For the first time in the history of correctional centres in Australia and all countries outside Egypt, the first Coptic Orthodox liturgy was celebrated on 12 January 2023 at Geoffrey Pearce Correctional Center in New South Wales, Australia, authorised by the department of correctional services. It was attended by 25 inmates. Copts celebrate Christmas on 7 January.
Fr Tadros al-Bakhoumi has been serving prison inmates in Australia for the past twenty-three years. He commenced serving Christian Orthodox inmates at all NSW correctional centres in 1999 and continued till now.
During the recent Mass, Fr Tadros was assisted by Fr John Sorial, in addition to three English-speaking deacons from the St Bakhomious parish at Kirrawee, NSW.
On its Facebook page, the Coptic Orthox Church posted: “It is a joyous occasion, after 23 years of ongoing service and building relationships and partnerships with the department of correctional service, that finally a full liturgy could be prayed within a correction centre in NSW.
“We thank the Lord for this great blessing that He bestowed upon us on that blessed day.
“The Lord has magnified His work with us for which we are glad” ( Psalm 126:3).”
Noteworthy is that Masses are celebrated in Egyptian prisons within the service provided to inmates by the Coptic Church and other Churches in Egypt, with authorisation of the various prison authorities.
16 January 2023