This week was the ordination of the 4th Fijian Priest Father Panayiotis Singh. He along with Father Bartholomeos will be serving the parish of Holy Trinity in Saweni. Until that church is built, they pray at the Dormition of the Theotokos church of the monastery that is there, and awaiting monastics to fill it.
Father Panayiotis and Presvytera Sophia are of Indian background and had served as a pastor (and pastor's wife) in another Christian denomination. He and his wife Presvytera Sophia have one son.
It was a wonderful experience for us. We have known Father Panayiotis for over a year. Very devout in his prayers at every Divine Liturgy. He is also a dedicated servant of others, as I could tell by the way he cared for us during our recent visit to Sabeto last month.
His first ordination was in Auckland on the Sunday of the elevation of the Holy Cross, he was tonsured a reader, then made a subdeacon, and then ordained a deacon. It was a long set of services. We began at 9 am and did not finish until nearly 2 pm. At one point, we had over 95 people in Church, but our people are still not used to being attentive in DIvine LIturgy, plus some of our people needed to leave for various reasons, so by the end of it I think we had 50.
But it was all good, a wonderful sanctification of our Holy Naos, to have an ordinaiton there. The heartfelt joy, true spiritual joy that cannot be explained by our mere thoughts abounded to say the least. The words of His Eminence addressed many living issues that we face as ierapostolic workers in the vineyard of our Lord.
We had a nice meal and then off to the airport. I am sure His Eminence deserved a good long sleep. I hope he got it because just two days later, Panayiotis the Deacon was ordained on the 25th of March to the Holy Priesthood at the Annunciation Cathedral in Wellington.
We were all very tired, but hardly felt it for the joy that was making us feel lighter than air.
We have some more personal good news.
We have received residency status from the NZ gov't and now can reside here indefinitely. This also means that we have a few more rights that are nearly the same as citizens, and this makes us glad. One is that Nicholia will be able to afford her tuition for studies.
I know that for our friends and family it sends a message that we are not coming home. This is not the case. The truth is we just don't know, but we are always free to do so, and when the Lord calls us back we will return.