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.
Parish life and COVID-19
Updated 4 December 2020: 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 takes this public health risk seriously and is strictly complying with the directives of the civil authorities in this country including limits on the number of people present at services and registration of attendance. We have also introduced sanitary measures including the provision of hand sanitiser at the entry to the church; discouraging people from kissing the Holy Gospel, the icons, the chalice, the Cross, and the hand of the priest; cleaning icons regularly with methylated spirits; anointing the faithful with disposable cotton swabs rather than a single brush; the provision of disposable napkins for use when receiving Holy Communion; the provision of disposable cups from which to receive the warm water and wine (“zapivka”) after Holy Communion; limits on the number of people singing in the choir; and the cancellation of our usual “cup of tea” after services. We have registered as a COVID-safe place of worship. Our parish COVID-19 Safety Plan, relevant statements from church authorities, public health information, a selection of prayers, and links to streamed liturgical services from other parishes are available here.
Attendance at church services
Updated 4 December 2020: From Monday 7 December 2020 attendance numbers at religious services in New South Wales are subject to the two square metre rule. We are now permitted 65 people because the total area of our church and choir loft is approximately 130 squares metres. As no more than 50 people generally attend services in our parish, restrictions have effectively been lifted for all but the very largest services. Such services include Christmas, Easter, and our parish feast-day when a bishop visits.
For the time being, we continue to ask that our parishioners and friends only attend services if they are in good health. A person will not be considered be in good health if they are suffering from a fever, cough, a sore or "scratchy" throat, loss of smell or taste, a runny nose, loss of appetite, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, or recent unexplained onset of shortness of breath, muscle pain or joint pain. Those who may have had contact with known cases of COVID-19 should comply with public health directives concerning testing and, if necessary, self-isolation. The wearing of masks is no longer recommended in churches such as ours where there is no congregational singing.
We will continue to have a sheet at the candle-desk on which to record attendance and contact details. Care should be taken to sign in upon arrival at church. The completed attendance sheets will be stored securely, retained for four weeks, and only released to the NSW Chief Health Officer if required for the purpose of contact-tracing should there be an instance of community transmission of COVID-19.
Supporting our parish
Our parish is a small one that relies wholly on community support to make ends meet. If you have found this website to be of interest or of use, please consider helping us. Donations may be made directly to our bank account:
St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church
BSB: 032-509 Account number: 281104
May the Lord bless you!
Forthcoming services and activities
A pastoral visit to the New South Wales Mid North Coast - 31/01/2021
With the blessing of Bishop George, our parish rector will be making a sixth pastoral visit to the New South Wales Mid North Coast on the weekend of Saturday-Sunday 30-31 January. A new home will be blessed near Port Macquarie on Saturday, and on Sunday, the Thirty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost and the day of commemoration of Saints Athanasius the Great (+373 AD) and Cyril, archbishops of Alexandria (+444), Divine Liturgy with the Great Blessing of Water will be served in Barraganyatti. The Russian Orthodox community on the Mid North Coast is under the heavenly protection of Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye. Those interested are welcome to contact us.
Services on 13-14 February, the Thirty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost - 14/02/2021
On Saturday 13 February and Sunday 14 February we will have services for the Thirty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Zaccheus Sunday; the Forefeast of the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple; and in honour of Martyr Tryphon (+250 AD). Matins will be served at 6.00pm on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy will be served at 9.00am on Sunday morning. Provided numbers in church do not exceed 65, all are welcome to attend.
Services on 23-24 January, the Sunday after Theophany - 24/01/2021
On Saturday 23 January and Sunday 24 January we had services for the Thirty-Third Sunday after Pentecost and for the Sunday after Theophany. Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy with the Great Blessing of Water was served on Sunday morning. Following the blessing of water a moleben with prayers of thanksgiving was served for the founders, benefactors and parishioners of the former Theophany church (1994-2009), all of whom joined our parish in 2009.
Services on 9-10 January, the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ - 10/01/2021
On Saturday 9 January and Sunday 10 January we had services for the Thirty-First Sunday after Pentecost and for the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ. Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. In place of a sermon at Divine Liturgy, the parish rector read aloud the Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia.
The funeral and burial of Anna Pavlovna Morhun - 05/01/2021
On Tuesday 5 January, our parish rector served the funeral of 97-year-old Anna Morhun, our long serving Head Sister and a tireless worker for our church. In view of concern about the COVID-19 pandemic, the funeral was a small gathering of close family and friends. Following the service, the newly reposed Anna was laid to rest in Sandgate Cemetery beside her beloved husband Ivan (+1998).
