The University of Sydney can seem like a dark and dangerous place to someone with a religious background. Where the marketing campaigns advertise a vibrant campus atmosphere, we might see an environment full of spiritual traps. This is true to some extent. We will be surrounded by people who have markedly different values and will try to impose them on us.
These impositions can come at a variety of levels. They range from invitations to barbecues on Wednesdays to harbour cruises to society parties, and from being yelled at by students in favour of same-sex marriage to having to stand up for your faith in class.
Our aims at Sophia in the face of this are twofold. First, we create an environment where these pressures are lessened and where we can enrich our faith, serving the Orthodox students of the University. We do this through our social events such as lunches and dinners and also through our talks, studies of the Bible and spiritual books, and our discussions.
Our other aim is to be witnesses at the University of the Orthodox faith. This means showing people what it is to be Orthodox through our actions and our way of life. Yes, it can occasionally mean standing up to the spirit of the world, but most of the time it means making a concerted spiritual effort. When we are seen fasting and living a spiritual life, we may just pique the curiosity of those students (and academics) around us who feel as though are missing something in their lives.
We witness the faith through existing as a fellowship and doing the things we do in our current society. In addition to all of our other activities, we also have forums on topics of interest to the broader campus.
Make sure to attend one of our gatherings. In Semester 1 they will be occurring weekly on Thursdays between 1pm and 2pm, and fortnightly on Tuesdays between 1pm and 2pm.