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 25 December 2021: The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it have had a profound impact on life around the world. Our Holy Orthodox Church has not been exempt from this.
As Orthodox Christians have done during the many other outbreaks of contagious illness – epidemics and pandemics – throughout history, our parish has offered prayers for God’s mercy, for deliverance from sickness, for the pacification of troubles, and for the strengthening of the faithful with hope. Attending to the wise guidance of Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, we have taken the COVID-19 public health risk seriously, complying with the precautionary measures mandated by the civil authorities in our state of New South Wales. We have offered obedience to these restrictions with the understanding that, as Metropolitan Hilarion has noted, they have been introduced for our benefit.
As of 24 December 2021, facemasks are again required at all indoor non-residential settings in New South Wales, including services at places of worship. In response to rising COVID-19 case numbers, we have reintroduced a number of simple sanitary measures at parish level. We continue to offer the appointed prayers. Our 2020 parish COVID-19 Safety Plan, guidance from the higher church authorities, links to public health information, and a selection of relevant prayers are available here.
Attendance at church services
Updated 25 December 2021: From Wednesday 24 December 2021, the NSW Government requires face-masks and the recording of contact details at all services. There are no density requirements, but those attending services are encouraged to maintain social distancing to the extent possible.
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
Services on 22-23 January, the Thirty-First Sunday after Pentecost - 23/01/2022
On Saturday 22 January and Sunday 23 January we will have services for the Thirty-First Sunday after Pentecost and for the Sunday after Theophany. Matins will be served at 6.00pm on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy with the Great Blessing of Water will be served at 9.00am on Sunday morning. Following the blessing of water a moleben of thanksgiving will be served for the work of the former (1994-2009) Theophany parish in Mayfield, Newcastle, the remaining members of which joined our parish in 2009. The NSW Government requirement that face masks be worn in indoor areas other than places of residence should be noted.
Services on 8-9 January, the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ - 09/01/2022
On Saturday 8 January and Sunday 9 January we had services for the Twenty-Ninth Sunday after Pentecost and the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ. Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read. In place of a sermon at Divine Liturgy, the parish rector read aloud Metropolitan Hilarion’s Nativity Epistle in both Russian and English.
2021 - The year in review - 31/12/2021
This year, like 2020, was dominated by the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it. Our parish had no public services from Monday 2 August until Saturday 23 October – a period of almost three months! – and various other restrictions were in place for the entire year. We had five baptisms including Gabriel Golovdovski and Lira Koster. We laid to rest two long-serving and much loved members of the parish, Anna Morhun and Eugenia Thoroughgood (nee Kallaur). Prayers were offered on the two-hundredth anniversary of the assassination of Emperor Paul I of Russia. We acquired new blue and green vestments for the altar table and church, a new seven-branched lampstand for the sanctuary, and a new candle-stand for the church. Together with the Gosford parish we provided an English-Russian wall calendar commemorating the centenary of the First All-Diaspora Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Our website provided updated information to help with the planning of weddings and instructive material about Sunday commemorations and readings and certain Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church. The renovation of our sacristy was almost completed and planning for further improvements to the church and grounds commenced. Our parish rector made pastoral visits to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales in January and May. All the news from 2021 can be read here. Glory be to God for all things!
Services on 18-19 December, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost - 19/12/2021
On Saturday 18 December and Sunday 19 December we had services for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, archbishop of Myra in Lycia (+c.345 AD). This summer feast-day of Saint Nicholas is the lesser patronal feast-day of our church. All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. At both services, our parish rector was assisted by Deacon Michel Matys. Divine Liturgy was preceded by a blessing of water and followed by a moleben to Saint Nicholas with a procession around the church. At the end of the moleben the parish rector offered congratulations to our Warden Nikolai Goura and Parish Council member Dean (Nicholas) Crawford, both of whom were celebrating their name-day.
A baptism - Lira Koster - 18/12/2021
On Saturday 18 December the parish rector baptised the infant Lira, the first child of James and Masha Koster. Lira, who was baptised in honour of the Martyr Valeria of Caesarea, had as her godparents Victorya Atrahimovich and Craig Beck. We warmly congratulate James, Masha, Victorya and Craig, and pray that God will grant His newly-baptised servant Valeria good health, every blessing from above, and many years!
