Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Aboriginal Parish in Australia


Aboriginal Parish in Australia

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) has recently launched an Aboriginal Australian mission in Gunning, New South Wales, near an Aboriginal community north of Canberra, the capital of that Commonwealth.  The parish has been named for one of the Saints who has shined forth here in North America (and around the world, really!), St. John (Maximovitch) the Wonderworker, who was ROCOR’s Archbishop of San Francisco and Shanghai. (He labored in Paris too, a refugee from the Russian Civil War [i.e., Reds vs. Whites].)

I note that the missionary priest, Fr. Seraphim Slade [photo], is himself an Aborigine convert and ordained just last year.  Very cool!  This Indian encourages Aboriginal Orthodox missions here in the Americas too: Let’s not rest on our Alaskan laurels now!  (And yes, Indigenous people come in all shades, there and here.)
This retired broadcaster also likes the idea of Fr. Seraphim’s Aboriginal media work!

The Australia Diocese directory gives contact info as follows:

St John the Wonderworker of San Francisco Chapel
Australian Orthodox Indigenous Mission
All Services in English – phone for Service Times
50 Grovenor Street
Gunning NSW 2581

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 55
Gunning NSW 2581

Priest Seraphim Slade
Phone: (02) 4845 1370
Mobile: 0432 113 858
International Phone: +61 (2) 4845 1370

On Saturday the 4th of July 2009, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion travelled 2 and half hours from Sydney to the township of Gunning. Here, in the home of Father Seraphim and Matushka Helen Slade he served the Divine Liturgy in English and blessed a chapel in honour of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco. Ordained priest only a year ago and of aboriginal heritage, Father Seraphim’s work with aboriginal media organisations obliges him to travel widely around Australia to many indigenous communities. This provides him with many excellent opportunities to introduce Orthodox Christianity to indigenous Australians in many different locations. The blessing of the home chapel provides Father Seraphim with a base where the Divine Liturgy can be regularly served for a small but growing number of converts to the Orthodox faith in Gunning and surrounding areas.
Father Seraphim requested that the chapel be blessed in honour of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco because of the encouragement St John gave for the establishment of local churches and the evangelisation of non-Russian peoples.

Serving with the Metropolitan were Father Seraphim Slade and Father George Robertson from the St Stephen of Perm mission in Queanbeyan. Over 60 people attended the Divine Liturgy, with many travelling from Sydney , Queanbeyan, Canberra and Yass. The choir from All Saints Church, Kentlyn, under the direction of Sub-deacon Stephen McKay, provided the singing. Following the Liturgy, the Metropolitan, clergy and congregation attended a festive trapeza in the hall of the Gunning fire station. Among the guests were the elders of the local indigenous community.



An underground Orthodox church in Coober Pedy, Australia


An underground Orthodox church in Coober Pedy, Australia

About 800 kilometers north from Adelaide, in the state of South Australia, there is a unique monument, not only of Serbian but also of world culture and architecture. It is the church of Prophet Elijah, completely situated underground.

The Serbs who migrated to Coober Pedy, had a need for a spiritual, religious life. Our miners who were digging semi-precious stones, opal, dug one of the most beautiful pearls not only of the Serbian Orthodox, but also of  the overall Christian culture. Since it is a desert area where temperatures reach above 40 degrees Celsius, our people found an unique and ingenious solution. They built a church underground, at the depth of 9 meters, 30 meters long. They have now a church, a church hall, a parish house and a church school – everything underground.

This church has unique frescoes, since they are cut in the rocks, not painted. Following the Romanian example, the iconostasis was painted on the glass behind which lights shine. 

His Grace Bishop Irinej of Australia-New Zealand, in his statement to RTS, pointed out particularity of this church: “The Serbian Orthodox Church possesses the most unique Serbian church in the world - in Coober Pedy in South Australia… This is a most unique case because the church is literally underground.”

The Church of Saint Elijah the Prophet celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. The RTS correspondent from Australia Dragan Caran has announced a documentary on this unique cultural monument.



Monday, October 7, 2019

Mount Athos (the Holy Mountain) and Australia - Bishop Joseph of Arianzos


Mount Athos (the Holy Mountain) and Australia

Bishop Joseph of Arianzos

"I will lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence comes my help" (Ps 121:1).

