St Mary & St Merkorious Coptic Orthodox Church was established in 1987, renting out an Anglican Church Building in Burwood. Masses were prayed only on Saturday mornings, and Sunday School took place that evening with one servant and seven children ranging from the ages of 3 to 14. A fund raising cruise in 1989 saw a vote being taken and the Patron Saints, Mary & Philopateer Merkorious Abu Sefein being chosen.
From January 1988 to June the same year, the church was located in the Uniting Church building in Concord West. It wasn’t until later that year that the church bought a small old Uniting Church in Rhodes which had the potential of growing into surrounding areas to be home for our steadily growing Coptic Community.
HH Late Pope Shenouda sent Fr Bishoy Yassa, who arrived on the 9th September 1989 to serve as the parish priest. It was the continual growth of the church under Fr Bishoy’s guidance that led to the requirement of a second priest, Fr Youhanna Bestawros, who was ordained in 1993. Both their super human efforts and their growing services led to a cry for a priest dedicated to the services of the church’s youth. In 2002, HG Bishop Daniel was guided by the Holy Spirit to relocate Fr Mikhail Mikhail‘s service to our humble church. His dynamic and loving service bore incredible fruit, and continues to, even after his relocation away from our parish in 2008. However, on the 28th of October 2008, Fr Sharobim Sharobim arrived at our parish with his kind and cheerful personality. He is very active in the service for the youth, creating many opportunities for them to excel in a variety of fields such as sport, church hymns and utilising their personal talents in the arts to benefit the church. The Lord added further blessings on our parish by bringing us Fr Zosima el Antony on Lazarus Saturday the 7th of April 2012. He arrived at our parish bringing with him the pearls of our church traditions from St. Anthony’s monastery in Egypt. His service was remarkable here in Sydney and his reputation extended beyond Australia. He was ordained by HH Pope Tawadros II on the 10th of March 2013 to be the Bishop of Atfeeh. The Lord continues to add further blessings on our parish by the ordination of Fr Alexander Aziz who was one of our very own youth on the 17th of January 2015 as a general priest. Fr Alexander finished the 40 days at the monastery and was appointed by HG Bishop Daniel to serve at our parish, so he arrived on 27 February 2015 brining with him his loving and energetic personality and strong knowledge of our Orthodox theology.
Today, the church has developed into one of the largest Coptic Orthodox communities in the Sydney Diocese. We pray that the church will continue to build the Kingdom of God on earth and will prolong its services for many years.
To read more about our Coptic Orthodox Christian faith, please click here.
To view our parish photos, please click here.