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On Saturday 23 September and Sunday 24 September we had services for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, the Afterfeast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, and in honour of Venerable Theodora of Alexandria (+c.480 AD).  As it was also the day of commemoration of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam, Venerable Euphrosynus the Cook of Alexandria (+9th Century), and Venerable Silouan of Mount Athos (+1938 AD), icons of these saints – including one of saints Sergius and Herman blessed on their relics – were placed in the middle of the church for veneration.  Receiving Holy Communion for the first time was the newly-baptised infant Ella Martinov.  After the Prayer before the Amvon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday special prayers were again offered, in the context of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, for God's mercy and forgiveness, for the defeat of all impiety, and for the strengthening of lawful and blessed marriage.  At the end of the Sunday service the parish rector welcomed Ms Sonia Hornery MP, State Member of Parliament for Wallsend, presenting her with a Certificate of Appreciation acknowledging her support for the parish and the wider Russian-speaking community.  Remarking on her ten years of parliamentary service, he wished for her God’s help in her work, strength, wisdom, and consolation in difficult times.  Ms Hornery was also given flowers by the parish children and a copy of the parish icon of the Mother of God, “Protectress of Newcastle”.  She afterwards joined parishioners in the hall for refreshments and a presentation of Russian-language songs and poems by students from our playgroup and Russian school.

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