Overview and History of the

Greek Orthodox Parish of St Andrew, Noarlunga

By the year 1982 the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia was well
established and flourishing in South Australia. This is evident from the plethora of vibrant
parishes which had been established and which comprised of enthusiastic, resourceful, hard-
working Greek migrants. These parishes were primarily created as a direct response to the
large influx of Greek migration which occurred between the 1950s and the 1970s. This wave of
migration was a result of the post Second World War economic recession and political
instability in Greece. Specifically the parishes which were created between 1959 - 1981 to cater
for this need in South Australia were the Communities and Parishes of: Prophet Elias,
Norwood (1959); Saint Spyridon, Unley (1959); Saint George, Thebarton (1959); The Nativity of
Christ, Port Adelaide (1960); Saint Anthony, Prospect (1967), Saint Demetrios, Berri (1967);
Saints Constantine and Helen, Renmark (1969); Holy Monastery of Saint Nectarios, Croydon
Park (1973) and the Parishes of: Saint Demetrios, Salisbury (1981) and Saint Panteleimon,
Glenelg (1981). The aforementioned Parishes and Communities mimicked the homeland of the
relatively new Greek-Australians. The communities and parishes provided the Greek-
Australians with what was considered to be the fundamentals of one's Hellenic identity,
namely faith, Greek language education and culture. At the same time these spiritual, cultural
and educational hubs became junctions for Greeks and Cypriots from many different parts of
Greece and Cyprus. This exchange of varying subtle cultural customs and linguistic differences
strengthened the Greek Orthodox community in South Australia. The early Parishes and
Communities took care of the spiritual and cultural needs of the post Second World War Greek
migrants; by the late 1960s there was a new wave of Parishes and Communities emerging as a
direct consequence of the rapidly growing progressive Greek-Australian community in South
Australia. Greek Orthodox faithful had now established their growing families and had moved
into the outer suburbs or to the Riverland. Parishes and Communities were set up to cater for
this need, specifically in the areas of Prospect, Berri, Renmark, Croydon Park. The church was
now administering not only to the first generation of Greek-Australians but also to the
emerging Second Generation Greek-Australians. This vibrant and diverse group included
many who were the first in their families to be formally educated and begin their careers as
doctors, lawyers, accountants and highly skilled workers in various professions. This group
began to marry, have children and establish their families. By the early 1980s Greek-
Australians had dispersed all over South Australia and were engaged in a vast amount of
professional and social circles in South Australia.

An important group of migrants that began to become integral members of the Greek
Orthodox Parishes and Communities in South Australia were those from Cyprus, especially
those who came over as refugees as a consequence of the 1974 Turkish invasion. As the Greek-
Cypriot community in South Australia became larger and further established so was its
participation and active involvement within the Communities and Parishes throughout South

By 1982 His Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis, the then Auxiliary Bishop in Adelaide, was well
aware of the growing Greek-Cypriot community and its valuable input and participation
within the Greek Orthodox Parishes and Communities in South Australia; as well as their
immense piety towards the Orthodox Church and her Saints. It is noted that many Cypriots
living in South Australia would make yearly pilgrimages to the Greek Orthodox Parish of St
Andrew, West Sunshine in Victoria. Together with the parishioners of West Sunshine, mostly
comprising of Cypriots, a celebration would prevail for Saint Andrew, who is one of the most
revered Saints in Cyprus.

Bishop Ezekiel also recognized that there were a small number of Greek Orthodox faithful
residing in the outer southern suburbs of Adelaide, Southern Vales and southern districts who
found it difficult to attend Church as they did not live in metropolitan Adelaide. This
concerned him greatly. He was also aware that Greeks resided and had businesses specifically
in the Reynella area. Corresponding with this, representatives of the Greek Orthodox people of
the southern suburbs and districts voiced an interest in establishing a parish. With these
considerations, Bishop Ezekiel deduced that there might be a need to create a parish in the
area. There was also an idea that in the foreseeable future there may be an increase of Greek
Orthodox faithful in the area so he set out to investigate the plausibility of creating a parish.
His intentions were twofold. Firstly, a reason was to find and establish a parish church at a
suitable location that will spiritually administer to the people of the southern suburbs and
districts. Secondly, to establish a Church named after Saint Andrew to service the large
Cypriot community in South Australia.

