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 12 November 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 continue to take the COVID-19 public health risk seriously and comply with ongoing precautionary measures mandated by the civil authorities in our state of New South Wales. This includes limits on the number of people present in church and on singing; registration of attendance to assist with contact tracing; and the wearing of facemasks. We offer obedience to these restrictions with the understanding that, as Metropolitan Hilarion has noted, they are being undertaken for our benefit.
In 2020 we introduced a number of simple sanitary measures at parish level. These remain in place as COVID-19 restrictions ease. The customary form of receiving Holy Communion remains unchanged.
We have registered as a COVID-safe place of worship. Our parish COVID-19 Safety Plan, guidance from the higher church authorities, links to public health information, a selection of prayers, and links to streamed liturgical services from other parishes able to provide them, are available here.
Attendance at church services
Updated 12 November 2021: From Monday 8 November 2021 attendance at religious services in New South Wales is subject to the two square metre rule. We are permitted 65 people because the total area of our church and choir loft is approximately 130 squares metres. As it is rare for more than 65 people to attend services in our parish, restrictions on attendance have effectively been lifted.
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 11-12 December, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - 12/12/2021
On Saturday 11 December and Sunday 12 December we will have services for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Martyr Paramon and 370 martyrs with him in Bithynia (+250 AD). Matins will be served at 6.00pm on Saturday and Divine Liturgy will be served at 9.00am on Sunday. As from 8 November 2021 density limits of one person per two square metres apply to places of worship in NSW – allowing us up to 65 people in church – all who wish to attend these services may do so. The NSW Government requirement that face masks be worn whilst indoors at public places up until 95 per cent double vaccination or 15 December 2021, whichever comes first, should be noted. Following Divine Liturgy, the 2021 Annual General Meeting of our parish will be held.
Notice of 2021 Annual General Meeting - 12/12/2021
Our 2021 parish Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at 12.00pm on Sunday 12 December. A formal Notice concerning the AGM is available here. The Notice includes the AGM agenda, an explanation of why AGMs are held, information about preparation for and participation in the AGM, and an explanation of the role of Parish Councils and Parish Council members. A nomination form for parish office-bearers is available here. A form for those wishing to renew their parish membership is available here.
Services on 27-28 November, the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost - 28/11/2021
On Saturday 27 November and Sunday 28 November we had services for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Martyrs and Confessors Gurias, Samonas, and Abibus of Edessa (+3rd-4th Century 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 a memorial litia was served for the ever-memorable Archpriest John Lupish (+22 November 1977); our much-loved parishioner Evgenia Thoroughgood (+19 November 2021); and Protodeacon Anatol Daniluk (+16 November 2021), a long-serving cleric of the Białystok and Gdańsk Diocese of the Polish Orthodox Church and a preceptor of Deacon Michel. Afterwards, an announcement was made concerning the parish Annual General Meeting to be held, God willing, on Sunday 12 December 2021, and a collection was taken up to benefit the Fund for Assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
Our Summer 2021-22 Schedule of Services - 21/11/2021
Our Summer 2021-22 Schedule of Services - covering December, January and February - is now available in PDF format. A copy of the English-language Summer 2021-22 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Summer 2021-22 Schedule of Services is available here. Printed copies in both languages will be available in church from the weekend of 27-28 November. Services of note will be for the summer feast of Saint Nicholas on 18-19 December; the Sunday after the Great Feast of the Nativity Of the Lord (Christmas) on 8-9 January; the Sunday after the Great Feast of Baptism of the Lord (Theophany) on 22-23 January, a day on which we commemorate Newcastle's former Theophany parish; and the commemoration of the departed on Saturday 26 February.