Australia is the land 'par excellence' of level and flat plains. Her mountains are few. And these few which exist are unquarried. They have not yet been dug or cultivated by the sacred perspiration of holy souls; they have not yet been shocked by unspoken sighs of God-minded people seeking the Lord; they have not been watered by heart- felt tears of repentance. Their soil does not cover gold-waxed scented relics of saints. Their caves, desolate of hermits, are simply tourist attractions. And the Christian people of the land, lift up their eyes to the hills', awaiting help on their journey, guidance in their steps, relief from the weight of their soul... 'But, what may be received from he who has nothing?'....

In the Mother Country things are different. There our country enclosed "by mountains which have as a covering the low sky day and night", as the poet Seferis would have said. And nearly all the Greek mountains are sanctified by hermitages and monasteries, where the faithful people run 'as a thirsty deer in order to lean on to rest, to be comforted, to express their pain, to confess their transgressions, to find their God and their self...

But above all the holy Greek mountains stands Athos, the Holy Mountain, which for more than one thousand years is sanctified and sanctifies, transfigures and is transfigured, illumines and is illuminated, is comforted and comforts, below the holy Maphora of the Panagia who selected it as an inheritance of her own and as her Garden...

On this mountain, the exceptional Athos, our people 'lift up their eyes' and find help. The black clad, embodied angels which fit its caves and holes, its abounding rocks, its cliffs and ravines, its hermitages and seats, its grand, Byzantine, kingly monasteries and sketes, these deniers of worldliness but philanthropists, never hesitate to hasten to the aid of 'the sea-farers' in the sea of the grief of life and 'all the scandals of the devil'.

Their philanthropic stole, their wise advice, their comforting word, the holy example of their love which is worthy of imitation, the effusive and yet internal peace inherent in their appearance, their peaceful glance, their blessed discernment and their God- persuading prayer, is the greatest comfort and the most substantive support of the faithful!... And it is exactly this which is not offered by the hills of Australia!... This blessed place has everything except the grace of a Holy Mountain!... And this deficiency is not at all insignificant and unworthy of mention.

But, God found a way to comfort his struggling people, here! He sent to them an Archbishop and Shepherd, a man who has tasted the goodness of the Holy Mountain and its monks, respects Athos and reveres its holy men!...

So, Archbishop Stylianos, arranged to transfer... the Holy Mountain to the Antipodes!... For more than nineteen years now, he annually invites one or two spiritual fathers from Athos, usually in the period of Great Lent, who patiently travel around the fifth continent accepting the confession of the faithful, comforting, admonishing, dispersing doubts, supporting in the faith, reconciling, leading to the knowledge of God... Names such as that of the Elder Paisios, the Abbot Vasileios of the Monastery ofIviron, Father Theologos, Father Ephraim of Simonopetra, Father Panaret, Father Meletios of Grigoriou, Father Damaskinos, Father Simeon, Father Ignatios of Stavronikita and others, have been closely intertwined with the spiritual journey of the Greek people. But above all the name of Father Tychon, today the Abbot of the Monastery of Stavronikita, has been connected, I think, more closely than all the others. Because Father Tychon, with the blessing of his elder, the Abbot Vasileios, who from very early on comprehended the special needs of Australia and responded with much brotherly love to the relevant invitations of our Archbishop, came for seven consecutive years, leaving his monastery, the security of his cell, the sweetness of serenity, his own personal progress, remaining faithful to the instruction: "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being" (I Cor. 10:24), and ploughed Australia as a missionary, as another St. Kosmas Aitolos (he also was a monk of the Holy Mountain), from Sydney to Darwin, from Brisbane to Perth, and from Melbourne and Canberra to Adelaide, and not a few country towns of this Land, silently, humbly, calmly, without complaint, sacrificially, with a genuine ecclesiastical attitude, indefatigably, whole- heartedly, patiently, sweetly, with brotherly love, like a good day' as we say in Crete!

His Eminence our Archbishop had once said that Father Tychon will go down in history as 'Tychon the Australian'. And I don't think he was at all unjustified. All the monks that came here and specifically the organiser of the program of the blessed visits, Father Vasileios, are our benefactors. And likewise, all those who being unable to come personally support us with their holy prayers. But Father Tychon went a step further! And I consider it an exceptional blessing from God to my unworthiness that 'by coincidence' the great honour of liturgising in the Monastery of Stavronikita on the day of the enthronement of its Abbot, fell to me, thus repaying, somehow symbolically, a small part of the debt of gratitude that we as the Archdiocese of Australia owe to him, to the Stavronikita Dignity and to monasticism of the Holy Mountain as a whole...

