Researcher Dr Dimitrios Varvaritis is set to present a seminar on the published writings of one of Australia’s first Greek leaders, Orthodox priest Reverend Seraphim Phocas.

Born in the mid-19th century in Madytos (Eceabat), Gallipoli peninsula, Reverend Phocas received his training in Theology in Jerusalem and subsequently served as a priest in the Patriarchate of Alexandria before venturing to Australia.

During his life, he penned books, articles and reports in Greek scholarly journals, which to this day remain largely unstudied. However, an examination of this body of work reveals a profound commitment, on the part of the Reverend, to Orthodox tradition and indeed a particular strand of sectarianism in his thought.

This seminar, taking place at the Greek Centre, will present and critically examine these writings while arguing that they must be seen within a critical juncture of a number of broad historical factors affecting both Orthodox Christianity and Australian colonial society at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

These factors include the continuous exchanges, chiefly at a high clerical level, between Protestant Anglicans and Orthodox Christians; the permanent settlement of Orthodox Christians in the various Australian colonies; and finally, the continued sectarian rivalries and cleavages within Australian colonial society.

Currently an independent researcher, Dr Varvaritis has contributed to the edited volume Sephardi Lives: A documentary history 1700-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014) and has co-authored, together with Professor Ioanna Sapfo Pepelasis, an article that will appear in the Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business.

Educated in Australia and Britain, he holds a Bachelors degree in Law from the University of Sydney and an MA in History from the London School of Economics; and was awarded his doctorate in History from Kings College London.

His main area of research concerns the political and economic history of Modern Greece and the wider eastern Mediterranean region, and for the academic year of 2016-2017 he will be a Research Fellow at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies.

The seminar will take place on Thursday 21 July at the Greek Centre (Mezzanine, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, VIC) at 7.00pm. Attendance is free.

* During the course of the year considerable expenses are incurred in staging the seminars. In order to mitigate these costs individuals or organisations are invited to donate against a lecture of their choice. You too can donate for one or more seminars and (optionally) let your name or brand be known as a patron of culture to our members, visitors and followers, as well as the broader artistic and cultural community of Melbourne. For more information, email or call (03) 9662 2722.