Mount Gambier is the largest city in South Australia, after the capital Adelaide, with a population of around 27,000 people.
There lays the famous Blue Lake, as well as other natural beauties, such as caves with stalactites and stalagmites, and sinkholes within the city itself.
The city is an important hub for local timber production, transportation, and fishing.
Mount Gambier has long had a significant presence of Greeks, who once reached two hundred (200) families. However, like other peripheral cities, the Greek Orthodox community declined over the years as many young families moved to larger cities for better employment and more educational opportunities. Today in Mount Gambier and the surrounding area live about sixty (60) Greek families.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the Greek Orthodox community is the lack of regular worship of God. Without a permanent priest, they rely on the arrival of priests, with the blessing of the Bishop, from Adelaide, 3-4 times a year. In addition, because they do not have their own church, they are forced to operate on Saturday, instead of Sunday, borrowing the Anglican church.
Bishop Siluan of Sinope visited the Greek Orthodox community in Mount Gambier, for the first time as Bishop, on the first weekend after Easter 2021.
At his meeting with the Governing Council of the Community, these matters of concern to the Community were discussed, and he proposed, as a trial measure, the missionary way of Adelaide priests per month to perform the Orthros and the Divine Liturgy.
In addition, it was decided, after a relevant pastoral recommendation of his, that the sacred services of Orthros and the Divine Liturgy be held on Sunday in the suitably formed, privately-owned hall of the Community.
Following the above, the first Divine Liturgy was performed on the day of All Saints, Sunday, July 27, 2021, by Bishop Siluan himself, who went again to Mount Gambier, on Saturday afternoon.
Bishop Siluan took advantage of the spirit of hospitality of the faithful of Mount Gambier and supervised the study of the Bible, to which he invited the faithful on the Saturday night before Orthros and the Divine Liturgy of the next day.
This invitation of the Church was met by a satisfactory number of believers of Mount Gambier, considering the current circumstances, who participated in both the study of the Bible on Saturday night and the Sacrament of the Holy Communion on Sunday morning.
We pray that this will be only the beginning of a journey of the Orthodox Community of Mount Gambier towards the acquisition of their own holy temple, which will be the center of their life and their second home, where all events of their lives will be blessed by the grace of God, from birth to beyond death.