When the Elder Paisios came to Australia with Father Vasileios, the then Abbot of Stavronikita, in 1977, he said, as I have been informed, "Many problems exist here in Australia, because this land has not as yet brought forth a saint. I believe, though, that even Australia, in the future, will bring forth saints, from within so many faithful who fight the good fight here, and then things will change..."

And we in turn believe, that through his and all the monks' prayers, and with the continuing annual visits of the spiritual fathers to Australia for the help and support of the faithful and assistance in the work of her martyr Church, the words of the Elder Paisios will come true. 'Signs to those who believe' can already be traced in the depths of the horizon. With the enlightened guidance of Archbishop Stylianos, a regenerative effort is being carried out, in the middle - it is true - of countless difficulties, from one side of the continent to the other. The number of conscious faithful is increasing impressionably. Monastic shelters are being prepared. Simultaneously, Australia gives its tithe to the Holy Mountain, which is the only place on earth which does not give birth to people. Many of our children in recent years have been called to the monastic surrounds of the Holy Mountain, praying night and day for Australian Orthodoxy and the salvation of us all...

It is said that the light of people are the monks, the light of monks are the angels, the light of angels is God". This light, it is our humble prayer and plea, will continue to bring to Australia, for many years to come, "the blessed feet" of the Fathers of the Holy Mountain, "preaching peace, preaching the good things".



Ο Άγιος Παΐσιος ο Αγιορείτης (+1994) στην Αυστραλία για ένα μήνα κατά το έτος 1977 – “Η μεγαλύτερη ευλογία που δέχτηκε ποτέ η ήπειρος της Αυστραλίας”


Ο Άγιος Παΐσιος ο Αγιορείτης στην Αυστραλία για ένα μήνα κατά το έτος 1977

“Η μεγαλύτερη ευλογία που δέχτηκε ποτέ η ήπειρος της Αυστραλίας”

Η επίσκεψη του Αγίου Παϊσίου στην Αυστραλία έμεινε ιστορική. Είκοσι χρόνια αργότερα ένας Έλληνας μετανάστης είπε: “Όσοι Έλληνες έρχονται στην Αυστραλία, έρχονται για να πάρουν. Νομίζουν ότι εδώ είμαστε πλούσιοι· δεν ξέρουν πόσο αγωνιζόμαστε. Μόνο ένας Μοναχός, ο Πατήρ Παΐσιος, όταν ήρθε και τον ρωτήσαμε: ‘Τί θέλετε να σας δώσουμε;’, απάντησε: ‘Εμείς ήρθαμε να πάρουμε λίγο από τον πόνο σας'”. Οἱ ομογενείς των πόλεων, από τις οποίες πέρασε, ένιωσαν ότι ένας Άγιος πέρασε από τον τόπο τους και τον ευλόγησε. Σήμερα πιστεύουν ότι αυτή είναι η μεγαλύτερη ισως ευλογία που δέχτηκε ποτέ η ήπειρος της Αυστραλίας. Ο Πατήρ Παΐσιος όμως, όταν επέστρεψε στο Άγιο Όρος, είπε: “Καλύτερα να πήγαιναν στην Αυστραλία δύο Πνευματικοί παρά εγώ. Το πετραχήλι είναι αυτό που χρειάζεται κανείς εκεί μακριά, στην ξενιτειά”

Πριν από την Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή του 1977, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αυστραλίας Στυλιανός προσκάλεσε τον Ηγούμενο της Μονής Σταυρονικήτα π. Βασίλειο καθώς και τον Άγιο Παΐσιο τον Αγιορείτη (+1994), για να βοηθήσουν τους ξενιτεμένους Έλληνες, ώστε να ετοιμασθούν για το Πάσχα με μετάνοια και εξομολόγηση. Ταξίδεψαν 26 ώρες με το αεροπλάνο, και όλες αυτές τις ώρες ο Άγιος Παΐσιος ο Αγιορείτης δεν άφησε από τα χέρια του μία βαρειά τσάντα που είχε μέσα και εικονάκια, διότι από ευλάβεια δεν ήθελε να την ακουμπήσει πουθενά.