Our 2021 Annual General Meeting - 12/12/2021
On Sunday 12 December our parish held its 2021 Annual General Meeting. The 2021 Annual Report was presented and accepted. The path of parish life and plans for the future were discussed, following which Nikolai Goura was elected Warden for a sixth consecutive three-year term, and Irene Lupish, Olga Bogacheva, Lucea Szabunia, Anu Kinnunen and Dean (Nicholas) Crawford were elected to serve on the 2021-22 Parish Council.
Services on 11-12 December, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - 12/12/2021
On Saturday 11 December and Sunday 12 December we had services for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Martyr Paramon and 370 martyrs with him in Bithynia (+250 AD). Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. At both services, our parish rector was assisted by Deacon Michel Matys. At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read. Following Divine Liturgy an announcement was made concerning the parish Annual General Meeting to be held that afternoon.
The repose and funeral of Eugenia Thoroughgood (née Kallaur) - 08/12/2021
On Friday 19 November we learned with great sadness of the repose, early that morning, of Eugenia (“Zhenya”) Thoroughgood (née Kallaur, b.1938), a much-loved member of our parish. Born in Belarus, Zhenya came to Australia via Poland, Germany, and Italy, arriving in October 1949. After living for a time at the Greta Migrant Camp, Zhenya’s family became deeply involved in our parish, with her father Anton helping build our church and later serving as a trustee. Zhenya, a humble and pious woman who rarely missed a service, for many years sang in the choir and helped with cleaning and the changing of the church vestments. Her funeral was served on Friday 26 November; she was laid to rest in Sandgate Cemetery on Wednesday 8 December, her burial having been delayed by heavy rain. We offer heartfelt condolences to Zhenya’s daughters Karen, Tania and Natalie, and to her grandchildren. May God grant this good and faithful servant of our parish rest with the saints and make her memory to be eternal!
Our 2021 Annual Report - 03/12/2021
Our 2021 Annual Report, including the independently audited 2020-21 Financial Statements, is now available. It includes information about the governance of our parish and gives a little parish history. It also summarises the life and activity of the parish in 2020-21 and provides details of some future projects. A copy of the report, which will be formally presented to our parish Annual General Meeting on Sunday 12 December 2021, is available here. We encourage our parishioners and friends with questions or comments concerning our Annual Report to contact us.
Church & Community Life
Information about the Holy Trinity Orthodox Monastery of Monkerai - 28/02/2022
Our parish often receives enquiries about the Holy Trinity Orthodox Monastery of Monkerai and its founder, Father John MacPherson. To help consistently answer such enquiries and to provide some history, to date, of an interesting episode in the history of Russian Orthodoxy in the Hunter Region, some information has been compiled here.
Useful information about when weddings can be celebrated, together with a list of available dates in 2022 and 2023 - 28/02/2022
In conjunction with Saint Panteleimon Russian Orthodox Church, Gosford, our parish has developed and published an explanation of the reasons why weddings cannot be celebrated on certain days and dates and during certain seasons. It incorporates a list of Sundays and Fridays on which weddings can be celebrated that has now been updated to include Sundays and Fridays in 2023. This information, which can be accessed either here or via our Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals page, has been prepared to help our parishioners and friends when planning weddings in parishes of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Should anyone have any questions about this information, please contact us.
Now available - the December 2021 issue of "Word of the Church" ("Церковное Слово") - 31/03/2022
The December 2021 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), the official journal of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, is now available in our parishes. This edition continues the beautiful glossy colour format introduced in December 2021. Content includes Metropolitan Hilarion’s 2021-22 Nativity Epistle in Russian; ‘Скорбней Юбилей’, a Russian-language article about the centenary of the 1922 Soviet decree confiscating church valuables; details of clergy movements and awards; a Russian-language list of living and departed Diocesan clergy for commemoration in church and in private prayer; ‘The Relationship Between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia in the period from 1950 until 1969’, the English-language text of a lecture presented to the ROCOR Centenary Conference; and more. Copies are $5.00.