Sunday, 23 March 2008

St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral

70 Wollongong Rd
This was previously a Methodist Church.

“Primitive Methodist services had been held in a small building in Arncliffe St since 1875. They were organised by a local resident, John Walker, an enthusiastic lay preacher, who later became a fulltime Salvation Army officer. Sunday School classes were conducted nearby in the home of Henry Nelson, but in 1880, these were transferred to the Municipal Council Chambers. The same year land was acquired in Wollongong Rd and a weatherboard structure erected on it.

“It was used from about 1882, but soon proved inadequate, and in 1894, a larger hall was completed facing Station St, In 1905 the original building was demolished and the current one with its imposing façade was erected in its place. It was opened in October 1907 and served the Methodist community for the next seventy years. " (Rathbone p 87)

In January 1882 a chamber organ was ordered from Hill & Son (job no. 1810) by William Angus, a well known amateur organist, of the Sydney carriage and coach building firm, Angus & Son, then in Castlereagh Street, Sydney. The organ was aquired by Arncliffe Methodist Church in 1940 and in 1979 it was moved to St John's Lutheran Church, Wollongong.

In 1977, the Methodist Church of Australasia, the Presbyterian Church of Australia and the Congregational Union formed a union to become the Uniting Church of Australia. Many church properties became surplus to requirements, which is what happened to this Methodist Church.

It changed ownership, and on 8 May 1980, His Holiness the Pontiff, Pope Abba Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark and the Coptic Church Worldwide, laid the foundation stone of St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral.

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