Deanery of New Zealand (Antiochian)

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The Deanery of New Zealand of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand is the way of administering the Antiochian Orthodox parishes, priests and faithful in New Zealand. Currently it is headed by the Dean of New Zealand, V Rev Archpriest Fr Jack Witbrock.


The first Orthodox church in New Zealand was consecrated in Dunedin for the Patriarchate of Antioch parish there in 1911.

The 2001 Census shows an Orthodox population in New Zealand of 9,588 (all Orthodox included).

In January 2003, the first New Zealand Clergy Conference of the Antiochian Archdiocese was chaired by Metropolitan Archbishop Paul (Saliba) of Australia and New Zealand. On the Saturday, Dr Ian Nield was ordained to the diaconate and Fr Dcn Michael Elder was ordained to the priesthood; on the Sunday, Fr Dcn Ian Nield was ordained to the priesthood and Fr Victor Didenco, previously canonically released from the Moldovan Orthodox Church, was received into the Antiochian Archdiocese and appointed head of mission in Christchurch.

In July 2003, in response to a growing Antiochian Orthodox presence in New Zealand, Met Abp Paul created the Deanery of New Zealand. At this point, there are six priests in the Deanery. Due to a request from the Multi-Nations Council, Invercargill, Fr Ilyan celebrates the Liturgy once a month in a borrowed Anglican church near the airport in Invercargill.

On March 25, 2005, there was a clergy symposium in New Zealand. On the next day, Max Athanasius Perkins was ordained to the diaconate to serve the Antiochian Mission in Christchurch. In May 2005, Met. Abp Paul tonsured Andrei Grenfell to the sub-diaconate. Sdn Andrei is studying externally at St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute, France, and is being prepared for the diaconate to assist Fr Ilyan at the Dunedin parish and the Invercargill mission. On December 4, John Hubbard was ordained to the diaconate to serve at the Antiochian Orthodox Church of St George, Auckland.

In May 2006, after the Sixth Clergy Conference of Australia and New Zealand (Antiochian) in Wollongong, Australia, Met Abp Paul presided over a New Zealand Deanery meeting regarding the future of the Orthodox Church in New Zealand. During Met Abp Paul's September visit to New Zealand, 2006, he ordained Dr Keith Morrison to the diaconate. Dcn Keith has been assigned to work with the three churches in the Christchurch area.

Priests and parishes

  • V. Rev. Fr Jack Witbrock, Dean. Rector of Sts Simon and Jude, Ashley, Rangiora.
  • V. Rev. Fr Ilyan Eades. Rector of St Michael, Dunedin.
  • Rev. Fr Victor Didenco. Head of the Antiochian Mission in Christchurch.
  • Rev. Fr George Bosauder. Rector of St George, Auckland.
  • Rev. Fr Michael Elder. Rector of Sts Gregory of Nyssa and Macrina, Diamond Harbour.
  • Rev. Dr Ian Nield. Rector of Saint George Wellington, Head of the Antiochian Mission in Lower Hutt, and clergy representative on the Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese.
  • Fr Dcn Max Athanasius Perkins. Deacon of the Antiochian Mission in Christchurch.
  • Fr Dcn John Hubbard. Deacon of St George, Auckland.
  • Fr Dcn Keith Morrison, PhD. Deacon for the three Antiochian churches around Christchurch.

Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines

Archdiocesan Organisations
Administrative Divisions
Deanery of New Zealand
Educational Institutions
Melbourne Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies
St. Paul's Theological Course of Studies