Bishop Ezekiel sought the assistance of Mr Richard (Constantinos) Harding a convert to the
Orthodox Faith, who resided in Christie Downs, to look into the possible purchasing of the
Morphett Vale Baptist Church. Mr Harding did some preliminary research and reported back
to Bishop Ezekiel. Together they inspected the site. After thoroughly surveying the site of the
Baptist Church and after much deliberation, they both concluded that the building required
large amounts of repairs and ongoing maintenance that would not be feasible for a small
parish. Bishop Ezekiel then gave Mr Harding the directive to find eight Orthodox Christians
from the southern suburbs and districts and form a committee. This group served the sole
purpose of forming a community, so that there could be a base community for the future fully
functioning Greek Orthodox Parish. Mr Harding and his Cypriot wife Stella tried to engage
Orthodox Christians of the area with this prospect but it was extremely challenging to find
people willing to commit to becoming members of this inaugural committee. Beyond finding
committee members, Mr and Mrs Harding raised awareness towards the prospect of having a
parish in the area by distributing flyers and door-knocking. It wasn't until they met Mr
George Mitropoulos, who was the president of the Southern District Hellenic Schools
Association at the time, that they finally felt they had made progress. The Greek Schools
enabled Mr and Mrs Harding to meet with parents. Some of these Greek Orthodox Christians
showed interest in joining the committee, and forming a parish. Shortly after, the founding
committee of the Parish of St Andrew, the first Called Apostle, was established. Its members
included Mr George Mitropoulos (President), Mr Robert Harding (Secretary and Treasurer),
Mr Con Zocrafos, Mr L. Mazis, Mr George Lambropoulos, Mr Kostas Capetanos, Mr Spiros
Korakianitis, Mr E. Hatzantonis and Mr Spiros Phillis. The Philoptohos members comprised of
Mrs Jean Zocrafos, (President) Mrs Georgia Mitropoulos, Mrs Stella Harding, Mrs Anna
Korakianitis, Mrs Mary Phillis and Mrs Kiki Capetanos. This committee worked very hard to
fundraise and to spread awareness. One of the first fundraising dances was held on Saturday
the 11th of June 1983 and was attended by His Grace Bishop Ezekiel, who blessed the banquet
and offered words of encouragement to the community.

At the same time, Bishop Ezekiel requested assistance in finding land for the establishment of
a church in the outer southern suburbs of Adelaide from Mr John A. Kiosoglous, the Archon
Ekdikon of the Ecumenical Throne. With the prospect of establishing a new parish, Bishop
Ezekiel took the opportunity to consider that this property could be different to those of the
Parishes and Communities already established in Adelaide. He envisaged a property that was
close to the sea-side and one that sat at an elevated point. With these geographical
components the Greek-Australians that this parish would tend to could remember the
churches of their forefathers in Greece. With this in mind, Mr Kiosoglous entered into
discussions with the then State Minister of Housing and Construction, Mr Terrence
Hemmings MP, and the then head of the South Australian Housing Trust, Mr Paul Edwards,
concerning acquiring land in the Noarlunga area. The desired land needed to be appropriate
for the building of an Orthodox Church, as well as facilities for the aged. These discussions
represented a partnership with the State Government of the time that recognized the benefit of
assisting communities in providing aged care facilities. The land the church building currently
resides on, was identified, agreed to and purchased by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of
Australia. A portion of land was immediately made available for the building of the church;
the balance land was entrusted by the Archdiocese into a newly established board to
administer the facilities of St Basil's Homes for the Aged in South Australia (Vasiliada); that
land now includes the flagship buildings of St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in South Australia
known as Aegean Village. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia was the very first and
only community in Australia to partner with a State Government to build an Aged Care
facility. The Saint Basil's Homes for the Aged in South Australia became an incorporated
body in 1984.

