(RFP Australia) - The Coptic Orthodox Church will launch the Archangel Michael Monastery for Nuns in Melbourne on Saturday 14th March 2015. Led by returning Australian nuns Mother Antonia and Mother Nardin from Egypt, the Monastery is housed within newly renovated premises at the Diocese of Melbourne headquarters in Donvale. It offers weekend retreats where women can learn about their faith and spirituality and experience the blessing of monastic life.
His Grace Bishop Suriel, Head of the Diocese of Melbourne and Affiliated Regions, and Bishop and Abbot of the monastery, made the announcement on the 15th anniversary as the spiritual leader of the Copts in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT, New Zealand and Fiji.
“This new project for our community will be a source of joy and comfort to many. It is my humble gift to the clergy and congregation to announce this important spiritual monastery to serve females, young women in particular, and provide excellent role models in these two nuns,” Bishop Suriel said.
Mother Antonia and Mother Nardin left their homes in Australia to become brides of Christ, since there were no Coptic Orthodox monasteries for nuns outside of Egypt. In 1996, Mother Nardin entered the Monastery of Saint Demiana, under the auspices of His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy, while Mother Antonia joined in 2002.
“It can be difficult for a monastic aspirant to leave her family but this new Monastery in Melbourne allows young women in Australia to experience this way of life without having to travel across the world,” said Mother Antonia.
The Monastery will be a place where females aged 13 and up will attend midnight praises, assist the nuns with their work and gain vital spiritual insight for their own daily lives. Prayers and midnight praises will take place each day in English, as well as the traditional Coptic language. Liturgies will also prayed in English, Coptic and, occasionally, Arabic.
“Monasticism was established at the beginning of the fourth century in Egypt by the great Saint Antony and, decades later, it spread to the west. Monasticism is one of the Coptic Church’s greatest legacies to the world, and now Melbourne will become a part of this history,” said Mother Nardin. “It is a beautiful way of life that is conducive for developing a spiritual life and relationship with God, so we look forward to sharing monasticism with Australian Coptic women.”
Photo opportunities will be available on Saturday March 14th during the Official Opening at 11am at 88-154 Park Road, Donvale. Women only are permitted in the Archangel Michael Monastery Church but live streaming of the event will take place in the St Athanasius Church, also at the Diocese in Donvale.