Recently, in the far southwest corner of Western Australia (WA), in a small town called Prevelly, which is nestled in the Margaret River region of WA, something exciting has begun to unfold.
Father John Sullivan, who was ordained into the Priesthood by Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea with the blessing of Archbishop Makarios of Australia in 2020, was given a very important mission; to conduct monthly Divine Liturgies at the Holy Chapel of St John the Theologian in Prevelly which is located 280 km south of Perth.
The historic chapel of St John the Theologian, which has been used for weddings, christenings, and a yearly feast day Divine Liturgy, has stood guard at the town of Prevelly for over 40 years. The chapel was built and generously donated to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia by Geoff Edwards, an Aussie digger, who served at the Battle of Crete during the 2nd World War. Geoff’s story of the iconic Chapel is famous and a wonderful example to us all, and one is encouraged to familiarise themselves with this amazing story in the book written by Edwards ‘The Road to Prevelly’.
As Fr John began celebrating regular English Divine Liturgies at the chapel, soon after enquirers and searchers began attending. These new parishioners have traveled from far and wide and have been drawn to the Chapel of St John because of the warm and inviting atmosphere and the feeling of genuine love. Comments such as “It’s like a family” and “with the services now being conducted in English I found myself moving from an observer to a participant” is the type of feedback that Fr John is receiving from those attending the monthly services.
Orthodoxy is for everybody and just like the earliest Christians from the Apostolic times, the newly developing Orthodox community of St John in Prevelly is sharing the Good News in the local language of the people.
Fr John says, “We are humble, ordinary believers who are thirsty for the Truth of the Gospel which is found in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The faithful that participate in the services are from a true cross-section of society that celebrates what it means to be an Australian. These include grocers, farmers, lawyers, professors, businessmen, Protestants, and everyday people who have discovered the relatively unknown and seemingly mysterious Orthodox Church”.
Fr John further states that “we have people attending who have discovered the loving nature of Orthodox Christians. Many are seeing it is truly a “miracle unfolding” and are excited to see that the Chapel has come to life within the last twelve or so months. Yes, things have now changed at Prevelly where our home is St John the Theologian’s Chapel. In this home, we are a growing family where we are all brothers and sisters, and where there is room for all. Thanks to God, amazing things continue to happen today, all we need to do is open our hearts and treat each other with love and respect”.
Fr John encourages anyone who would like to know more about the timeless faith of Orthodoxy to attend the services in Prevelly that take place on the first Saturday of each month. All are welcome to come and see for themselves the transformation of the people as we commit to making Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour in our daily lives. Orthodoxy is firmly rooted in the teachings of Holy Scripture and the unchanging Christian witness of the early Church.
For more information, please go to the Facebook page – Chapel of St John Theologian, Prevelly.