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The Mid North Coast Orthodox Mission began as a joint outreach of the Newcastle and Gosford parishes of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. With the blessing of Bishop George of Canberra, pastoral visits to the area commenced in June 2019 with the purpose of making available Orthodox Christian prayers, sacraments, and teaching on the Mid North Coast; acquiring the material resources and experience to effectively support this activity; and, in time, to establish a parish in the region under the heavenly protection of Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye.  Following nine successful pastoral visits from June 2019 until July 2022, the mission was formally established on 8 December 2022.  At present, there are services on the fifth Sunday of the month, when such occurs.  In 2024 we hope to have services in Port Macquarie on 31 March (the Second Sunday in Great Lent) and 29 September (the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost) and in Coffs Harbour on 30 June (the First Sunday after Pentecost) and 29 December (the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers).  The Facebook page of the Mission can be accessed here.

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A reader service is held on the NSW Mid North Coast - 14/04/2024

On Sunday 14 April, the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent and the day of commemoration of Saint John of the Ladder, a group of lay members of the Mid North Coast Mission gathered at a private home in Coffs Harbour for the reading of the Hours and Typika.  A copy of the order of service followed is available here.  In addition to the reading of the psalms and prayers, those present were able to venerate the Holy Gospel, the Cross, and the icons of the Resurrection and Saint John of the Ladder.  The lives of Saint John and of Saint Mary of Egypt were then read aloud, followed by the appointed readings from The Prologue of Ohrid by Saint Nikolai (Velimirovic).  At the conclusion of the readings, all present shared a Lenten meal.  It is planned that the community will continue to gather this way on one Sunday of each month with the intention of supplementing the quarterly visits from a priest, strengthening friendships, and developing liturgical and other experience necessary for the growth of the Mission.


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A service at Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye Orthodox Mission on the NSW Mid North Coast - 31/03/2024

On Sunday 31 March our parish rector visited Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye Orthodox Mission on the NSW Mid North Coast and conducted services for the Second Sunday of Great Lent, the day of commemoration of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica  (+1359 AD).  The services were held the Wauchope Community Arts Hall, the Mission’s Port Macquarie-Hastings region “home” since April 2023.  The Hours and Divine Liturgy  were served on Sunday morning, with many of those present confessing and receiving Holy Communion.  At these services some new items were used for the first time: a portable altar table and table of preparation made by Michael Sokolsky, and a number of folding wooden icon stands made by Mission member Howard Trott.  As Saturday 30 March had been a day of commemoration of the departed, a memorial litia was served following Divine Liturgy.  All present stayed for a common meal afterwards. 


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2024 - The year ahead for the Mid North Coast Mission - 10/01/2024

In 2024 we hope to have services in the Port Macquarie area on 31 March (the Second Sunday in Great Lent) and 29 September (the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost) and in the Coffs Harbour area on 30 June (the First Sunday after Pentecost) and 29 December (the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers).  Our plans for this year involve acquisition of a number of items: a portable altar table and table of preparation; folding icon stands that are easier to store and move; a ‘pop-up’ iconostasis to give a better sense of church space in the secular halls that we are using for services; and candle stands that use sand and so are easier to clean.  We expect Howard Trott to be baptised in the first half of the year.  We will continue to grow our community and to gain the experience and resources necessary for more regular services.  Please keep us in your prayers!


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The patronal feast of Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye Orthodox Mission on the NSW Mid North Coast - 31/12/2023

On Saturday 30 December and Sunday 31 December, the Thirtieth Sunday after Pentecost and the Sunday before the Nativity of Christ, our parish rector Archpriest James Carles led services at  Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye Orthodox Mission on the NSW Mid North Coast in honour of its patron saint.  The December commemoration of Saint Symeon - he is also commemorated in February, May, June and September – is the main feast-day of the saint and the patronal feast-day of the Mission.  All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Saturday evening.  This was the first time since its establishment that the Mission had had an evening service.  Early on Sunday morning there was a lesser blessing of water, after which the Hours and Divine Liturgy were served.  Following a moleben to Saint Symeon and the customary singing of ‘Many years’, all present shared a festive meal.  The services and lunch were held at Boambee Memorial Hall, just outside Coffs Harbour.  Concelebrating at the divine services together with Father James was Archpriest Dionysios Halim, the rector of the Holy Dormition parish in Wollongong, NSW.