Services on 13-14 November, the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost - 14/11/2021
Updated 28 November: On Saturday 13 November and Sunday 14 November we had services for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Unmercenary Healers and Wonderworkers, Cosmas and Damian of Mesopotamia (+3rd Century 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. Our choir was beautifully augmented on Sunday by a small group of experienced singers from the Sydney parishes visiting the Hunter Valley for the weekend. At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read. Following the Prayer before the Amvon there was a blessing of honey that was afterwards distributed to those present. In his sermon, the parish rector spoke about Saints Cosmas and Damian, saints who were skilled physicians; about unmercenary healers who, recognising their skill as God’s gift, have taken literally Christ’s instruction to “freely give” (Matthew 10:8); about each one of us using our own specific gifts for the glory of God; and about the importance, particularly in our current circumstances, of understanding and accepting that God helps us by means of the medical skill and wisdom that he has given to physicians. An announcement was made concerning the parish Annual General Meeting to be held, God willing, on Sunday 12 December 2021.
The October 2021 meeting of the Parish Council - 07/10/2021
On Thursday 7 October, the Parish Council met by teleconference. The usual reports on parish life and finances were tabled and discussed. A decision was made to recommence services in our parish on the weekend of 23-24 October, provided that the 80 per cent vaccination target is reached in New South Wales and vaccination status has no impact on church attendance. It was further agreed that the 2021 Annual General Meeting of the parish would be convened on Sunday 12 December, and that an architect would be engaged to help the Parish Council develop a Master Plan for ongoing improvements to the parish buildings and grounds. The Parish Council is due to meet next in November 2021.
Church & Community Life
Saint Jonah's Russian Orthodox School Committee hosts an online forum about home-schooling - 31/12/2021
On Sunday 7 November Saint Jonah’s Russian Orthodox School Committee, a Sydney-based charitable organisation supporting initiatives in education from a Russian Orthodox perspective, hosted an online forum on home education. Participating in the forum were Bishop George, Archpriest George Lapardin, members of the Committee, teachers from within the Russian Orthodox community, and parents considering home education. Presentations were given by two home educators, Katherine Iliuk and our own Matushka Marie Carles. Matushka Marie, who has over 25 years’ experience as a home educator, spoke about the reasons for home-schooling, the various methods of home-schooling, the practicalities of each method, and the pros and cons for parents and children. Candidly reflecting on her own experience as a home educator, she emphasised the need to consider the long-term personal, social, and occupational implications of home-schooling for the children involved. Following the presentations, participants were able to ask questions of the speakers, share their own experiences, and make comments.
Jubilee Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad - 31/12/2021
In a Jubilee Epistle to the clergy and faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion writes: “In this special year of the 800th anniversary of the birth of the Holy Right-Believing Alexander, that wise diplomat and ruler, and the centennial of the I All-Diaspora Council – which took place from November 21 to December 2, 1921, in Sremski Karlovci – the Russian Orthodox people living in the Diaspora are called to augmented prayer, the doing of good deeds in all respects, and a private examination of the tablets of history, so that, by drawing from it much-needed strength and inspiration, they might continue in fortitude and renewal of spirit the patient bearing of their life’s cross. We celebrate anniversaries in our lives and honour the jubilee celebrant; so must we also unite ourselves in one common assembly and with great zeal confirm ourselves in Holy Orthodoxy, by no means shaming the memory of the Venerable Prince and of our ever-memorable forebears in the Diaspora, or the honour of our dear Mother – the Local Russian Orthodox Church”. The complete Jubilee Epistle can be read in Russian here and in English here.
Now available - the October 2021 issue of "Word of the Church" ("Церковное Слово") - 31/01/2022
The October 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, has recently become available in our parishes. This edition continues the beautiful glossy colour format introduced in December 2021. Content includes, in both Russian and English, Metropolitan Hilarion’s Jubilee Epistle; details of clergy awards and movements; an appeal and a statement from Bishop George relating to the COVID-19 pandemic; ‘Why Keep the Ten Commandments’; material on Saint Alexander Nevsky; ‘About the Power of a Child’s Prayer’; ‘The Beginning of Construction of the First Church [in Australia] in Memory of the All-Russian Wonder-Worker, St John of Kronstadt’; and more. Copies are $5.00.