NATION

Sister Melani Is First Fijian Orthodox Abbess

After three years of being a tonsure as a nun Sister Melani has now been enthroned as the first Orthodox Ab­bess or superior nun of Fiji and the first Indo-Fijian
25 Feb 2018 17:53
Sister Melani Is First Fijian Orthodox Abbess
Head Matron Sister Melani at St Tevita’s Home in Saweni, Lautoka, on February 14, 2018. Photo: Karalaini Tavi

After three years of being a tonsure as a nun Sister Melani has now been enthroned as the first Orthodox Ab­bess or superior nun of Fiji and the first Indo-Fijian

Her personal journey began on a day that seemed like any other in 2008.

“I was doing well for myself, achieving the goals I had at that time. Archbishop Amphilohios, at that time new to Fiji and speaking very little English, called into the shop where I was working,” she said.

“The Archbishop looked a little tired and I offered him a chair and a glass of water. Little did I know it then, but everything was about to change forever.

“This gentle, dignified man in his flowing black robes had crossed my path and I was about to embark on the journey of my life.”

Sister Melani then accepted his offer to vis­it his residence in Sabeto, now the church of Saint Paraskevi.

“I knew that I had found the truth, and I wanted to be baptised Orthodox and this duly took place in the baptismal font in Sabeto and I was given the name Mariam. I was among the first few to be baptised in Fiji and in fact, was the first Indo-Fijian to be baptised here,” Sister Melani said.

“Under the guidance of the Archbishop, and with the blessing of God, I was able to take the next step and to be tonsured a nun and was given a new name – Sister Melani.”

She said there were no Orthodox monas­teries in Fiji where she could learn monas­tic life so she moved to Greece.

“There were no Orthodox monasteries in Fiji which is a very particular way of life, and so the Archbishop took the decision to send myself and my fellow-nun to the island of Tinos in Greece,” Sister Melani said.

“My future, however, was never to be in Greece, but to return to our homeland and bring what we had learnt there to our grow­ing Orthodox community.”

On February 10 Sister Melani was installed to the Abbess of this monastery in Fiji. She looks after the children at the St Tevita’s Or­phanage in Lautoka.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: karalaini.tavi@fijisun.com.fj

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