Saint Nicholas' is an Orthodox Christian parish of Russian tradition serving Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. We are a parish of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Established in 1952, our parish is the oldest continuously-functioning Orthodox parish in the Hunter Valley. Download a PDF version of the English-language Autumn (March, April and May) 2020 Schedule of Services here. A PDF version of the Russian-language Autumn 2020 Schedule of Services can be downloaded here.
Parish life and COVID-19
Updated 28 March 2020: The respiratory illness outbreak caused by the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it are having a profound impact on social interaction around the world. Our Holy Orthodox Church is not exempt from this. Our parish is complying with the directives of the civil authorities including the closure of churches for public services other than weddings or funerals. We encourage our members, regular worshippers, and friends to comply with the advice of the Australian Government Department of Health concerning handwashing, respiratory hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation if unwell. Those of our parishioners who are unwell and wish to receive Holy Communion at home are encouraged to contact our parish rector. Further public health information, some relevant statements from church authorities, a selection of prayers, and links to streamed liturgical services and other related materials are available here.
Forthcoming services and activities
No public services until further notice - 30/05/2020
Updated 28 March 2020: Under Public Health (COVID-19 Places of Social Gathering) Order 2020, places of public worship in New South Wales are closed to members of the public, other than for weddings and funerals, as of 12.00pm on Monday 23 March 2020. This means that there will be no public services in our church until further notice. If weddings or funerals are to be held, they are subject to further Public Health Orders stipulating that weddings are limited to five people and funerals are limited to ten people, both numbers including the person conducting the service. If the situation changes we will let our parishioners and friends know.
Prayers to be offered during the period of church closure to the public - 31/05/2020
On Wednesday 25 March Bishop George wrote to the clergy of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia to advise them that Divine Liturgy could now only be served behind locked doors with only the clergy and a limited number of singers and servers present. As of Saturday 28 March it is hoped that our parish rector will be able to serve Divine Liturgy in the Gosford church on Sundays and major feast-days. Commemoration books from our parish and the Gosford parish will be read alternately, and our commemoration books have already been taken to Gosford for this purpose. Regrettably, we are unable to accept orders for candles or prosphora. As the services in Gosford will not be live streamed those wishing to watch services from other parishes in our Diocese can access links here.
The March 2020 meeting of the Parish Council - 26/03/2020
On Thursday 26 March the Parish Council met by teleconference. A report was heard on parish life, with particular attention was given to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact. Our parish rector said that the church must remain closed for public worship, but that he would be serving Divine Liturgy privately at the Gosford church each Sunday and major feast-day. He undertook to collect, with the assistance of the parish warden, the commemoration books of all our parishioners to be read at Divine Liturgy, thus ensuring that prayers continued to be offered for all our living and departed relatives, benefactors and friends. In addition, molebens to Saint Panteleimon and Saint Nicholas would be served following Divine Liturgy on alternating Sundays. Other matters discussed included the possibility of the parish rector taking Holy Communion to the faithful in their own homes and progress on our church extensions and renovations. Consideration was also given to the likely adverse financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the parish. The Parish Council agreed to meet more often during the present crisis.