On Sunday the 5th of February 1984 His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, His Grace Bishop
Ezekiel, Mr Konstantinos Karabetsis the then Consul-General of Greece in South Australia,
and hundreds of faithful attended a dinner organised by the Brotherhood of Apostle Andrew in
the St Spyridon Parish Hall in Unley. The Brotherhood of Apostle Andrew was a kind of
fundraising arm to the St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College in Sydney. At this
fundraising function Bishop Ezekiel was invited by Archbishop Stylianos to announce to all
those present the unique news about the landmark partnership between the Holy Archdiocese
of Australia and the South Australian Government. Many people present were in awe and
joyous with the prospect of an aged care facility and church at Noarlunga. The next day
Archbishop Stylianos accompanied by Bishop Ezekiel and all the Greek Orthodox clergy of
South Australia visited the Noarlunga Council. At this meeting a formal joint declaration was
made by Archbishop Stylianos and the Minister of Housing Mr Terrence Hemmings MP
which outlined the future building of a large scale aged care facilities project named "Aegean
Village" that would include a nursing home, independent living units and a church. This
declaration was made in the presence of the media who were attracted by the very unique
nature of this partnership. Archbishop Stylianos and Minister Hemmings both praised the
efforts and hard work of Bishop Ezekiel, Mr John Kiosoglous and Mr Basil Taliangis, in
negotiating this landmark agreement. With all this in place, action was taken to ensure that
the church and the aged care facilities became a reality.

During this early period much hard work took place in order to set up a strong community
base whose primary role was to raise money through fundraisers. Fundraisers included
afternoon teas, dances and raffles to form the initial resources that the Parish required and for
the prospective building of the church. Many joint meetings were held between the Board of
St Basil's Homes for the Aged in South Australia and the Parish Committee which discussed
the progress and details of the building of the church and the independent living units. All
these efforts were carried out by a very dedicated and courageous group of men and women
who with the help of God and with the direction of the Holy Archdiocese were able to finally
organise, witness and experience the first ever service conducted on the building site of the
Church. On Thursday evening the 29th of November 1984, the then Bishop Paul of
Christianoupolis (who had been moved to Adelaide to replace Bishop Ezekiel who was
moved to Melbourne), assisted by the Greek Orthodox clergy of South Australia, presided
over the Great Vespers for the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle. This service was
conducted under a tent which was set up at the site of the future church building. A few days
later, on Sunday the 2nd of December 1984 and again in the same tent, the Divine Liturgy and
Ground-Breaking Ceremony were conducted by the Very Reverend Father Gervasios
Following the inaugural Divine Liturgy and Ground-Breaking Ceremony Father Gervasios
continued to administer spiritually to the parishioners and to hold services in the Drama Room
of Christies Beach High School. Later on, Reverend Father Nicholas Pavlou also held services
for the parishioners and attended to their spiritual needs. During this time the Parish was kept
together by the bond which was forming between the parishioners. A real sense of fellowship
and church was beginning to envelop. The pastoral care administered by Fathers Gervasios
and Nicholas assisted greatly to the strengthening of this bond. Another aspect that assisted
the strengthening of the community was the interactions parents and children alike would
have surrounding the Greek School. With their resolute goals in mind, the inaugural
Committee, Philoptohos and volunteers worked tirelessly. This subsequently paved the way
for the formal phase of the Parish's life.

In 1986 the Greek Orthodox Parish of St Andrew, Noarlunga was formally established. The
Adelaide born Reverend Father John Psalios, a graduate of Theology from the University of
Athens, was the first formally appointed priest of the Parish. Father John, the son of the Very
Reverend Father Kyriacos and Presvitera Eleni Psalios, had been ordained to the holy
priesthood on the 8th of September 1985. Father Kyriacos Psalios, was Cypriot born and a
pivotal Greek Orthodox Priest of Adelaide. During Father John’s appointment, Father Kyriacos
served as the priest of the Greek Orthodox Parish and Community of St Spyridon, Unley.

