On the 25th of March, Archbishop Stylianos (Harkianakis) of Australia and Oceania reposed in the Lord. In this 2017 article, he tells the story of his own father and how it gave him strength throughout his challenging life.
Prior to 2019 the week before university commenced for the year was called Orientation Week (shortened to O Week). It was in this week that students would walk around campus, find their lecture rooms and start to change the course of their lives.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)
This Commandment of our Lord also applies to all Christians from every age in history; every person and every nation who has ever existed.
There is abundant scientific evidence that a healthy human childhood, both physical as well as psychological, leads to better physical health in adult life, as well as being a balanced and well-adjusted individual. One factor that contributes to these benefits is the feeling of mateship that connects two or more people, without any erotic desire, with the bond of friendship. Between true friends, there are feelings of respect, devotion and interest of the wellbeing for one another.
Collectively, Australians speak over 200 languages. Other than English, the most common languages spoken today are Chinese, Italian, Greek and Arabic. So many cultures and so many beliefs! Christianity is the most commonly reported religion (52.1% of the population). The Islamic population with 2.6% of the total population is the second largest religion, closely followed by Buddhism (2.4%). However, as many as 30% of Australians reported that they had ‘no religion’. How can we preserve our Orthodox Christian Faith in such a multicultural society?
In today's times, it can appear to be difficult to live a Christian life. We have our university studies, friends and a thousand other things dragging us away from what we should be doing.
If you think about it, there is nothing we can be more certain about than the fact the we are aware of our own existence, that we have our own first person perspective, that we have feelings and we are aware that we have these feelings, or that there is a certain “inner feel”, a “me-ness” about us. The vast majority of people believe that this is due to our soul; indeed this seems very obvious to most of us, it is “primordial data”.
The Orthodox Church has a very complicated relationship with warfare. On the one hand is the spiritual warfare we must all engage in to fight our passions, knowing that “the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). On the other are the battles to the death which have been around since time immemorial. This is the warfare that we read about in history books and see on our television screens in Syria at this moment.