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Seven Martyrs of the Melanesian Brotherhood

On 24 April we commemorate the Seven Martyrs of the Melanesian Brotherhood, who died in 2003 on the remote Weathercoast of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. They lost their lives while on a mission of peace towards the end of the civil war in the Solomon Islands, known as the Ethnic Tension, that lasted from 1998 to 2003. The Melanesian Brotherhood is an Anglican Religious Order, founded in 1925 by Ini Kopuria, whose members take temporary vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience, usually for seven to ten years. After that Brothers are honourably released from their promises, and usually return home to leadership positions in the church and their local community. The Dean of the Cathedral, Fr Keith Joseph, first arrived in the Solomon Islands in 2004 as a member of the international peace keeping force (the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, or RAMSI). He worked part-time with the Melanesian Brotherhood, was admitted as a Companion of the Brotherhood in February 2005, and was ordained as a Deacon later that year. After completing his work with RAMSI he was ordained as a Priest and worked at the Bishop Patteson Theological College, which is next door to the Headquarters of the Brotherhood at Tabalia, on the north-west coast of Guadalcanal. The photograph of the Brother's graves was taken by Keith in 2004. During the Ethnic Tension the Brothers worked in various ways, with the other religious orders and Christian churches, towards peace. They rescued hostages, confiscated weapons with the power of prayer, and even camped in no-man's land between the warring factions. A very moving account of this work and the martyrdom is given by Fr Richard Carter, who was then Chaplain to the Brotherhood, in his book In Search of the Lost (Canterbury Press, 2006). The first Brother to die was Br Nathanial Sado, who went missing while on a mission to deliver a letter from the Archbishop of Melanesia (the late Sir Ellison Pogo) to the warlord Harold Keke. The letter was an offer by the Archbishop to mediate and bring the Tension to an end. After Br Nathanial went missing, various rumours about his fate circulated around the island of Guadalcanal, and six Brothers, led by the Assistant Head Brother, went in a small dinghy to the Weathercoast to find out what happened, and if necessary to bring his body back to Tabalia for burial. The six Brothers who went in search of the lost were Brothers Robin Lindsay, Francis Tofi, Alfred Hilly, Ini Paratabatu, Patteson Gatu and Tony Sirihi. Three of the Brothers were shot as they landed on 24th April 2003, and the other three were captured and tortured to death that night. But was their death in vain? The entire country was shocked by the murders, and it was an essential factor in the Government calling for outside assistance to end the civil disorder. It is a reminder to us that martyrdom is not just in the past, but it close to us in time and space - the island of Guadalcanal is far closer to Brisbane than we here in Darwin. Even more importantly, it shows to us a deep and abiding faith that went into darkness and evil, no matter the cost, and in the end triumphed. At Easter we celebrate the triumph of Christ over the darkness and evil of Good Friday, and as we remember and observe the martyrdom of the Seven Brothers we remember that death is not the end. At this time I remember all my friends in the Solomon Islands, as they recover from the ongoing effects of the Tension, and the more recent flooding. May God bless us all with resurrection hope and joy.n brothers graves  

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Holy Week at the Cathedral

Saturday 12 April 5.30 pm - Stations of the Cross   Palm Sunday 13 April 7.30 am - Eucharist 9.00 am - Blessing of Palms with Palm Process, followed by sung Eucharist 7.30 pm - The Darwin Chorale present The Jerusalem Passion (admission $32)   Holy Wednesday 16 April 7.30 am - Chrism Eucharist (Celebrant & Preacher - Bishop Clyde Wood) 5.30 pm - Lenten Study (Dean's Office) 7.00 pm - Tenebrae (from the Latin, for 'darkness' - a meditative service)   Maundy Thursday 17 April 7.00 pm - Holy Eucharist to commemorate the Institution of the Lord's Supper, with Foot Washing 8.00 pm - Vigil   Good Friday 18 April 9.00 am - Liturgy 12 noon - The Seven Words on the Cross   Holy Saturday 19 April 5.30 pm - Evening Prayer   Easter Sunday 20 April 6.00 am - Service of the Light and Solemn Eucharist (with incense) 9.00 am - Sung Eucharist  

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We pray for the Solomon Islands

Severe flooding is causing much death and destruction in the Solomon Islands, particularly on the island of Guadalcanal. The Dean, who lived in the Solomon Islands from 2004 to 2010 has been in contact with his friends and adopted family there, and it is clear that it is worse than the flooding of 2009 which killed 20 people and left over 10,000 people homeless and with their food and water supplied destroyed. The Anglican Church represents about 25% of the people on Guadalcanal and in Honiara. This weekend we will be praying for all our brothers and sisters in the Solomon Islands. The attached photographs, by Aloysio Porahiano Ma'ahanoa, show some of the affected areas around the Mataniko River which runs through the middle of Honiara.Chinatown after flash flooding  Mataniko River looking towards sea

General News

Temporary Closure of Cathedral Building

The Cathedral building is temporarily closed, from Tuesday 25th March to Friday 28th March, to allow for painting of the Verandah, Narthex and paths. The end result will be cleaner environs with a non-slip surface. The Cathedral and Diocesan Offices will not be affected by this temporary closure, though you might need to walk on the grass (rather than the paths) to access them. Work will be completed before the weekend and should not affect our weekend worship. Any queries, please contact the office or the Dean.

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Ash Wednesday Service

Tomorrow we commence our observance of Lent. Our Ash Wednesday service will commence at 6.30pm, following the last in our series on Practical Theology at 5.30pm.