The parishioners at Noarlunga were very pleased with the appointment of Father John because
this gave them more hope of moving forward as they now had a member of the clergy who
was their employed advocate. Despite this advocacy, this was a challenging time in mostly two
ways. Firstly, there were numerous complex demands because of the construction of the
Church. Secondly there was a need to serve, as well as educate, a new and emerging
parishioner base. However, in recent times many parishioners of that original era have
reflected on the warmth and sense of community they felt during this period. Whilst the
church was being built, the faithful continued to gather in the Christies Beach High School
Drama Room where Divine Liturgies and gatherings were held, using office partitions as altar

On Sunday December the 7th 1986 many Orthodox Christians from across South Australia,
together with distinguished guests, witnessed His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos lay down
the foundation stone of the church building. Distinguished guests from that day included the
Premier of South Australia Mr John Bannon, Ministers Hemmings and Hurford, the Mayor Mr
Gilbert and other representatives of the State and Local Governments. This historic day turned
out to be more eventful than anticipated. In preparation for the Divine Liturgy and Foundation
Stone Ceremony, the committee members and volunteers had erected on the property an
enormous marquee where the Divine Liturgy and Foundation Stone Ceremony were to be
held. During the early hours of the morning, a storm descended upon the area and a strong
gale dislodged the tent from the ground and displaced it to the other end of the property.
Tables, chairs, Liturgical furniture and much more were scattered all over the property.
Thankfully members of the St Basil's Homes' board, parishioners and volunteers from across
Adelaide came and helped gather the items and set them up in the Christies Beach High
School Hall. At the end of the Ceremony Archbishop Stylianos blessed and opened the newly
built Independent Living Units of the Vasiliada. Following the official opening, students of the
Greek Schools performed Greek dances and recited poems for the distinguished guests and all
people present.

As time went by parishioners were witnessing their dream materialize. There were many
hardships in the beginning, however by the Grace of God the Parish managed to overcome
obstacles because parishioners were making many sacrifices and working for a common cause.
Impressively, eleven months after Father John had been appointed Parish Priest, the church
building was completed. On the 25th of October 1987 His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos
conducted the Door-Opening (Thyranixia) and very first Divine Liturgy held inside the new
Church. Just over a month later, His Eminence returned for the 29th and 30th of November and
presided at the Great Vespers, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and blessed the festal luncheon
for the Feast Day of Saint Andrew.

The years following were difficult, but the small Parish through much hard-work was able to
continue its fundraising mission which helped to furnish the interior of the Church. The
fundraising efforts made the following fundamentals a reality: iconostasis, right hand
chanters’ box, icons of the iconostasis, icons for the walls by the local iconographer Mr John
Kalentzis, chandeliers, pews and carpet. Many Church liturgical items such as the Gospel,
baptismal font, Church Banners (Lavara), processional cross and candles, altar-boy vestments,
liturgical books and other items were acquired within this time also. With God's help all these
items and Church works were donated by the hardworking people of the Noarlunga Parish.
One of the bigger projects that was carried out in this period was the building of the bell tower
in 1989. In order to save money the parishioners and friends in the building industry built the
bell tower themselves, over two weekends. After it was completed, there was a barbecue lunch
for all the volunteers. The Elia family donated the bell tower in memory of their mother Milia.
Additionally, just after this time, the Parish also acquired the holy icon of Panagia Malevi from
Mrs Maria Kourberlis. This donation started a tradition where the icon is carried in procession
around the church on the Sunday after the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. As time progressed
the wider South Australian Greek Orthodox community was becoming aware of the Parish of
St Andrew. By the late 1980s and early 1990s not only were the Cypriot Orthodox faithful
attending the parish of their much venerated Saint, but Orthodox people from all over the
State began to cram the church, especially on the feast days.
Father John and his wife Presvytera Eleni were a genuine blessing for the Parish of St Andrew.
At this particular stage of the Parish's development it required a young bilingual priest and
Presvytera with the enthusiasm and endurance to be able to manage a complex and unique
parish because of its evolving parishioner base and unusual position within the community.
Father John and Presvytera Eleni had three children Kyriacos, Michael and Panayioti whilst at
the Parish. They were able to relate to the younger people in particular young families with
children. This assisted greatly in attracting young families to the Parish and further enhanced
the sense of Orthodox family, community and love within the emerging parish. Father John
continued as the Parish Priest for eight years.

There was no permanent Parish Priest between the years of 1994 and 1998. Various priests who
did serve include Reverend Father Dimitrios Moraitis, Reverend Father Nicholas Pavlou,
Reverend Father Charalambos Stratos and Reverend Father Peter Photakis, however many
other members of the clergy also responded to the needs of the Parish during this time.

