A Historic Moment in Queensland

by Mina Kaddis

By the grace of God, the 20th of August, 2011, marked a very special day in what has been years in the making with the first Holy Liturgy prayed at the land of the blessed St Mary and St Anthony's Coptic Orthodox Monastery in Queensland.

An hour and a half drive into the western bushland of the Queensland state, the massive 440 acres of dedicated monastery land awaited us at Kooralbyn. This may be news to many of you, but by God's grace, and through the blessings and support of our beloved fathers, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, and His Grace Bishop Daniel, we have been blessed with a future monastery in Queensland, part of the Diocese of Sydney and its affiliated regions.

The dearly reposed Dr Zachariah Boules donated the site, and plans for the monastery were blessed on 17 April 2005 by the hand of H.H. Pope Shenouda III. The local council issued subsequent approval in November 2008. The establishment of this monastery, on the name of our holy mother, St. Mary - the mother of chastity, and the great St Anthony - father of all monks, is and will continue to be a huge blessing for all those involved. One of these blessings came on Saturday, 20 August.

Servants had prepared an altar, iconstasis, sound system, seating, food, and drinks, in preparation for this historic day – the first Holy Liturgy on the monastery land.

When we arrived at the site, the congregation were amazed at the sheer size and beauty of the land. Those who had been there before pointed out landmarks, barely visible in the distance, and said "that's the border of our land".

It was a liturgy blessed by the attendance of all of the Queensland priests: Father Moussa El Antony, Father David Mahrous and Father James Scully. It was a great day, and there was no better way to 'break-in' the land than through the sharing of the Holy Eucharist together. On a personal note, I was very proud that day of the showcase of the service and zealous youth in Queensland. Click here to view photos from the Holy Liturgy prayed on this historical day .

I pray, and ask you all to join me, for God's hand to work in each step of the way in building this monastery, and that the services it provides be fruitful and prosperous for many generations to come. May the blessings and intercessions of St Mary and St Anthony be with us all, Amen.