18/07/2008 4:00:00 AM
In the Old Testament, the name Seraphim is used to refer to the highest ranking angel.
Gunning man Seraphim Slade was baptised a Christian. Upon leaving the Navy as a young man, Mr Slade decided he was looking for spirituality in his life.
He spent a year researching the world religions and finally decided upon joining the Russian Orthodox Church. Mr Slade has been a member of the Church for 23 years and on Monday July 7 he was ordained a Deacon – the first Indigenous Deacon in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Mr Slade, who hosts a regular program on Yass FM called Kori Korner, has discovered remarkable similarities between the Orthodox beliefs and his traditional Indigenous spirituality. This deep connection was one of the motivating reasons for his decision to become a follower of the Russian Orthodox faith.
“It is the closest Christian religion where you can inter-relate traditional Aboriginal spirituality with orthodoxy. It is so compatible with traditional Indigenous spirituality.”
“The more I delve into it the closer I find Orthodox spirituality an extension of traditional Indigenous spirituality.”
Mr Slade describes his role of Deacon as the “Priest’s Helper” in that he assists the Priest in serving the altar. Personally, his faith mission is to help his Indigenous brothers and sisters; a mission that was strengthened by Kevin Rudd’s Apology.
“My personal hope is to help my people lift themselves above the previous problems of the past and the current problems we are having now…
“…I realised when Kevin Rudd said sorry that it allowed people to say ‘we forget’. It lifted a great weight off the Indigenous population and I saw that healing. I realised the spiritual side of life also needs to be worked out.”
Mr Slade said the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church (similar to a Cardinal) authorised him to concentrate on helping Indigenous people in Australia. A short time later, the Metropolitan sent Mr Slade an email asking him to become a Deacon of the Church.
Mr Slade had served as a Sub-Deacon for 12 years prior and unlike many of those who are bestowed with Holy Orders he did not study at a seminary but had ‘on the job training.’
Mr Slade was ordained on Monday July 7 at St John the Baptist, a Russian Orthodox Church in Canberra. It was the first time a Deacon had been ordained at St John the Baptist and the first time an Indigenous Deacon had been ordained in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church.
With his wife Helen, Mr Slade travels to Canberra on a regular basis where he serves the altar, a job he does without speaking a word of the Russian language.
“I can read Slavonic enough to understand what is going on. Ninety per cent of services I can follow without needing an English service book but I can’t speak Slavonic – I do my serving in English,” Mr Slade said.
He juggles his commitments to the Church with his hectic work schedule, which involves frequent trips across the country as the Radio Director for the Australian Indigenous Communications Association.
Mr Slade said his strategic plan for life has been thrown out the window. “I have only just realised that it is not about what I want. Is about what God wants.”