Κάποια στιγμή αισθάνθηκε να μπαινει μέσα στο αερπλάνο φως, ενώ παράλληλα ένιωσε και πολλή Χάρη. Ρώτησε πού βρίσκονταν και του είπαν ότι περνούσαν πάνω από την Συρία. Κατάλαβε ότι αυτό έγινε, επειδή ο τόπος εκείνος είναι αγιασμένος από τους αγώνες πολλών Οσίων και Μαρτύρων. Αντίθετα, περνώντας πάνω από την Ινδία και το Θιβέτ, ένιωσε μία δαιμονική ψυχρότητα. Για τήν Αυστραλία είπε ότι δεν είχε ακόμη αγιασθεί από τοπικούς Αγίους, αλλά θα αναδειχθούν και εκεί Άγιοι.

Τον ένα μήνα που έμειναν στην Αυστραλία, πήγαιναν στις διάφορες ενορίες, όπου ο π. Βασίλειος εξομολογούσε και ο Άγιος Παΐσιος προετοίμαζε τούς ανθρώπους για την εξομολόγηση. Η παρουσία του Οσίου απέπνεε ευλάβεια και βαθειά ταπείνωση. Περπατούσε με το κεφάλι σκυμμένο και από όπου περνούσε έκανε σε όλους μία μικρή υπόκλιση. Μπροστά στον Αρχιεπίσκοπο και τον Ηγούμενο δεν μιλούσε σχεδόν καθόλου. Όταν ο κόσμος του έλεγε: “Πές μας κι εσύ κάτι , Πάτερ Παΐσιε”, έδειχνε εκείνους λέγοντας: “Τι να

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Monastery, Gunningrah, New South Wales, Australia

Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Monastery, Gunningrah, New South Wales, Australia

Richardsons Road, Gunningrah, New South Wales, NSW 2632 Australia

Email: htmonastery@westnet.com.au
Tel.: +61 (0) (2) 6458 3009

Saint Petroc Monastery, Hobart, Tasmania


Saint Petroc Monastery, Hobart, Tasmania

"Better a humble unlettered brother who, working the good things he knows, gains Heaven than one who though being distinguished for his Scriptural learning, or being a teacher, lacks the bread of love". 
—The Venerable Bede (673-735)

 * * *

The original Saint Petroc Monastery began formally in 1992-1993, being the first Western Rite monastery in the country, having semi-eremitic hieromonks.  However it was closed in 2012, with its superior leaving the country to join another monastic house.

It was led by Fr Michael, a qualified primary school teacher, with a degree in theology, who had served in the Air Force, and worked for some years in banking before being Ordained as an Anglican priest.  The monastery incorporated fairly soon thereafter, and worked from the large building known as Saint Petroc House, originally occupied by Fr Michael alone for some years.

Fr. Michael went back to England in 1994 where he had meetings with Fr Michael Keiser of the Antiochian Orthodox Church. He was in England in 1995 and again in 1996.   At this time Saint Petroc Monastery was effectively stavropigial, directly under the guidance of His Beatitude Ignatius IV, the Patriarch of Antioch in Damascus.
In 1997, Saint Petroc Monastery came under the direction of Archbishop Hilarion (Kapral) of ROCOR.

In 1997, Archbishop Hilarion directed that the monastery undertake the task of compiling a complete Prayer Book for ROCOR Western Rite.  The task took seven years and emerged with episcopal blessing as the Saint Colman Prayer Book in 2003.  It included the Liturgy of Saint Gregory as Abbot Augustine had worked on it, the Sarum Liturgy and the English Liturgy, as well as all the monastic offices and the occasional services which a Parish Priest might use in the course of a year.  The book was heavily reliant on the Sarum services, many of which were incorporated only slightly modified.
In 1998 Archbishop Hilarion directed Fr. Michael to take on the position of Chaplain at the University of Tasmania in Hobart.

In 2001, Fr. Michael and cell attendant David spent some time in France conducting an investigation in the Orthodox Church of France.   Fr. Michael lived in a flat attached to the Bishop’s house in Paris and they occupied the disused monastery in Saint-Marcel-le-Bourge in Tarn, southern Francek

The Refectory at the disused ECOF monastery in the South of France where Fr. Michael and his attendant David lived.