Services on 21-22 March, the Third Sunday in Great Lent - 22/03/2020
On Saturday 21 March and Sunday 22 March we had services for the Third Sunday in Great Lent, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross and the day of commemoration of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (+ c.320 AD). As Saturday 21 March was a day of commemoration of the departed a general pannikhida was served prior to the Saturday evening service. In accordance with the instructions of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia we commemorated their Beatitudes the ever-memorable Metropolitans Anthony and Anastassy; the Metropolitans Philaret, Vitaly and Laurus; our ever-memorable Diocesan hierarchs Archbishops Theodore, Savva, Theodosy, Afanasy, and Paul; our parish founder Archpriest John Lupish and his matushka Maria; our church builders Alexander Medwedew, Vitaly Korotkich, and Michael Shalimov, and all who laboured with them; all those who for Christ and the Russian Church laboured in divers lands, and the other archpastors, pastors, founders and benefactors of the Russian Diaspora; for the elect sons and daughters of the Church of Russia, who faithfully struggled for her unity, good estate and honour in the realms of piety, blessedness, governance, the protection of the persecuted and the veneration of the New Martyrs and Confessors; and for all our righteous ancestors, and for their peaceful repose and blessed memory. Matins with the bringing out of the Cross was served on Saturday evening. As there was a Public Health Order in place limiting the number of people who could be inside our small church at any one time, Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning was served outside in the church grounds. At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read and the newly-baptised infant Timothy Martin received Holy Communion for the first time. In his sermon our parish rector spoke about Cross as the emblem of Christ’s victory over sin and death and of its being set forth at the mid-point of Great Lent to encourage us. He also spoke about the steadfastness in the face of bitter persecution of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste and of their enduring example to us.
A baptism - Timothy Martin - 21/03/2020
On Saturday 21 March the parish rector baptised Timothy Martin, the infant son of Shannon Martin and Olga Bogacheva and a younger brother to Ekaterina and Matthew. Timothy, whose godparents were Paul Goura and Svetlana Parshakova, was baptised in honour of the Apostle Timothy of the Seventy. We warmly congratulate Shannon, Olga, Paul, and Svetlana, and wish the newly-baptised servant of God Timothy many years!
Services on 7-8 March, the First Sunday in Great Lent - 08/03/2020
On Saturday 7 March and Sunday 8 March we had services for the First Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, and in honour of the first (4th Century AD) and second (452 AD) findings of the head of Saint John the Baptist. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read, and following the Prayer before the Amvon a brief Service of Supplication for Those in Error was served in accordance with the practice of the Russian Orthodox Church. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the importance of purity not only of faith, but of life. Following the service a collection was taken up to benefit the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York, raising $265.00.
A service on Sunday 1 March, Forgiveness Sunday - 01/03/2020
Late in the afternoon on Sunday 1 March we served Vespers for Forgiveness Sunday, the final Sunday before the beginning of Great Lent. During this service the church vestments were changed from gold to black and the festive melodies gave way to the penitential Lenten melodies. At the end of the service the parish rector gave a brief sermon on the importance of asking and bestowing forgiveness and of the meaning of the Lenten journey. Following this, all present asked forgiveness of one another in accordance with Orthodox custom and so began Great Lent.
Church & Community Life
Special litanies and prayerful supplications to mark the Centenary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia - 30/04/2020
At the December 2019 session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) consideration was given to special litanies and other prayerful supplications to mark this year’s centenary of ROCOR’s foundation. It was agreed that at the dismissal of every Divine Liturgy this year the prayers of a number of saints important to ROCOR would be invoked: our Fathers among the saints, Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the new Confessor; the Blessed New-Martyr Peter, Metropolitan of Krutitsia; John, the Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco, the Wonderworker; Jonah, the Bishop of Hankow in Manchuria; and the Holy Martyr Alexander of Munich. In our parish, these commemorations will begin on Sunday 22 February, the Sunday of the Last Judgement. In addition, instructions were given for the commemoration at all memorial services of their Beatitudes the ever-memorable Metropolitans Anthony and Anastassy; the Metropolitans Philaret, Vitaly and Laurus; all those who for Christ and the Russian Church laboured in divers lands, and the other archpastors, pastors, founders and benefactors of the Russian Diaspora; for the elect sons and daughters of the Church of Russia, who faithfully struggled for her unity, good estate and honour in the realms of piety, blessedness, governance, the protection of the persecuted and the veneration of the New Martyrs and Confessors; for our righteous ancestors, and for their peaceful repose and blessed memory. We will begin this commemoration at our next general pannikhida on Saturday 22 February. A copy of the full Synod Memorandum is available in English here and in Russian here.