The Holy Monastery of Saint John (ABN 66 950 437 641) is a coenobitic monastic community for men (a monastic brotherhood that stresses community life) under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia. The Monastery is located in Forrestfield, a suburb at the outskirts of Perth where the picturesque Darling Range begins, a low escarpment running north-south to the east of the Swan Coastal Plain and Perth, Western Australia. Its idyllic location together with the large parcel of land it occupies both contribute to a monastic life of quietness and prayer, whereas its proximity to the metropolitan area of Perth allows for regular contact with the faithful and spiritual enrichment.
The Monastery was established late in the twentieth century under the omophorion of His Eminence the late Archbishop Stylianos of Australia, who in the early 2005 brought from the Holy Mount Athos of Greece two men to start the first Brotherhood of the Monastery: monk Father Evagrios Koutouzis and novice – at the time – Angelos Voultsidis. Father Evagrios was appointed the first Abbot of the Monastery and very quickly he was ordained the Very Reverend Archimandrite, Father Evagrios. Novice Angelos soon became monk Thalassios, whilst Greek-Australian Chris Souris also joined the Brotherhood, becoming monk Prodromos, in honour of Saint John the Forerunner.
In 2019, a few months after the ordination of new Archbishop of Australia Makarios, the latter appointed Father Evagrios Chancellor (Πρωτοσύγκελλος) of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, and on Christmas day in 2019, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios ordained Father Evagrios a Bishop, giving him the new name Emilianos of Meloa. This was in honour of Father Evagrios’ Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra, who played a pivotal role in his decision to follow monasticism and through it, seek union with Christ.
After the appointment of Bishop Emilianos as Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Father Thalassios was appointed the new Abbot of the Monastery by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, and was given the new name Father Ieronymos. In 2020, Father Ieronymos along with two novices from the Monastery were asked to re-establish the Holy Monastery of Saint George in Yellow Rock, NSW, Australia. After they moved there, Father Prodromos was appointed and is the current Abbot of the Monastery. He is the first Australian born to be appointed Abbot of the Monastery.
The initial plot of 10 acres (4.05 hectares) was donated to the Holy Archdiocese of Australia by the brothers Stavros, Michael and Iraklis-George Kakulas on the 15th of May 1974. In 2018, an adjacent property was purchased by another local family and was donated to the Holy Archdiocese of Australia for the purposes of expanding the Monastery grounds to serve its growing needs. This new parcel of land was amalgamated to the original 10 acre (4.05 hectares) lot, giving a total of 16 acres (6.60 hectares). This new amalgamated lot now comprises the Monastery grounds.
The Monastery was given its name, The Holy Monastery of Saint John (the Forerunner) after the Church of Saint John which is located on the island of Kastellorizo in Greece. This was done at the wish of the three founding brothers, who originated from this island and had a very close connection with this Church and Saint John the Forerunner. The main feast day for the Monastery is celebrated on the 24th of June, the birth date of Saint John the Forerunner.
His Grace, Bishop Iezekiel of Derbi, being then an Archimandrite and a fervent supporter of the idea of establishing a Holy Monastery in Perth, officiated the first outdoor Divine Liturgy on the grounds of the Monastery on the 11th of October 1976. A few years later, on Monday the 28th of January 1980, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, placed the foundation stone of the Church.
Seeing the importance of establishing an Orthodox Christian Monastery in Perth, fundraising began when a group of ladies organised lunches in the hall of the parish-community of Saints Constantine and Helen every first Tuesday of the month to raise funds for the building of the Church of Saint John. After the completion of the Church of Saint John the Forerunner, divine liturgies were held there on feast days and on other special occasions.
In January 1984, the supervision of the Monastery and its development was assigned to the Very Reverend Father George Litas, and a Church Committee was formed to assist him.
With the encouragement and blessing of his Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, and the great dedication of the local bishop, a Brotherhood was established at the Monastery on the 7th of January 2005. The Very Reverend Archimandrite, Father Evagrios Koutouzis, a monk from the Monastery of the Simonopetra on Mount Athos arrived to become the Abbot of the Monastery. He formed a Brotherhood with a young novice who was soon tonsured a monk and given the name Father Thalassios. They were soon joined by another young novice, who was also tonsured a monk on the 7th of January 2010, and was given the name Father Prodromos.
Since 2005, the Holy Monastery of St John offers weekly Divine Liturgies and other church services both in the Greek and English languages, courses in Byzantine Music and Iconography, Holy Confession and ministration of social work (chaplaincy).
In an effort to become self-sufficient as well as to generate an income, the Monastery has now established olive groves with an onsite olive press, bee hives, fruit trees, candle making facilities, chickens and a workshop for regular maintenance and other various arts and crafts. More recently, the Monastery established an online shop.
Over the years, the Monastery has had a number of benefactors, but a special mention must be made of Mr Nicholas Kakulas and his wife Anastasia and their family, who have been the greatest donors since the arrival of the Brotherhood. They have helped with many of the Monastery building developments and have funded a number of other projects to assist with the establishment, development and expansion of the Monastery.
In 2019, the Monastery was also blessed to have built the first Church in Australia named after Saint Paisios the Athonite, which will conduct all services in English. We would especially like to express our gratitude to Mr Nicholas Kakulas and his family for donating the funds to build the Church. We are eternally grateful!