submitted by Peter Makarthis on 29.05.2011
The Greek community of Inverell had a very important and interesting day on Wednesday when four infants were baptized.
Incidentally, others beside the Greek fraternity participated in the sacred and inspiring ceremonies. The Greek community in Inverell numbers between 35 and 40 and most of them attended one or more of the services.
The Rev. Archimandritis Mitrofanis Nikolaides , D.D., L. L. B., from the Greek Orthodox Church, Sydney, paid a special visit to Inverell to officiate at the ceremonies. ( The title “Archimandritis” signifies the same status as Archdeacon in the Anglican Church).
The first baptism took place at the home of Mr. and Mrs. H. Fardouly, Otho Street, where Dianna Fardouly was presented for baptism by Mrs. Bill (Kalliope) Gengos (Moree), and Basil Stamos (Bingara) was presented by Mr. J. Baveas (Tingha).
During the afternoon at St. Augustine’s Church, Patricia Georgina Minos(Ashford) was presented by Mrs. Theo Psaros.
Later on, Christopher Mitchell was presented by Mr. Roy Danalis (Texas, QLD).
It is a custom in the Greek Orthodox Church that only one godparent is needed, and that according to the sex of the child, is male or female. Another custom is that when the child has been immersed and rises from immersion he or she is robed in a new outfit provided by the godparent. At the close of each baptismal service the guests are entertained at a feast.
Mr. and Mrs. Fardouly entertained a large gathering at their home. Mr. and Mrs Minos (Ashford) entertained their guests to cake and wine at the school hall adjoining the church. On this occasion Mrs Theo Psaros acted as hostess for Mr. and Mrs. Minos were strangers in Inverell and was ably assisted by Mrs. W. Thorley, who had everything in readiness for the visitors. At night Mr. and Mrs. Steve Mitchell entertained a large company to supper after the baptism service at their home. All services were most impressive and beautiful, intensely symbolic of the teachings of Scripture.
At the close of the afternoon service where the Rev. Alfred Battersby assisted the Greek Priest, the opportunity was taken to offer a very sincere welcome to Father Nikolaides to Inverell. The Anglican Vicar in doing so said he felt greatly privileged to participate in such beautiful services, so rich in wonderful symbols. Continuing Mr. Battersby said that the Greek Church was akin to the Anglican Church and it was regarded as a branch of the Catholic Church. Besides this the people of Greece are our Allies in this momentous conflict, their country and people had suffered immensely and were still fighting for a great ideal. He wished to offer a whole-hearted welcome from the people as well as himself, and he would only be too pleased to offer the use of the church whenever necessary. In concluding Mr. Battersby said hje had asked Father Nikolaides to explain the symbols used in the service for he felt sure that many would be interested.
Father Nikolaides expressed his gratitude to Rev. Mr. Battersby for his consideration and for the use of the beautiful church of St. Augustine. He had had great joy in all the services of the day and was very pleased to see such fraternal relations existing between the churches. It was good to have such feelings. Continuing the speaker said that all the symbols were Biblical and full of meaning. The first part where the child was held at the lower end of the Church signified that the infant was just about to enter on his Christian life, and here the godparent played a great part, for to the godparent is entrusted with the religious entrance to the church. Then before the altar, prayers are recited and God’s blessing besought for the little child. The annointing with precious oil is an old-time custom when princes of the Royal blood were annointed with Holy oil before entering the Royal family. Here the child enters into the family of God. Then he is disrobed and immersed three times in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The child is then again annointed with oil the sign of the cross is made on different parts of the body and prayers are said, by this the child is confirmed. The cutting off of tiny pieces of hair is an old Jewish custom signifying devotion to the church, the little child now becomes a devoted adherent to the church. The putting on of all new garments signifies that the child has become a new man, a full Christian able to hear the Gospel; the lighted candles signify the word of God, a symbol of the bible which should be the guide through life. Carrying the child three times around the font signifies the three stages of life, childhood, manhood and the decline of life wherein God is needed always. The tiny sip of wine and the tinier wafer administered to the child signifies the admittance of the little one to Holy Communion. The service concludes with the mother of the infant bowing to the Priest and the godparent in gratitude for what they have done for the child.
The Rev. A. Battersby, in thanking the Priest for his interesting explanations, said that he had to be congratulated on his splendid English after only eight years of residence in Australia. Greek children were perhaps better off than others, said the speaker, because they in early life became full members of the church. He congratulated the Father on such a lucid explanation of the beautiful service from which so much could be learned.
At the conclusion of the baptismal service at Mr. and Mrs. Steve Mitchell’s home, where a large company had assembled, Ald. H. Brissett took the chair and the Loyal Toast, “The King” was honoured with great enthusiasm. Mr. Brissett then congratulated the parents and godparents on the success of the day just concluded, saying he would wish nothing better for the four little ones than they should grow up happy Christian children.
Mr. Steve Mitchell, in replying for the parents, said that they all appreciated very much the presence of their visitors , both from the Greek community and Australian people, for they
had helped to make the day what it had been.
Mrs Theo Psaros responded on behalf of the godparents. She said perhaps it was only on such occasions that the Greek community had an opportunity of meeting together, and as one of them she wished to say that there eighteen Australian born Greeks in Inverell and all she could wish was that her fellow compatriots could feel towards their adopted country – Australia – which had given them and their families freedom and security. Concluding Mrs Psaros asked all present to raise their glasses and drink to “Advance Australia Fair.” This was acceded to with great enthusiasm.
In replying to his toast which was drunk with musical honours, the Rev. Nikolaides expressed great appreciation for the splendid hospitality he had received throughout the day, he hoped that the children would grow up to be strong and valiant Christians; he also expressed the hope that the two airman, sons of one of the godparents(Mrs. Gengos, Moree) would return in safety to their adopted land.
The National Anthem and the Greek National Anthem concluded a wonderful day.
The Rev. Father Nikolaides left yesterday for Glen Innes en route to Sydney.
Inverell Times 1942
St. Augustines Church, Inverell has hosted numerous Greek ceremonies conducted by Priests of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Peter McCarthy married Deanna Psaros Ausgust 1962. Their grandchildren Ruby Smith, Mattea Azara, Fabia Azara and Lilian Azara were baptized according to the rites of the Greek Orthodox Church at St. Augustines
Dianna Fardouly married George Samios January1963 – George Samios parents, Nickolas and Kyrannie(nee Psarou) Samios were married at St Augustines, Inverell, June 1932.
29 May 2011
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