Where the Church Bell Can Be Heard, There the Parish Lies: Issues of Schism and Continuity in the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia

Alexander Norman

Abstract


The religious landscape of Australia is both complex and diverse. Such diversity has resulted chiefly from the migration, forced or otherwise, of peoples from all over the world.
However, the transition of a religion and its associated community from one social and cultural context to another is by no means an easy one. The history of the Greek
Orthodox Church in Australia is one example of the difficulties that are typically encoun - tered in this move. As a case study, an examination of this history can give a valuable
insight into the problems that migrant religions and religious communities face in new homes. Further, it provides a fascinating study of the divisions that can occur in migrant religious communities regarding areas of authority. The establishment of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia reveals a number of issues characteristic of migrant reli - gious communities: The prominence of lay people in establishing their own churches; the role of the church in retaining faith, culture and language and the influence of the homeland church in governance. The ways in which it dealt with these issues can yield valuable lessons that may shed light on the challenges faced by migrant religious communities presently forming in Australia, and those that are yet to come.

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