ST. PAUL’S ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH HISTORY
BRISBANE – QLD.
* It was by the motive of God’s providence that St. Paul’s Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church began its journey in Brisbane. And it was one significant feature that made its foundation solid: the strong faith and the unity of love to God and to each other.
* On February 13, 1989, the Thrice Blessed Archbishop Gibran Ramlawey appointed the first committee of this Church, composed of ten members. On January 16, 1990, the community was registered as the “ Orthodox Parish Association Incorporated”. Stephen Antoun Waijen was the first chairman of the committee. Archpriest John Abdel-Karim was the first Parish Priest of St. Paul’s. He assumed his spiritual responsibility in Brisbane on December 7, 1993. Among his ministry, he officiated church services, sought out other Antiochian Orthodox families, visiting and gathering together the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast parishioners.. He established the Sunday School, the Youth Group and the choir in order to see the whole congregation chant together with them.
* They occupied, the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George at South Brisbane for Sunday Evening Liturgies, its school for rehearsals, the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Anna at the Gold Coast, for monthly Saturday Liturgies. St. Andrew Anglican Church in Indooroopilly for the Holy Week services of 1994. And on August 7, 1994, they moved from St. George Church to St. Philip’s Anglican Church – Annerley and its hall, in hope that they will remain there until they build their own Church.
* Archbishop Gibran concidered the illness of the chairman. He appointed “ Antoine Gerges Chebib” as his deputy on the council of the Church on July 31,1995, and nominated “Maha Khoury” for the chair of the Ladies Committee on September 5, 1995.
* All the parishioners of St. Paul’s, both in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, offered their full support to Archbishop Gibran as faithful and dynamic companion, in purchasing a special land for building the house of God in Brisbane together with him. The location of the Church was at 66 Junction Street, Woolloongabba QLD 4102, in the midst of the suburbs, closed proximityto the City. As starting point, Archbishop Gibran blessed the land of the Church for the foundation according to the plan that he blessed, in order to have the Church on the top and the hall underneath. And it was unknown until after his departure from this life on January 14, 1999, when they discovered that he had secretly bought, in Brisbane a house as property for St. Paul’s Church, at 552 Musgrave St. Robertson.
* On Sunday, the 19th of December 1999, one month after his assumption to the Archdiocese of Australia and Newzealand, His Eminence Metropolitan Paul Saliba visited Brisbane, and by his guidance, the committee, together with the priest and the whole parish, committed themselves to build the Church with the dedication of the building contractors, the president of the committee” Antoine Chebib” and the vice president “ Michael Awabdy”; and he blessed the corner- stone of the Church. On May 28, 2000, His Eminence united more than 25 Middle Eastern families of the Parish in the Gold Coast with St. Barnaba’s Antiochian Orthodox Christian Parish served by Reverend Fr. Raymond Smith.
* On Palm Sunday, the 28th of April 2002, St. Paul’s Parish finally moved to the new Church.
* Today, this Parish counts about 74 families, scattered between Yatala, Beaudesert, Sunshine Coast and Redcliffe, with the same committees and official occupants.
* Saint Paul’s Parishioners are still working harmoniously all together as one and real holy family, and they compete for obtaining the imperishable crown, affirming that they are the actual Body Members of the Lord Christ who is the head of the Church. His Eminence Metropolitan Paul, the Parish Priest and every person are very proud of them. They pray to the Lord God that He rewards them all, and bestows His Blessing upon them. Amen.
Brisbane, on September, 10, 2004 Archpriest John Abdel-Karim