Thursday, May 23, 2019

God led me into His Church - Fr. Geoff Harvey, Australia


God led me into His Church

Fr. Geoff Harvey, Australia





Fr. Geoff has served as an Orthodox priest for the last seventeen years, at the The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church in Clayton, Melbourne.  The Good Shepherd is the spiritual home to Australians of all ethnic backgrounds. English is used in all services so that Australians of all backgrounds can enter into the Loving Relationship that Christ, through His Church, extends to all.

* * *

Ever since I can remember, I have had an awareness of God, even if He has not always been at the centre of my life. He was always in the air I breathed. But although I’ve always attended church services, it took me a while to discover God’s Church.

I was a post Second World War baby boomer, born into the waning days of the British Empire and, as with many military families, we moved frequently. Cities and streets changed, houses changed, schools changed, friends changed — the one constant in my life was the Church of England Liturgy. Every Sunday, no matter where we were in the world, I could count on the Church of England services being the same. The glue of the church was the Liturgy and, looking back, I realise that it gave me a stable focal point in my ever-changing life in different parts of the world.

By age eleven, my parents were travelling overseas constantly with my father’s British Army vocation so, like most military children, I and my two sisters were sent off to boarding school. It was a real shock to my system to suddenly be separated from parents and siblings. What helped me cope was attending the daily and weekly church services at the boarding school.

From age 13 it was possible to attend communion services early every Sunday morning, but I had to sneak out of the shared dormitory really early. Although the Matins service at eleven was compulsory for all boarders, I desperately wanted to get to church by eight o’clock so I could receive Holy Communion. I tried hard to creep quietly out of the dormitory without waking any of the other boys, but can still remember having slippers hurled in my direction by boys who didn’t appreciate being disturbed on their one and only lie-in each week.

I really don’t know where my motivation to attend church services came from. While my parents provided a disciplined example of weekly church attendance, my sisters didn’t pick up this desire. I can only conclude God implanted this desire within me.

I also wanted to help others find faith. I’ve always had this kind of desire to serve God and help others find Him even from that young age. One early ambition was to be a missionary! I have no idea where that came from other than God Himself.

Although I read my King James Bible daily, I also read a lot of Scripture Union notes because it made the Bible so much more enjoyable and understandable. Then I learned that a new translation, the New English Bible, was available. I found one in the local bookshop and really wanted a copy, so I saved up my pocket money for weeks and weeks. When I was finally able to afford it, I so loved reading it. It was in a language I could understand and the Bible started to open up for me.

Welbeck College

In my late teens, I moved on from my boarding school and went to Welbeck College. Welbeck College was an Army college for the final two years of schooling, which were designed to recruit and prepare young men for the technical services in the British Army. I was quite successful there in many ways. A bit too successful, because I became rather full of myself. In the military, you must have self-confidence, and they do their best to build that into the young recruits. But it went to my head. As I approached my final exams I thought I was just cruising towards a glorious finish.
But then I failed one of my crucial exams, and my ego came crashing back to earth. That’s how God got my attention again.

Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst

Officer’s training at Sandhurst was tough. Really tough.

In those days, it was still expected for sons to follow in the footsteps of their fathers. I certainly picked that idea up from somewhere. So it was almost expected that I would attend Sandhurst and enter into my father’s Corp: The Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E.). But I arrived without the crucial qualifications that I needed to enter this Corps.

As we were being inducted into the Academy, I overheard another young cadet being asked,

“What religion are you.”

I was amazed when he responded,

“I haven’t got any religion.”

The sergeant major then said,

“What? You ain’t got no religion? You have to have religion in the British Army. You’re C of E.”

And so he was marked down as Church of England. That was my first exposure to someone without any faith. I realised that while God was an all-pervading presence in my life many others had no awareness Him.

My conversion

It might seem a bit strange, when God was ‘always in the air I breathed’, to talk about a conversion. But during the early unbelievably hectic period at Sandhurst the memory of God became faint. In

Australia, December 2017: Six Adults Baptised, Received into Holy Orthodoxy


Australia, December 2017: 

Six Adults Baptised, Received into Holy Orthodoxy



God is on the move. He is calling people from all backgrounds and walks of life into communion with His Church. And He is calling members of His Church to cooperate with Him in this saving activity (1 Corinthians 3:9).

The Good Shepherd was witness to this Divine activity on the weekend before the Nativity. Six adult catechumens were baptised on the Friday and received into communion on Christmas Eve.

