On Saturday 14 July 2018, organised by Father Avetis Hambardzumyan, an Episcopal Holy Mass was celebrated in the St Elias Antiochan Orthodox Church in Wollongong; the third largest city of New South Wales, after Sydney and Newcastle; the home of close to 15 Armenian families.
It is the objective of the Prelacy and the Diocesan mission to outreach all sparsely populated small communities and celebrate Holy Mass periodically; following Christ’s teaching in the parable of leaving the 99 sheep to save the one lost. Bringing their participation also were, Father Avetis, Deacons Vartan Elmasian, George Najarian, Nishan Basmajian; joined by Diocesan Council Chairman Sarkis Der Bedrossian and Vice Chairman Stepan Kerkyasharian, benefactor Avo Tevanian and a large number of Sydney community faithful. The St Elias Parish Priest, Fr Ifram Abbassi, who has visited Bishop Najarian several times over the last couple of years, showed respect and support for the success of the inaugural Mass to benefit the small Armenian community. After Holy Mass, Bishop Najarian delivered his sermon, imploring the faithful to gather and pay special attention to the younger generation, guiding them into Armenian discipline. A requiem service followed.
Light refreshments were served in the adjacent church hall, and opportunity to make acquaintances. At the Primate’s request, the tithes were gifted to the host church as a token of appreciation for the warm support. The members of the small Armenian community were clearly elated by the visit and promised to attend in larger numbers during future Mass services.