About MOYA

Who is MOYA? By Marija Markovsky & Nicole Baksheev


MOYA, Macedonian Youth of Australia was established in 2006 with the blessing of His Eminence Bishop Petar Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Diocese of Australian and New Zealand. Father Gavril Abbott of the monastery of St Prohor Pchinski along with the support of local church youth, formed the group that is based at the monastery of St Prohor Pchinski in Melbourne.

Previously MOYA was known as the Sveta Petka Youth Group, a branch under the Macedonian Orthodox Church, representatives of the younger generation. The group started back in 1998 under the guidance of Father Tone Gulev. Religious meetings were conducted as St. Petka Church on Monday evenings along with occasional social events throughout the year. With the arrival of Father Gabriel in early 2006, Father Tone instructed some of the youth of St. Petka to relocate to the Monastery to offer support to the new Abbott. And so is the beginning of MOYA.

The many purposes of MOYA are to organize and attend spiritual journeys, socialize in activities and meet new people. However the main purpose is to enlighten the soul through religious education (R.E).

Weekly Wednesday meetings are held at the monastery and include an Akathist to the Most Holy Bogorodica. Commencing at 7pm followed by R.E, each week is a predetermined lecture that is organized and given by Father Gabriel. The topic is also translated in English for those not understanding the Macedonian language and emailed to all who have subscribed to the MOYA email list. At the end of each lecture there is an opportunity for anyone willing to ask questions on what was discussed. These R.E evenings are designed primarily for youth but are also open to any members of the general public.

Another aspect of MOYA is the church choir. The Divine Liturgy held every Sunday is performed in both English and Macedonian by Father Gabriel accompanied by the MOYA church choir. The Byzantine chant is adopted from monasteries in Macedonian.

People of all ages attend the service, which gives reason to believe that there is definitely an interest for religion among the youth of Australia.

MOYA sponsors a number of social and cultural events, some of which include: annual snow trips, a Christmas play, movie nights, day trips (religious and social), and heritage week. These events enable MOYA to identify themselves among the community whilst at the same time attracting youth that would like to be a part of the events. As a result, MOYA has grown from a few members to a significant number of people who both attend and more importantly, support the group.

MOYA is blessed and fortunate to have Father Gabriel as the first Macedonian Orthodox monastic in Australia. Together with his continual guidance and support, MOYA is certain to prosper in growth and become a well-known church group. All thanks be to God.