The candidates for baptism were from all walks of life. One was a teenager, several in their early twenties, and some middle-aged. Some were from Protestant backgrounds, and some were previously non-believing or actively atheist. All of them have felt the call of God on their lives: to unite their lives with Christ through the waters of baptism and the communion of the Church.

Through history Christ’s Holy Church has taken seriously His command to

“go into all the world” and “teach the nations all things” (Matthew 28:18–20).

In the first century Christian missionaries spread the message of Christ far and wide. Starting in Jerusalem, they travelled as far west as Spain, and as far east as India. In the next few centuries, the Gospel of Christ would be preached in the British Isles and China.

In the 860s, the Holy Orthodox Church commenced one of the greatest and most successful missionary endeavours in the history of the Christianity. She commissioned two brothers, Sts. Cyril and Methodius to take the message of Christ to the Slavs.  

Their first task was to devise a written alphabet for the Slavic language so they could translate the Bible into Slavonic, the language best understood by the local people. They also translated the Divine Liturgy into Slavonic so the local people could fully participate in the worship.

Then as now, translating the Liturgy into the local language attracted opposition. In Sts. Cyril and

Friday, April 26, 2019

Link: The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church in Clayton, Melbourne, Australia

The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church 

in Clayton, Melbourne, Australia

The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church, located in Clayton, Melbourne, is a living witness to the power of the Gospel and the fullness of the Christian Faith in modern, secular Australia.

We are a vibrant Australian Christian community under the direction of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand & the Philippines, within the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.

The Church of Antioch is the continuation of the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter (who served as its first bishop) and Paul. The Patriarchate of Antioch is the oldest of the ancient Patriarchates constituting the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.

All services are in the English language and are held in the Main Chapel of the Religious Centre at Monash University, Clayton Campus, conveniently located in the centre of Melbourne’s residential population.

Parking in the University car parks is free after 7:00 pm, but please take note of all signs regarding Loading Zones, No Standing and Disabled Parking, these restrictions apply and are enforced.


Подземна црква у Аустралији ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Serbian


Подземна црква у Аустралији

На око 800 километара северно од Аделаида, у држави Јужна Аустралија на петом континенту, налази се јединствен споменик српске али и светске културе и архитектуре. То је црква Светог Илије пророка, која се, у целини, налази под земљом.

Срби који су у Кубер Пиди (Coober Pedy) долазили трбухом за хлебом имали су и потребу за духовним, религиозним исповедањем. Наши рудари који су овде копали полудраго камење, опал, тако су ископали један од најлепших бисера не само српске, православне, него и укупне хришћанске културе. Пошто је овде пустиња, температуре су у просеку изнад 40 степени, наши људи су прибегли јединственом а генијалном решењу. Изградили су цркву под земљом, на дубини од 9 метара, укупне дужине 30 метара. Под земљом се налазе црква, црквени двор, парохијски дом и црквена школа.

Његово Преосвештенство Владика аустралијско-новозеландски г. Иринеј у изјави за РТС истиче посебност ове богомоље: -Српска Православна Црква поседује у Кубер Пидију у јужној Аустралији најуникатнију српску цркву у свету. Не само за Српску Цркву, већ уопште за све хришћанске Цркве, она је најуникатнија, јер се налази буквално испод земље.

Било је потребно много домишљатости у опремању цркве. На објекту су примењена нека изузетна решења. Тако је идеја за иконостас преузета од Румуна. Иконописци су сликали на стаклу испод којег се налази осветљење и то даје посебну драж иконостасу. Пошто је земља помешана са сољу и кречом било је немогуће цртати фреске на том материјалу. Ипак, један уметник из Новог Зеланда успео је, користећи као узорке српске иконе из доба Византије, да исклеше стеновите делове зидова. Тако су настале јединствене фреске, не цртањем већ клесањем у стенама.

На идеју да је црква Светог Илије пророка заслужила да се нађе на УНЕСКО-овој листи споменика културе, владика Иринеј реаговао је речима: -Није ми познато да је то већ неко предложио, али то је изузетна идеја. Верујте ми да ћу дати све од себе да се ова наша црква унесе на списак драгоцених здања који се налазе под заштитом УНЕСКО-а.

Црква Светог Илије пророка ове године обележава две деценије постојања. Дописник РТС-а из Аустралије Драган Царан најављује ускоро документарну емисију о овом јединственом споменику културе.