On Sunday the 10th of November 1996 as part of the Patriarchal Visit to Australia, His All-
Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew blessed and officially opened the St Basil's
Homes (SA) Aegean Village Aged Care Complex. This was a landmark event and Noarlunga
once again filled with hundreds of Orthodox Faithful who came to witness this historic
occasion. His All-Holiness also entered into the Parish of St Andrew and venerated the Holy
Altar where the dismissal Hymn of Saint Andrew the First-Called Apostle was chanted.

Overall, this period proved to be most difficult for the Parish and Greek School mainly because
it lacked an appointed Parish Priest. Despite this instability, the Parish did continue to operate
through the administrative efforts of the long serving president Mr Nikolaos Dimopoulos and
his committee. During these years, people continued to flock to the feast day celebrations from
all over the state. In 1997 the icon of Saint Dionysios along with a pair of the Saint's slippers
were brought over from Zakynthos. The icon was donated to the Parish by Mr Charalambos
Vithoulkas. From this time forth the feast day of Saint Dionysios was also celebrated, initially
on the Sunday after the 17th of December (Saint’s Repose) but later it was celebrated on
the Sunday after the 24th of August (Transferring of the Saint’s relics). These feast days also
began to attract Greek Orthodox faithful from Zakynthos.

In 1998 Reverend Father Konstantinos Skoumbourdis was appointed the new Parish Priest and
remained for fourteen years. Father Konstantinos was originally from Sydney and a proud
graduate of Saint Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College. Father Konstantinos,
Presvytera Sophie and their two children Thalia and Eleni injected new energy and enthusiasm
into the Parish. Father Konstantinos and his Presvytera worked tirelessly to grow the Parish’s
member base. They were indeed successful. With this family centred approach, other families
felt comfortable at the Parish. By 2001 the Parish was home to many young families who began
to attend church services regularly knowing that they would see like-minded people and feel a
sense of belonging. This helped to increase the Parish volunteer base and saw the introduction
of younger members into the Parish Committee and Philoptohos.

The hard work and determination of the community during this time under the spiritual
guidance of Father Konstantinos was exemplary. A successful initiative that also helped
parishioners bond was the inclusion of the focused and specific Christian book and craft
shelves positioned in the narthex. Overall, this time of the Parish’s history was marked by a
large amount of successful fundraises for various necessities. Some of the necessities the
growing Parish worked towards included the installation of a secure perimeter fence for the
property; the development of a practical concrete area between the Church and the amenities
as well as the laying of the concrete footpaths around the church building; the installation of a
much needed kitchen, washing area and pantry; the upgrade of the exhaust and other
elements of the narthex; installation of storage cupboards and office furnishings for the Parish
Office; the acquisition of a photocopier and PC; the painting of the Church; significant cleaning
of the walls; installation of the new sound system; the acquisition of new liturgical items; the
refurbishment of the sanctuary with a larger altar table, bookcases and shelving. All of this,
and more which are not included, were made possible by the fundraising and generous
donations of the parishioners.

As well as the physical aspects of development, during this time there was a strong emphasis
on the youth; notwithstanding that the spiritual needs of the older parishioners were at the
same time taken care of. Specifically, for the youth Father Konstantinos was able to implement
many initiatives. These activities included annual Christmas Carols and caroling around Greek
Orthodox homes of the southern suburbs and districts; the making of palm crosses and other
palm creations; a shared soup supper after the Resurrection Service; regular fellowship; Souvla
Sundays; movie and pizza nights; games nights; laser skirmish and paintball outings; quiz
nights; and the team activities of indoor-soccer and basketball. As well as these activities,
Greek Dancing continued to be an important element of youth education and was popular
amongst the children and their parents.

In 2011 the Parish celebrated twenty-five years since its establishment. A celebratory Dinner
Dance held at the Messinian Hall marked this special occasion and was attended by many
Orthodox faithful from across the state.

