“Bringing Orthodox young people together in Christ”
Australia is large. Even little old South Australia could fit half a dozen European countries inside its borders and our communities, towns and cities are spread wide. We don’t live in a 1700’s Greek village, nor a Russian, Assyrian, Ukrainian or Egyptian (etc. etc.) one for that matter. In Australia, we are a minority and finding other Orthodox youth is not as simple as walking next door or down the street.
Furthermore, we don’t live in a culture that has Christ woven into its fabric; to be Greek is to be Orthodox but to be Australian is to be… what?
When believers are spread thin, when the prevailing culture is antithetical to the Gospel and when serious, active efforts to engage youth with the church are not being made, is it any wonder that young people drift away from the Faith of the Apostles and never come back? Going to church because it’s ‘what you do’ doesn’t really cut it anymore.
So what can we do? What is it that stems the tide of secularism, that fills the heart with joy, that brings comfort in despondency and strength in adversity, that brings true communion and not just communication? Perhaps the real question is “Who is it?” The answer is Christ.
There is an abundance of ethnic and community groups from the various Orthodox jurisdictions such as dance groups, sports etc. They are good and they bring people together but our goal is not to be another social group, our goal is to bring people into communion with one another by first bringing them into communion with God. Saint Seraphim of Sarov said, “Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved” and it is our hope that in trying to keep our Lord at the heart of our lives and efforts we may be blessed to share a little of that light with our fellow Orthodox youth.
In the words of Stephen Christoforou and Christian Gonzales of Y2AM, we want a ministry that is “Christ centred and Kingdom oriented”.
With the paternal love and guidance of His Grace Bishop Nikandros of Doryleon and through the prayers of our patron, Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, may Saint Stephen’s Central Youth Committee be used by God to draw His children to Him.