First Home to the Orthodox of Melbourne
In 2004 a group of committed Orthodox Christians were granted the use of the building at 261-265 Spring Street Melbourne, by its current owners, the Superannuation Trust of Australia, to
establish the permanent home of Holy Cross Orthodox Mission.
A plaque placed on the front wall by the city council in the 1990s records that the building had once been the home of an Anglican monastic community and rescue mission; a place of refuge for the city’s less fortunates in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
We began to discover that the spiritual significance of this building went far beyond the plaque. Holy Cross was making its home in the first meeting place of Orthodox Christianity in Melbourne.
The first waves of Orthodox migrants, Syrian, Greek, Macedonian, Russian and no doubt others, had already arrived in Melbourne well before the 1890s, to a new life devoid of all Orthodox pastoral and spiritual support. Mother Esther and the Community of the Holy Name (an Anglican monastic order) befriended these newcomers, and provided them with a place to gather and worship in an Orthodox manner.
The Sisters’ kindness and hospitality helped these unshepherded Orthodox to stand firm and faithful, resisting the active proselytising of some other confessions, and the temptation to just fall away.
This pan-Orthodox gathering of lay men and women lasted many years, and enjoyed the support and blessing of the hierarchs of their homeland ‘mother’ Churches.
A gem of Australian Orthodox Christian history has been partly recorded in Esther, Mother Foundress (circa 1949), an extract of which can be read from here. (PDF file, 1.7MByte)
|Mother Esther, and the sisters of the Community of the Holy Name.
Friends and supporters of the first Orthodox Christians in Melbourne.