2020 - The year in review - 31/12/2020
For us as for everyone, 2020 was dominated by the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it. Our parish had no services from Monday 23 March until Thursday 21 May and restrictions on attendance were in place from Saturday 21 March until the end of the year. We had four baptisms: Thea Yakimov, Timothy Martin, and Sophia and Katie Edwards. Funerals were served for Nicholas Markatcheff and Olga Osadczuk. Our long-serving Head Sister, Anna Pavlova Morhun, departed this life. Litanies and prayers were offered to mark the Centenary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and together with the Gosford parish we provided an English-Russian wall calendar commemorating this milestone in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church. Our website provided information to help with the planning of weddings and instructive material about Sunday commemorations and readings, certain Great Feasts, and the system of tones used for singing in the Russian Orthodox Church. The extension to our sanctuary was effectively completed and work to renovate the sacristy commenced. Our beautiful new icon case was received and blessed, and we purchased a set of new white vestments for our church. Our parish rector made pastoral visits to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales in August and November. All the news from 2020 can be read here. Glory be to God for all things!
Services on 26-27 December, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday after Pentecost - 27/12/2020
On Saturday 26 December and Sunday 27 December we had services for the Twenty-Ninth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Forefathers, the ancestors of Christ according to the flesh and all the great fathers, mothers and prophets of the Old Testament. Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. Following Divine Liturgy a memorial litia was served for the newly-reposed handmaiden of God Anna and for Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, Metropolitan Amfilohije (Radovic) of Montenegro and the Littoral, and more than one hundred hierarchs and clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church who have departed this life in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus. A comprehensive list of the departed clergy is available in Russian here, and a shorter list in English that includes monastics is available here. These were our final services for 2020.
The repose of Anna Pavlovna Morhun - 21/12/2020
Updated: On Monday 21 December we learned with deep sadness of the repose, early that morning, of Anna Pavlovna Morhun. Anna Pavlovna was active in the life of our parish from the time of its foundation in 1952. She was a member of the Parish Council and active in the Ladies' Auxiliary for most of that period, filling the role of Head Sister for over fifty years. She continued to be actively involved in church life well into her nineties, cooking, cleaning the church, and changing the vestments. She received a gramota from Archbishop Sava (Raevsky) in 1964, a medal from then Archbishop Hilarion in 1998 on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the establishment of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese, and in 2017 Bishop George awarded her the prestigious Diocesan Cross. May God grant this good and faithful servant of our parish rest with the saints, and make her memory to be eternal!
Services on 18-19 December, the day of commemoration of Saint Nicholas - 19/12/2020
On Friday 18 December and Saturday 19 December we had services in honour of Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia. All-night vigil was served on Friday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Saturday morning. Immediately after Divine Liturgy a moleben was served to Saint Nicholas, following which the parish rector congratulated two parish members on their name-day: our warden, Nikolai Goura, and Parish Council member Dean (Nicholas) Crawford. Many years was then sung for them both. This commemoration of Saint Nicholas is the "lesser" patronal feast of our church, the main feast-day for us being that of the Translation of the relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra to Bari, commemorated on 22 May.
Services on 12-13 December, the Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost - 13/12/2020
On Saturday 12 December and Sunday 13 December we had services for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday the parish rector spoke about Christ's healing of the infirm woman on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17) and the importance of not weaponising spiritual disciplines against one another, and about the life and Christian example of the Holy Apostle Andrew. As from 7 December we were allowed 65 people in church, these were the first services since the beginning of March at which attendance was essentially unrestricted.
A fifth pastoral visit to the New South Wales Mid North Coast - 29/11/2020
With the blessing of Bishop George, on Saturday 28 November and Sunday 29 November our parish rector undertook a further pastoral visit to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. On Saturday Evan Cotton was baptised, and on Sunday, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and the commemoration of the Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, Divine Liturgy was served in Boambee, a suburb of Coffs Harbour, in a temporary chapel at the home of Ashish Sinha and Evgenia Biryukova. At Divine Liturgy the newly-baptised Evan received Holy Communion for the first time, and in place of a sermon the parish rector read aloud the Jubilee Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
Church & Community Life
Now available - the December 2020 issue of "Word of the Church" ("Церковное Слово") - 28/02/2021
The December 2020 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), the official journal of the Australian-New Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, has recently become available in our parishes. This edition commemorates the centenary of the foundation, in 1920, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and is in a beautiful new format that includes colour photographs and QR codes with links to further information. Content includes details of ordinations, clergy awards, and appointments; reports on feast-day celebrations in Geelong and at the Kazan Convent in Kentlyn, NSW; an extensive report marking the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of Saint John the Baptist Skete in Kentlyn, together with an appeals for funds to assist with the rebuilding of the skete; an obituary of His Holiness Irenej, Patriarch of Serbia, who reposed this year as a result of the coronavirus; the Jubilee Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion; a beautiful colour reproduction of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, suitable for framing; materials on globalisation from the perspective of the Russian Orthodox Church; and more. Copies are $5.00.