Orthodox faith lured John to Greek church

Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Bunbury resident John Sullivan is the first Australian-born, non Greek to be ordained a deacon in Western Australia for the Greek Orthodox church.
Camera IconBunbury resident John Sullivan is the first Australian-born, non Greek to be ordained a deacon in Western Australia for the Greek Orthodox church. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

Having worked as a police officer and fuel tanker driver, Bunbury resident Fr John Sullivan sees himself as a typical blue collar South West man.

Father John Sullivan was first introduced to the Orthodox Church in February 2011.

Nine years later the Geraldton born Deacon has become the first convert to the Greek Orthodox Church in WA to be ordained.

“Spending 30 years as a member of a different church, I had undertaken an extensive amount of research looking for the original Church that Jesus built. This eventually brought me here to Orthodoxy,” he said.

“I became quite involved in the Orthodox Faith and the Church was eventually approached by Perth priest, Father Emmanuel Stamatiou about me becoming a priest.”

Fr John said the support he had received from his family has been monumental.

“Going into this was not easy for my family, it was a big thing and I never would have thought I would be considered for the priesthood,” he said.

“My wife also chose to become Orthodox and was baptised in a stream in the Greek village Lia and we then chose to get married in the Orthodox Church, although we were already married for 30 years.

“Initially our children found the ancient Christian ways of worship to be confronting, but they have since been very supportive.”

At the beginning of February Fr John was ordained a Deacon by His Eminence, Archbishop Makarios of Australia in Perth in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation (Evangelismos).

“With the blessing from His Eminence, Archbishop Makarios, I may be appointed the parish priest of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, here in Bunbury in the near future, God willing.”

“If you see me around in my ancient Christian robes, feel free to have a yarn or give me a high five.”

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