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A service at Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye Orthodox Mission on the NSW Mid North Coast - 30/07/2023

On Sunday 30 July, the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost and the day of commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils, Divine Liturgy was served in Boambee, near Coffs Harbour, at the home of Drs Ashish Sinha and Evgenia Biryukova.  Joining regular worshippers from across the Mid North Coast were friends from the Gold Coast (QLD) and Armidale (NSW), with approximately 30 people present.  Afterwards, most stayed for lunch and fellowship.  Following lunch the Mission Committee briefly discussed ideas for a portable iconostasis, a website, and plans for the Mission’s first patronal feast-day on December 30-31, 2023.  God willing, the next service on the Mid North Coast will be Divine Liturgy in Wauchope on Sunday 29 October.


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A service at Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye Orthodox Mission on the NSW Mid North Coast - 30/04/2023

On the weekend of Saturday-Sunday 29-30 April our parish rector visited Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye Orthodox Mission on the NSW Mid North Coast. On Sunday 30 April, the Third Sunday of Pascha, the Hours and Divine Liturgy  was served at Wauchope Community Arts Hall.  Fifteen people were present.  At Divine Liturgy prayers were offered for peace in Ukraine.  In his sermon, Father James spoke about the humble and faithful service of the Myrrhbearers as a model for Christian life.


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A pastoral visit to the New South Wales Mid North Coast - 31/07/2022

On Saturday 30 July and Sunday 31 July our parish rector undertook a pastoral visit to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, the third and final visit for 2022. On Sunday morning, the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost and day of commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the first Six Ecumenical Councils, Divine Liturgy was served in Wirrimbi, near Macksville, at the home of Liubov Sleaford. Following the service those present shared a meal and discussed plans for the future.  We hope to have services on the Mid North Coast again in January, April, July, October and December 2023.


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A pastoral visit to the New South Wales Mid North Coast - 30/01/2022

On Saturday 29 January and Sunday 30 January our parish rector undertook a pastoral visit to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, the first such visit since May 2021. On Sunday morning, the Thirty-Second Sunday after Pentecost and day of commemoration of Saint Anthony the Great, Divine Liturgy was served in Boambee, near Coffs Harbour, at the home of Drs Ashish Sinha and Evgenia Biryukova.  Joining locals for the service were friends from the Central Coast (NSW) and the Gold Coast (QLD) and enquirers from Armidale (NSW).  Following the Prayer before the Amvon, it being the first service after Theophany, the Great Blessing of Water was served. After lunch the members of the community held a meeting at which they reviewed the activities and achievements of the past three years, discussed future plans, and elected a "mission committee" comprising Katerina Cotten, Tatiana Tobin, Evan Cotten, and Dr Evgenia Biryukova.  The committee will now seek Bishop George’s blessing of its decisions.  God willing, there will be services on the Mid North Coast again in May, July and October 2022.


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The repose and funeral of Donald John ("Don") Sleaford - 26/03/2021

On Saturday 21 March the Mid North Coast Orthodox community learned with sadness of the repose of Donald John (“Don”) Sleaford after a grievous illness.  Don, who was born in the United Kingdom in February 1936, was received into the Orthodox Church in October 2020.  On Friday 12 March, the end of his earthly course drawing near, Don received the sacraments of Anointing with Oil and Holy Communion.  His funeral was served on Friday 26 March in the chapel at the Memorial Gardens in Everingham Lane, Frederickton.   We offer heartfelt condolences to Don’s wife, Liubov, and to his son Paul.  May God grant him rest where there is no more sickness or sorrow, but life everlasting!


