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 26 April 2021: The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage has had a profound impact on social interaction around the world. Our Holy Orthodox Church is not exempt from this. Our parish takes the COVID-19 public health risk seriously and continues to comply 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; giving the faithful the option of not kissing the Holy Gospel, the icons, the chalice, the Cross, or the hand of the priest; cleaning icons regularly with methylated spirits; 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 26 April 2021: Attendance at indoor religious services throughout New South Wales has, since Saturday 13 February 2021, been subject to the two square metre rule. We are permitted 65 people in church because the total area of our church and choir loft is approximately 130 squares metres. On those occasions when more than 65 people attend we will manage the numbers in church so as to give as many people as possible the opportunity to venerate the icons, light candles and participate in the services. This means that all are welcome to attend services on the understanding that at larger gatherings, such as Pascha, it may not be possible to enter the church immediately or to remain inside for the entire service.
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
Services on 26-27 June, the First Sunday after Pentecost - 27/06/2021
On Saturday 26 June and Sunday 27 June we will have services for the First Sunday after Pentecost, the Sunday of All Saints and the Day of Youth of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Matins will be served at 6.00pm on Saturday and Divine Liturgy will be served at 9.00am on Sunday. At the end of Divine Liturgy a brief moleben will be served for the young people of our parish and for all ROCOR youth.
Services on 12-13 June, the Seventh Sunday of Pascha - 13/06/2021
On Saturday 12 June and Sunday 13 June we had services for the Seventh Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council and the Afterfeast of Ascension. 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. Following the Prayer before the Amvon, prayers of blessing were read over two new sets of vestments for the altar and icon stands, one green and one blue, ordered by our Ladies' Auxiliary from the sewing workshop of Saint Elisabeth Convent in Minsk, Belarus. Prayers of blessing were also read over new icons of Martyr Natalia and Saint Nina, Equal-to-the-Apostles, gifts to our parish from the Kuleschow family. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the history and accomplishments of the First Ecumenical Council.
Services on 22-23 May, the Fourth Sunday of Pascha - 23/05/2021
On Saturday 22 May and Sunday 23 May we had services for the Fourth Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Paralytic. Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the forty-day celebration of the Resurrection of Christ in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church and of Christ as a compassionate God able to raise us up who are “paralysed grievously by all manner of sins and unseemly deeds” (from the kontakion for the Sunday of the Paralytic).
Services on 21-22 May, the feast of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas - 22/05/2021
On Friday 21 May and Saturday 22 May we had services commemorating the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra in Lycia to Bari, Italy, in 1087 AD. This is the patronal feast-day of our church. All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Friday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Saturday morning. Divine Liturgy was preceded by the Lesser Blessing of Water and followed by a moleben to Saint Nicholas with a procession around the church. Praying in the altar during Divine Liturgy was Priest Theodor Postelnisescu of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of Australia and New Zealand, and we were joined in church by friends from the Gosford parish. Following the services our parish rector spoke about the veneration of Saint Nicholas throughout the Christian world, thanked Father Theodor for his prayers, and congratulated all present on the patronal feast-day of the parish. A festive BBQ lunch was then held in the church hall and grounds, the first major social gathering in the parish since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Winter 2021 Schedule of Services - 20/05/2021
Our Winter 2021 Schedule of Services - covering June, July and August - is now available in PDF format. Services of note during this period include those for Saint Seraphim of Sarov on 31 July-1 August, for the beginning of the Domition Fast and the Procession of the Wood of the Cross on 13-14 August, and for the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God on 27-28 August. A copy of the English-language Winter 2021 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Winter 2021 Schedule of Services is available here. Printed copies in both languages will be available in church as of the weekend of 22-23 May.
Services on 8-9 May, the Second Sunday of Pascha - 09/05/2021
On Saturday 8 May and Sunday 9 May we had services for the Second Sunday of Pascha, Thomas Sunday. All-night Vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. Following the Prayer before the Amvon at Divine Liturgy, the Prayer at the breaking of the Artos was read. In place of a sermon, the parish rector read aloud Metropolitan Hilarion’s Paschal Epistle in Russian and in English. After the veneration of the cross, pieces of the Artos were distributed to the faithful.
Holy Week and Pascha in Newcastle, 2021 - 02/05/2021
This year, our parish again had a number of traditional services for Holy Week and Pascha. Matins with the reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels was served in the evening on Thursday 29 April, Vespers with the bringing out of the Shroud of Christ at midday on Friday 30 April, Matins with Lamentations before the Tomb of Christ in the evening on Friday 30 April, and Divine Liturgy in the morning on Saturday 1 May. On Saturday evening we had an early Midnight Office and procession followed by Paschal Matins and the blessing of Easter baskets with cakes, eggs, and other festive foods.
Church & Community Life
Now available - the April 2021 issue of "Word of the Church" ("Церковное Слово") - 31/07/2021
The April 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 Paschal edition continues the beautiful glossy colour format introduced in December 2021. Content includes Metropolitan Hilarion’s Paschal Epistle in Russian and English; details of ordinations and clergy appointments; a list of living and departed clergy of the Diocese for commemoration in prayer; a letter from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in Australia to the NSW Attorney-General concerning confession and mandatory reporting of child sexual offences; a directory of clergy and parishes; ‘Christian Morals and Values Shaping the Future of the Russian World’, a paper presented at a seminar in Germany in 2015; and more. Copies are $5.00.