The current Parish Priest the reverend Father Michael Psaromatis was appointed to the Parish
of St Andrew in 2012. The change occurred because Father Konstantinos was appointed as the
second priest at the Community and Parish of St George, Thebarton and Western Suburbs.
Father Michael holds university degrees in Theology and Modern Greek from Flinders
University, South Australia. He is the son of Father Stavros and Presvytera Kyriaki Psaromatis.
Father Stavros is the long serving Parish Priest of the Community and Parish of Prophet Elias,
Norwood and Eastern Suburbs. Father Michael together with Presvytera Stavroula were very
well received by the Parish and strive to continue to do God's work in an ever changing
community. In recent times, His Grace Bishop Nikandros of Dorylaeon has presided over
many of the significant feast days of the Saints whose icons are at the Church, as well as Palm
Sunday and other Holy Week Services. A change for the Parish has been how the annual
Christmas service has started late in the evening on Christmas eve and finished early
Christmas morning. This has been relatively popular and seems to serve the parishioners well,
at this stage of the Parish’s history. Sunday School and fellowship has been consolidated, and
under the spiritual guidance of Father Michael it is held by younger members of the Parish.
Among some of the work which has taken place at the Parish over the last four years was the
significant maintenance of the existing perimeter fence and gates. Also general upgrades and
maintenance programs have begun for the church building. Very recently the Parish received a
grant from the Federal Government with regards to building a much needed storage shed
which has just been erected.

With the prospect of the Parish’s thirtieth year, the committee had decided to plan significant
events for the celebration of this milestone. A successful event which launched the thirtieth
year included the ambitious hosting of a Greek style festival called Paniyiri Down South. The
outdoor festival was coupled with the already established Saint Neophytos day procession and
luncheon, which is held annually on the Sunday after the Saint’s January feast day. The Saint
Neophytos procession includes the large icon of the Saint which was donated by Mr
Neophetos Evgeniou in 1993. The Paniyiri was a success and had commendable food, shelter,
tables, chairs and live music for all. The event was supported by the young and old from all
over Adelaide as well as well as the Noarlunga area. Members who had been part of the
Parish’s first days remembered how all those years ago they too had celebrated and shared
food, music and laughter under tents. Many commented that in-part celebrations like this were
the vision that had started this parish so long ago. They also commented that for them festivals
that are held in metropolitan Adelaide are inaccessible and this event once again gave them an
opportunity to be part of a summer Greek celebration. Overall, the day was a testament to the
idea that even at this stage of the Parish’s history there are new and different ways of serving
the community. The event took place once again this year. It was well attended yet again.

Another event which took place for the Parish’s thirtieth anniversary year was the formal dinner
banquet held on the 25th of June 2016. The event was held at the Cyprus Community Centre of
South Australia and in some ways is an acknowledgement to all those Cypriots who have
supported the establishment of the Parish of St Andrew, Noarlunga. The banquet was
attended by His Grace Bishop Nikandros of Dorylaeon; Mr Andreas-Konstantinos Gouras, the
Consul General of Greece in Adelaide; the State Treasurer Hon. Mr Tom Koutsantonis MP,
Representing the Premier of South Australia; the State member for Davenport Mr Duluk MP,
representing the State leader of the Liberal Party of South Australia; the Archon Ekdikon of the
Ecumenical Throne Mr John A. Kiosogolous and Presidents and representatives from most
Parishes and Communities in South Australia.

Ultimately, the Parish continues to maintain the ethic of its founding members as well as
those who have been steadfast in their support over the last three decades. Now, what were
the little infant parishioners, the ones who were born and even baptised during the early
years, are taking over key roles within the running of the Parish. With this we see the impact
this Parish has had on the entire lives of one generation. With love, determination, dedication
and commitment, this parish has administered and provided for the Greek Orthodox
community of the outer southern suburbs for over thirty years. Leaders, volunteers and all
members of the Parish are to be commended for their perseverance and countless
achievements over the last three decades, and a small testament to their efforts is in the
dedication of the 30 year commemorative book which was published.

This Parish has formed a true community – a place where people care for one another, where
they generously give and receive, and where they rejoice in their shared faith and values.

In the right environment and with God's blessings, wisdom and guidance through the
intercessions of Saint Andrew, the Parish will grow in the future and it is in the hands of the
youth of today to be able to carry it through. A long term ambition of the Parish has been the
prospective building of a community centre to cater for the various community activities and
functions that are currently held. The process to be able to realize such an ambitious goal has
begun. The next few years will be exciting times as this blessed seaside parish, which was the
dream of so many, navigates its voyage beyond its formative years.