T he law term commenced this year on Monday 3 February, and as always, was marked by religious ceremonies participated in by the leaders and congregations of the various faith communities, the judiciary and the legal profession.
Bar News sent your devoutly agnostic correspondent to record most of the proceedings. No conflict of interest need be declared.
The Catholic (Sydney) Red Mass was held at 9.00am on 3 February, at St Mary’s Cathedral. It was organised by the St Thomas More Society, and presided over by the Most Reverend Richard Umbers, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney. The Red Mass traces its origins to ceremonies first held in Paris in 1245, and in London in 1310. A Red Mass was first conducted in Sydney at St Mary’s in 1931.
The Anglican ceremony was held at Sydney’s oldest Church, St James’, at 10.30am on 3 February, following the Red Mass. It was presided over by the Most Reverend Dr Glenn Davies, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney. The Bar Choir, consisting of members of the profession and the bench, was conducted by the Hon. Peter Hidden AM, accompanied by solo violinist Cameron Jackson SC.
The Islamic ceremony was hosted by the Muslim Legal Network in the evening of 6 February at the Punchbowl Mosque. The ceremony was presided over by Shaykh Hassan Elsetohy, in a setting that was modestly described in the official notice of services published on InBrief as 'a remarkable example of contemporary Islamic architecture'. The Mosque is a stunning concrete structure that Jorn Utzon would have admired. It received the 2018 Sir John Sulman Medal for architecture, and was designed by a Greek-Australian architect, Angelo Candalepas. The beauty of the structure was matched by the performance of the Ahbab Al Mustapha group, which performed a moving 'nasheed' spiritual poetry performance.
The Pan Orthodox service was held at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation of our Lady in Redfern at 6.30pm on 11 February. The service was officiated over by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of the Greek Orthodox Church of Australia. Originally constructed between 1848 and 1875 as an Anglican Church, St Paul’s, the Cathedral was converted and re-consecrated as the Greek Orthodox Cathedral by 1970. It has since been internationally recognised as the seat of Greek Orthodoxy in Australia.
The ceremonial opening of law term 2020 was concluded by the Jewish service at the Great Synagogue, presided over by Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton, Chief Minister of the Great Synagogue, on the evening of 12 February. This historic structure has stood since 1878, built by a congregation established since at least the 1820’s. Members of the judiciary and Bar robed upstairs before proceeding into the Synagogue. At the conclusion of formalities a lavish reception was held in the Israel Green Auditorium underneath the Synagogue. At the reception the Chief Justice was introduced by his Honour Justice Rein, who observed that amongst the Chief Justice’s Jewish connections was the fact that the CJ’s official car is a 'Genesis.
Bar News is yet to receive confirmation as to whether the Chief Justice’s retort, that his private garage contains an 'Evolution', was ratio or obiter.
of Law Term
2 March 2020