Father John Daskalakis celebrates 50 years of priesthood in Australia

PRIEST MARKS HALF-CENTURY IN AUSTRALIA

WHEN Father John Daskalakis came to Australia in 1963, the Greek Orthodox Church was just starting to establish itself in Sydney.

Picture: BRADEN FASTIER

Fr John celebrates 50 years of priesthood

Epiphany 1972, NSW. Photo courtesy: Fr John Daskalakis.

Father John Daskalakis celebrated his 50th year in Australia recently.During the next 50 years, Father Daskalakis has seen the Archangel Michael Church in Crows Nest being built and the Greek community on the north shore grow.

In latter years, the church set up a Greek language school and community hall in Crows Nest.

Father Daskalakis celebrated his 50 years in Australia recently by being presented with an honorary award from the church’s Archbishop of Australia Stylianos Harkianakis.

But the parish priest admits he knew little of Australia before arriving.

‘‘I passed college and my principal chose me and approached me about coming here,’’ Father Daskalakis said. ‘‘I only knew of Australia from my geography class.’’

He said the church and the Greek community faced challenges during the postWorld War II immigration to Australia.

‘‘It was not easy for them, it was not easy for us,’’ he said. ‘‘We had to start from scratch.’’

Father Daskalakis said the church faced new challenges in the 21st century, but a new school to train new priests would ensure it survived in Sydney.

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