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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


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A fourth pastoral visit to the New South Wales Mid North Coast - 30/08/2020

With the blessing of Bishop George, on Saturday 29 August and Sunday 30 August our parish rector undertook a further pastoral visit to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. On Sunday morning, the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost and the Afterfeast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, Divine Liturgy was served in Barraganyatti in a temporary chapel at the home of Evan and Katerina Cotten.  This was the first service on the Mid North Coast for 2020, planned services in March and May having been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic


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A third pastoral visit to the New South Wales Mid North Coast - 29/12/2019

With the blessing of Bishop George, on Saturday 28 December and Sunday 29 December our parish rector undertook a further pastoral visit to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, the area between Forster-Tuncurry and Woolgoolga. On Sunday morning, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday after Pentecost and the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers, Divine Liturgy was served in Barraganyatti in the home of Evan and Katerina Cotten.  In his sermon at Divine Liturgy Father James spoke about the faithfulness of the Holy Forefathers despite all around them worshipping false gods, the Parable of the Banquet (Luke 14:16-24, the appointed Gospel reading), and the principles of Christian life that the Apostle Paul sets out in his Letter to the Colossians (3:4-11, the appointed Epistle reading).  Future visits to the Mid North Coast are planned for March, May, August and November 2020. In March, God willing, Divine Litugy will be served in Coffs Harbour. Those interested in this outreach initiative may contact the Mid North Coast Orthodox community by email.


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A second pastoral visit to the New South Wales Mid North Coast - 29/09/2019

With the blessing of Bishop George, on Saturday 28 September and Sunday 29 September our parish rector undertook a further pastoral visit to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, the area between Forster-Tuncurry and Woolgoolga.  On Saturday morning a home was blessed in Wirrimbi, just north of Macksville, and on Sunday morning, the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Sunday after the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Divine Liturgy was served in Barraganyatti in the home of Evan and Katerina Cotten.  At the end of Divine Liturgy there was a blessing of water, after which an icon of Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye, the work of a member of the community, was blessed.  Later in the day beehives belonging to the Cotten family were blessed.  God willing, Father James will visit the area again at the end of December 2019, performing a baptism and serving Divine Liturgy in Coffs Harbour.  It is hoped that these visits will lead to the formal establishment of a mission under the heavenly protection of Saint Symeon, a revered saint of Siberia and the Russian Far East.  Those interested in this initiative may contact the Mid North Coast Orthodox community by email


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A pastoral visit to the New South Wales Mid North Coast - 22/06/2019

With the blessing of Bishop George, on Friday 21 June and Saturday 22 June our parish rector undertook a pastoral visit to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, the area between Forster-Tuncurry and Woolgoolga.  A home was blessed in Port Macquarie on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning, the day of the Leavetaking of Pentecost, Divine Liturgy was served in the home of Evan and Katerina Cotten in Barraganyatti, a village mid-way between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.  Approximately 20 people gathered for Divine Liturgy, after which an eight year-old child, Aarya, the daughter of Ashish Sinha and Evgenia Biryukova, was baptised.  In baptism Aarya was given the name Anastasia.  At a festive meal afterwards those present enthusiastically discussed the possibility of further services and the establishment of a mission under the heavenly protection of Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye.  God willing, Father James will visit the area again at the end of September 2019, once again blessing homes and serving Divine Liturgy.  Those interested in this initiative may contact the Mid North Coast Orthodox community by email.


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Services on 13-14 January, the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and the commemoration of Saint Basil the Great - 14/01/2018

On Saturday 13 January and Sunday 14 January we had services for the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and in honour of Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (+379 AD).  On Sunday His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, presided at Divine Liturgy.  We were also joined by Protodeacon Martin Naef from the Gosford parish.  As it was 1 January 2018 on the Julian Calendar a brief moleben for the beginning of the New Year was served at the end of Divine Liturgy.  Following the dismissal, Vladyka Hilarion gave an edifying sermon in Russian and English in which he reflected on the various commemorations of the day.  A festive lunch was then held in the church hall in Vladyka’s honour.  During a word of welcome over lunch the parish rector noted Vladyka's recent particpation, together with the other hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, in the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church commemorating the centenary of the election and enthronement of Saint Tkhon the Confessor as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and thanked him for his wise leadership as First Hierarch.


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