7-10 June in the Melbourne Eparchy of Ss. App. Peter and Paul the Eparchial Soborchyk (Eparchial Clergy Conference) was held, which brought together priests and deacons from all over Australia to Pallotti College.
The main theme of this year’s Conference was “Liturgical Life in the Melbourne Eparchy” as prayer, in both the liturgical and personal aspects, is the foundation of the entire life of the Church.
Each day began with Matins and the Divine Liturgy, which was followed by the working sessions. At the end of the day, the clergy prayed Daily Vespers together and had the opportunity to spend time in communion with each other and with the Bishop.
- Bishop Mykola celebrated Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for Plast
- Bishop Mykola took part in the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference
- Bishop Bychok paid a pastoral visit to the faithful of Darwin
On 7 June, during the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Mykola, Eparch of Melbourne, addressed the clergy with the following words: “Since the time of John the Baptist and to this day, the kingdom of heaven has been taken by force; and those who use force take it by force (Mt. 11,12). Today, the Lord brings us all together to first establish a personal relationship with Him and with one another. Each of us has received a vocation to the priesthood and the opportunity to serve in the Eparchy of Sts Peter and Paul, of Melbourne. May the figure of St. John the Baptist, whose feast we are celebrating, (The Third Finding of the Head of St John the Baptist) be present in our hearts and spiritual contemplations. The holy Forrunner is an immense example of witness to The Truth and has accompanied us for the Soborchyk during these four days.” At the end of the Liturgy, the clergy of the Eparchy congratulated their Bishop on the occasion of the 2nd anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination, singing “Mnohaya Lita”.
During the first day, Bishop Mykola informed the clergy about the latest news and decisions in the Eparchy. Discussions then began on the difficulties, needs, and challenges of the Church’s liturgical life in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania.
During the 2nd day the clergy discussed Liturgical issues: the Holy Sacraments, observance of rubrics in worship, the importance of celebrating the Parish Feasts without postponements on certain calendar dates, as well as the possibility of celebrating national holidays on Sundays. The most important and deepest institution of our Church discussed on this day was the schedule of services for Holy Week, as well as the time of celebration of the Feast of Feasts, Holy Pascha, which is the Resurrection of Our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We discussed our needs with relation to the biblical, liturgical, and family aspects of this holy time of the Church’s liturgical calendar.
The 3rd day was dedicated to the discussion and approval of the structure of the service of the Burial of the Dead, the Holy Sacraments, and the rite of the Blessing of the Water on the parish’s Patronal Feast and other services of the Liturgical Year.
On the final 4th day of the meeting, the Soborchyk discussed the work of the Eparchial Sobor “Emigration, Settlement and Global Unity of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church”, which took place in our Eparchy in Zoom format on 12 December, 2022. There were presented pastoral affairs and “road map” plans for our Eparchy, with reference to the responsibilities of each parish in particular. On this day, Bishop Mykola, together with the clergy of the Eparchy of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, celebrated the Hierarchical Liturgy for Peace in Ukraine.
It is worth noting that the Soborchyk became a long-awaited event to get together for our whole clergy. During the pandemic we were all subject to stay-at-home orders, quarantine, and restrictions on inter-state travel, which were imposed for two and a half years, making such meetings impossible. Periodic meetings of the clergy, however, took place online throughout the duration of the pandemic.