Welcome Address of Dr Philip Kariatlis On the occasion of the visitation of Serbian Patriarch

Welcome Address of Dr Philip Kariatlis
Academic Director and Senior Lecturer in Theology

On the occasion of the visitation of His Holiness Irinej
Archbishop of Pech, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and
Serbian Patriarch

St Andrews Greek Orthodox Theological College
11 March 2016


Your Beatitude,
Your Eminences,
Your Graces,
Reverend fathers,
Distinguished members of faculty,
Students and friends of St Andrew’s who are with us this morning,

It is my great pleasure and honour to welcome everyone this morning to St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College on this auspicious and blessed occasion.

In particular, and on behalf of our College Dean and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, I’d like to welcome:

  1.  His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej, Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Patriarch of Serbia.
  2. His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilochius, Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral and Exarch of the Throne of Pech.

The reason for our assembly in the College Hall of St Andrew’s this morning, is the visit of His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej to Australia just over a week ago.  

The main reason for his pastoral visit to Australia has been to preside over the Great Consecration of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity in Brunswick East, Melbourne.

His Beatitude will also be laying the foundation stone for a new Church – St Luke the apostle – here in Sydney in Liverpool.

The opportunity has been given to many of the Orthodox faithful to receive his blessings and prayers.

From its early years, St Andrew’s has had very good, close and cherished ties with the Serbian Orthodox Church here in Australia.

St Andrew’s, for example, has had many students from the Serbian Orthodox Church attend St Andrew’s over the past thirty years since its establishment in 1986, some of which have been ordained, others, having been equipped with solid foundational studies in theology have gone on to do postgraduate studies here and abroad. And, right up to this day, St Andrew’s continues to have students from the Serbian Orthodox Church. Indeed, St Andrew’s is very proud of the fact that students from many of the Orthodox jurisdictions here in Australia consider St Andrew’s as their alma mater.

Today we are honoured by the blessings that Patriarch Irinej bestows upon St Andrew’s, by his visit to our Theological College.

Patriarch Irinej is well-known in the Orthodox theological scholarly world.

Having initially studied in the Prizren seminary, he went on to study at the University of Belgrade’s Theological Faculty, followed by postgraduate studies at the University of Athens. He was then appointed principal at the monastic school at Ostrog monastery in Monte Negro. He later returned to Prizren, where he was appointed Dean of the Prizren Seminary of Sts Cyril and Methodius in 1969.

When, later in 1975, as Bishop of the ancient and holy diocese of Nis, it became necessary to relocate the theological seminary, he undertook the building of a new large seminary building in Nis to fulfil this need. His Beatitude served as Bishop of Nis for some 35 years and in 2010, after the falling asleep of Patriarch Pavle – from whom St Andrew’s also had the great honour to receive his blessings  some years ago – His Beatitude was elected as Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Patriarch of Serbia. He is the 45th Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

During all these years, working in seminaries and thereafter as a bishop, His Beatitude has distinguished himself with many publications, commitment to inter-Orthodox, inter-Christian and interfaith dialogue representing the Church in many ecumenical and academic assemblies. Indeed, it is His Beatitude’s lifelong commitment to the discipline of theology, to teaching and to research, while pastoring his flock and working for peace after many years of conflict – indeed his name ‘Irinej’ which means ‘peace’ is indicative of his commitment throughout his life to work for, and give witness to, the peace of Christ amongst his people – that has today distinguished him as a true luminary for those seeking the light of Christ.

It is for this reason that we are all honoured, Your Beatitude that you are with us this morning at St Andrew’s

Welcome Your Beatitude…. And as they say in Greek Ὠς εὐ παρέστητε!