The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia has announced bold plans for a complete redevelopment of the Archdiocesan site at Cleveland Street, Redfern.
The proposal, which was initially announced last year, includes upgrades to the infrastructure of St Andrew’s Theological College, as well as the creation of a Library and Museum, with religious and cultural exhibits that reflect upon Greek Australian heritage and the history of our immigration.
The full proposal consists of five stages and is to be realised over the course of two decades with a total budget of approximately $27 million.
The first stage envisages the careful restoration and refurbishment of the historic Cathedral of the Annunciation of our Lady, designed by famous Colonial architect, Edmund Blackett, at a cost of around $2 million.
Later stages include the reconstruction of facilities which house St Andrew’s Theological College and the administrative departments of the Archdiocese, with provision for the creation of the Library and Museum.
“The proposal is necessary not only to repair ageing and deteriorating infrastructure of the Archdiocese but will also improve functionality and ensure the Archdiocese’s facilities meet the needs of our community,” Nicholas Pappas, the Honorary Secretary and Trustee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia Consolidated Trust, said in a statement.
The proposal is designed by award-winning Greek Australian architect, Angelo Candalepas, who says the upgrade will ensure the site and its surrounding areas “will be here for many generations to come.”
Dr Philip Kariatlis, Sub-Dean of St Andrew’s Theological College said the new facilities would also enable the College to expand and enrich its curriculum to include associated disciplines such as counselling and courses in the Greek language.
College students say this expansion will improve their learning experience and ensure they are able to maintain their Greek language, traditions and faith.
“The expansion of the College will give me and students access to better facilities that will improve our learning experience including more modern classrooms and a library that support the needs of students in the 21st century,” student, Eleni Mavrolefteros, says.
“There are so many people including children and young people who will benefit from Greek language courses. The whole community will be able learn and experience the resources and artefacts of the library and museum.”
Another student, Dimitri Mavrommatis, agrees and says the upgrade will give students and the community “a more robust educational and spiritual experience whilst learning Theology.”
“With the proximity of the College chapel, daily communal worship of the student cohort along with the faculty, provides time for prayer and reflection but also importantly for fellowship in Christ, as one body supporting each other in the exercise of academia,” Mr Mavrommatis says.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia said he hoped the plans would inspire all Greek Australians to develop and maintain a deeper connection to the Church, as well as to our ancestral culture, language and traditions.
The Archdiocese premises would stand amongst Sydney’s most iconic buildings and attract all interested citizens and researchers, irrespective of faith and origin.