Michael Shehadie

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The Very Reverend Father Michael Shehadie was the rector of St George Antiochian Orthodox Church from 1934-1951.

Michael Shehadie was born in Lebanon in 1895, the second child of Fr Nicholas and Khouriye Alexandra Shehadie. Growing up there, he studied at Balamand, Lebanon, and then in Russia; however, his wife Hannah did not want Michael to be ordained at that time. Michael chose to become a chemist/herbalist.

He arrived in Sydney, Australia in 1925 with his wife Hannah and his two daughters Alexandra and Paulette. Michael and Hannah had two more children, Nicholas and George, during this time.

After the repose of his father in 1934, however, he accepted ordination to the priesthood and became rector of the Church of St George. After his ordination, he had one further child, Margaret.

It was during the rectorship of Fr Michael that the government lease expired and the land was reclaimed to build housing estates. Fr Michael worked closely with the Australian Government to find a new site and, after some setbacks, they were granted land at the corner of Walker and Cooper Sts, Redfern, where the church - now cathedral - stands on today.

Fr Michael Shehadie worked on the church, but only lived to see it approved, not built - in 1951 he reposed suddenly. The church was built in 1953.