On Sunday, January 21, a significant milestone was reached for the Greek community in Port Macquarie as the Horton Street Chapel hosted its inaugural Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy on the NSW Mid-North Coast.
As previously reported in The Greek Herald, this development is thanks to the efforts of community activists Cathy Fotoulis Chantler and Costa Dantos as a result of their relentless advocacy to both their local community and to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
This coastal town, known for its scenic beauty and growing population, has become a home to over 250 Greek Orthodox residents, with more than 1000 across the mid-North Coast.
The need for a local spiritual home has been felt strongly, as the closest Greek Orthodox Church is a 2.5-hour drive away in Newcastle.
This occasion was made possible when Father George Liangas, the parish priest of St Nectarios Church in Burwood, Sydney, sought permission from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia to conduct the first Divine Liturgy during his stay in the area while visiting family.
The Liturgy took place at the historic Church on Horton Street, a former Methodist Church built in 1846, coincidentally the birth year of St Nectarios.
Over 70 attendees gathered, with Fr Liangas’s nieces and daughter serving as chanters, captivating the congregation with their voices. In his sermon, Fr George emphasized the importance of gratitude and a united community.
In attendance were, Member for Port Macquarie the Hon. Leslie Williams and Councillor Nik Lipovac, underscoring the unity within the local community.
Following the Divine Liturgy, a morning tea at the Town Green provided an opportunity for further connections and celebrations.
The morning tea was generously oragnised by Ms Fotoulis Chantler and her daughter. This was an opportunity to foster connections and celebrate with local members of the community of all backgrounds and faiths. The event undoubtedly marked a historic first for the Greeks of Port Macquarie.