Oliver Murray – North Shore Times – August 14, 2013
WHEN Father John Daskalakis came to Australia in 1963, the Greek Orthodox Church was just starting to establish itself in Sydney.
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 my college and my principal chose me and approached me about coming here,” Father Daskalakis said.
“I accepted, but I only knew of Australia from my geography class.”
He said the church and the Greek community faced challenges during the post-World War II immigration to Australia.
“There were a lot of new migrants settling and establishing themselves in Sydney,” he said.
“It was not easy for them, it was not easy for us. 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.
- The church, which covers an area from the Harbour Bridge to Palm Beach, has a parish community of about 4000 people
- The church’s committee organised a trip to the Holy Land in Jerusalem for Father Daskalakis next month for his 50th anniversary