Monday, 22 June 2009
St Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church, Sydenham
Located in the inner south of Sydney, Sydenham was a heavily industrialised suburb, with a traditional working class, and ethnically diverse population.
Then, when the controversial third runway was built at Sydney airport in 1992-94, just 2 kms distant, Sydenham, straight under the flight path, was dramatically affected.
152 houses were bought by the federal government, demolished, and turned into a park.
This church, known as the Tempe Park Methodist Church replaced a nearby older, smaller church in 1902. In 1968, following a petition to the Papal See in Cairo, the first Coptic Orthodox priest, Father Nematalla, arrived in Sydney and, with funds contributed by his congregation, purchased this church. It was reconsecrated as St Mary and St Mina's Coptic Orthodox Church, the first Coptic Church in Australia and the first owned by Coptic migrants outside of Egypt.
St Mary and St Mina's Coptic Orthodox Church was part of the aircraft-noise-affected land acquired by the Federal Government and given to Marrickville Council for community use. The heritage-listed building was not demolished but is no longer used as a church. Its future use is still to be determined.
The Coptic church was relocated at federal government cost in Bexley.
To find out more about Sydenham, click here.