both spiritual and practical topics. 

Father Dimitrios Kokkinos, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne, spoke about spiritual health and wellbeing and how to maintain it. Physician and Associate Professor Gregory Katsoulotos gave 10 tips for maintaining physical health. This topic was further addressed by nutritionist Kallie Kitas, who outlined strategies for developing and maintaining healthy eating habits. Finally, social worker Anastasia Chrisos addressed the topic of burn-out and strategies to try and make workloads sustainable. 

Following the individual presentations, a lively panel discussion demonstrated the variety of challenges that Orthodox Christians working in healthcare experienced, and the need for a body such as the Network to support and develop those engaged in this important work.

The formal panel discussion flowed into informal discussion and networking over a shared meal generously provided by the Church of Saint Gerasimos, Leichhardt, and many ideas were developed for future meetings of the Network.