On Sunday 18 December and Monday 19 December, the lesser patronal feast of our church, we had services in honour of Saint Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. All-night vigil with the blessing of five loaves, wheat, wine and oil was served on Sunday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Monday morning. Our small church was full for Divine Liturgy, with many of those present receiving Holy Communion. Following the Prayer before the Amvon a brief moleben to Saint Nicholas was served for those present. After the dismissal, our rector Archpriest James Carles congratulated parish Warden Nikolai Goura and Parish Council member Nicholas (Dean) Crawford, both of whom were celebrating their name-day. He remarked on the importance of men taking an active role in church life before thanking them both for their work for the parish and wishing them every blessing from God. He then thanked choir director Nataliya Rahim for her service to the church and her contribution to the community, noting that she had conducted the choir for the last time before moving interstate. On behalf of the parish he presented her with a copy of the parish’s treasured “Newcastle” Icon of the Mother of God. Many years was sung for Nikolai, Nicholas and Nataliya.
On Saturday 10 December and Sunday 11 December we had services for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Monk-Martyr Stephen the New of Mount St. Auxentius (+767 AD) and Martyr Irenarchus and his companions (+303). In his sermon at Divine Liturgy the parish rector spoke of the principles for Christian living set out in the appointed readings from the Apostol, Ephesians 4:1-6 and 2 Timothy 1:8-18.
On Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November we had services for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Apostle Philip. Receiving Holy Communion for the frist time at Divine Liturgy on Sunday was the newly-baptised Anastasia Partington. Following Divine Liturgy, a pannikhida was served for the ever-memorable founder of our parish, Archpriest John Lupish (+1977), it having been the anniversary of his repose on Tuesday 22 November. As the faithful venerated the Cross a collection was taken up for the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, raising $220.00. Later, many gathered in the parish hall for a BBQ lunch, it being the final Sunday service before the beginning of the Nativity Fast.
Our Summer 2016-17 Schedule of Services - covering December, January and February - is now available in PDF format. A copy of the English-language Summer 2016-17 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Summer 2016-17 Schedule of Services is available here. Both can also be accessed on our Services page, and printed copies in both languages are available in church.
On Saturday 26 November the parish rector baptised Anastasia Partington, the infant daughter of Bruce Partington and Samantha Bullen. Anastasia, who was baptised in honour of the Royal Martyr Anastasia of Russia, had as her sponsors Larissa Lupish and Nikolai Goura. A great many friends and family members were present for Anastasia’s baptism, gathering afterwards in the parish hall for a celebratory lunch. We offer warm congratulations to Bruce, Samantha, Larissa and Nikolai, and wish the newly-baptised handmaiden of God Anastasia many years!
On Monday 21 November there was a meeting of the Parish Council. As 22 November is the anniversary of the repose of the ever-memorable founder of our parish, Archpriest John Lupish (+1977), a memorial litia was served immediately prior to the meeting. The usual pastoral, administrative, and financial reports were then presented, progress on various church projects was reviewed, and plans for 2017 were discussed. Father James gave a report on the work of the Eighteenth Diocesan Assembly in which he and parish delegate Irene Lupish had recently participated. The Parish Council is scheduled to meet next in January 2017.
From Wednesday 16 November until Saturday 19 November 2016, representatives of our parish participated in the work of the Eighteenth Diocesan Assembly of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia and in commemorative events marking the twentieth anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion's appointment as Ruling Bishop. At Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Thursday 17 November our rector Father James Carles was raised to the rank of archpriest "for his zealous labours on behalf of the Holy Church". Attending the festive banquet held in Metropolitan Hilarion's honour that evening were Father James, parish delegate Irene Lupish, and parishioners Elena Gan, Dean Crawford and Lucea Szabunia. Following the official programme they presented Vladyka Hilarion with a gift from the parish, a beautifully framed copy of the parish's treasured "Newcastle" Icon of the Protection of the Mother of God.
On Saturday 12 November and Sunday 13 November we had services for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Apostles of the Seventy Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles and Aristobuls (1st Century AD) and of Martyr Epimachus of Pelusium in Alexandria (+250 AD). On this day, the Russian Orthodox Church also commemorates Saints Spyridon and Nicodemus, the prosphora-bakers of the Kiev Caves (+12th Century AD). In his sermon the parish rector noted how these saints had served God in different ways and at different times, encouraging the faithful to serve the Lord faithfully according to their own circumstances and abilities.
On Saturday 22 October and Sunday 23 October we had services for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the Venerable Elders of Optina. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday the parish rector, noting the Apostle Paul's exhortation to "remember those who have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God" (Hebrews 13:7), spoke of the work and the enduring significance of the two quite different groups of Holy Fathers commemorated by the Russian Orthodox Church on this day. He encouraged the faithful to not be "carried about with divers and strange doctrines" (13:9), but to follow the faith and life of these saints.
A group of young families working under the auspices of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin parish in Cabramatta, NSW, is organising a camp for children and young people aged 8-17 to be held in Toukley, NSW - here on the Central Coast - from 11 December - 17 December 2016. For those interested, more information is available here. This year the Diocesan Teen Retreat - for young people aged 13-17 - will be held on the Queensland Sunshine Coast from 19 December - 23 December.
On Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October we had services for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian. Presiding at Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning was Bishop George of Canberra, visiting our parish for the first time since August 2014. Joining us on the occasion of Bishop George’s visit were Deacon Martin Naef, Subdeacon Nicholas Martinov, and Jordanville seminarian Reader Michael Martinov. At the end of Divine Liturgy Bishop George gave an edifying sermon about the life of the Holy Apostle John. Following the dismissal, parish awards and flowers were presented to three women for their contribution to parish life: Olga Rusak, Eugenia Kallaur, and Natalia Rahim. The clergy and faithful afterwards gathered in the church hall for a festive meal. Over lunch, Father James welcomed Bishop George to the parish, noting that it was his first visit as Diocesan Administrator. On behalf of the parish he thanked Vladyka for his attention and wished him all the best in his archpastoral labours in the Australian-New Zealand Diocese.
On Saturday 15 October 2016, the day after the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in Blacktown, NSW, will celebrate its patronal feast-day. This parish is one of only two parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Australia. The lesser blessing of water will be served at 8.30am, the Hours at 9.00am, and Divine Liturgy at 9.30am. At 12.00pm there will be a festive lunch. More information including the church address and contact details is available in English here, and in Russian here.
On Sunday 25 September our parish held its 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM). The 2016 Annual Report was presented and accepted, a Parish Council for 2016-17 was elected, a delegate to the Eighteenth Diocesan Assembly was chosen, and our two Child Safety Contact Persons were reappointed. Those elected to the Parish Council were Anna Morhun, Irene Lupish, Lucea Szabunia, Olga Bogacheva, Anu Kinnunen and Dean Crawford. Irene Lupish will represent the parish at the Diocesan Assembly and Matushka Marie Carles and Olga Bogacheva were reappointed to the role of Child Safety Contact Persons. Our Warden Nikolai Goura, elected for a three-year term in 2014, remains in this position.
On Saturday 24 September and Sunday 25 September we had services for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost and for the Leavetaking of the Nativity of he Mother of God. At Divine Liturgy the Prayer for Ukraine was read, and following the service a collection was taken up to help the Holy Dormition Lavra in Svyatogorsk, Eastern Ukraine, assist the many refugees who have taken shelter there. In his sermon the rector spoke about the appointed reading from the Holy Gospel, the Parable of the Wedding Feast, and the importance of weaving a fitting garment for the banquet by our manner of life. A small icon of Saint Symeon of Verkhoturye, the translation of whose relics is also commemorated on this day, was placed in church for veneration together with the icon of the feast. As Sunday was the tenth anniversary of the repose of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov), third First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, he was commemorated at the Great Entrance and in a memorial litia following Divine Liturgy.
Our 2016 Annual Report, including the independently audited 2015-16 Financial Statements, is now available. The 2016 Annual Report will be presented to our parish Annual General Meeting on Sunday 25 September 2015. A copy of the report is available in PDF form here. We encourage our parishioners and friends with questions or comments to contact us.
On Saturday 10 September and Sunday 11 September we had services for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Beheading of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John. Following Divine Liturgy "Many Years" was sung for our choir director Nataliya Rahim, it having been her name-day on the preceding Thursday. In accordance with the custom of the Russian Orthodox Church a memorial service was served after Divine Liturgy for all Orthodox soldiers, sailors and airmen killed on the field of battle. Announcements were then made by the rector concerning the forthcoming parish Annual General Meeting and a collection on Sunday 25 September to benefit the Holy Dormition Lavra in Svyatogorsk, Eastern Ukraine.
On Saturday 27 August and Sunday 28 August we had services for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning Divine Liturgy was served. Receiving Holy Communion for the first time on Sunday was the newly-baptised infant Joseph Harwood. The feast of the Dormition has a special significance for our parish as it was on this day in 1949 that the first Orthodox Christian services in the Hunter Valley were served by Archpriest John Lupish (+1977) in the chapel at Greta Migrant Camp. Following Divine Liturgy the rector made the first announcement concerning the forthcoming 2016 parish Annual General Meeting.
Our Spring 2016 Schedule of Services - covering September, October and November - is now available in PDF format. A copy of the English-language Spring 2016 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Spring 2016 Schedule of Services is available here. Both can also be accessed on our Services page, and printed copies in both languages are available in church.
On Saturday 27 August our parish rector baptised Joseph Harwood, the infant son of Peter and Anastasia Harwood and a younger brother to Isaac and Elizabeth. Joseph, who was baptised in honour of Righteous Joseph the All-Comely, had as his sponsors Raisa Zyza and Jonathan van Wyk. We warmly congratulate Peter, Anastasia, Raisa and Jonathan, and wish the newly-baptised Joseph many years!
On Saturday 13 August and Sunday 14 August we had services for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost and for the feast of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord and the Holy Maccabean Martyrs (+166 BC). Prior to the evening service on Saturday a number of young children from the parish participated in a discussion of confession before sharing in the reading of the prayers and making their individual confessions. Matins with the bringing out of the Cross was then served and on Sunday morning, the first day of the Dormition Fast, Divine Liturgy was served. At Divine Liturgy the Prayer for Ukraine was read following the Litany of Fervent Intercession. The Lesser Blessing of Water was served following the Prayer before the Amvon, it being the custom of the Russian Orthodox Church to bless the waters on this day in commemoration of the Baptism of Rus’ in 988 AD. It is also the custom on this day to bless new honey, and as in previous years a quantity of organic Wollombi Valley Honey was blessed and given to those present. The rector took the opportunity to bless a new icon of the Holy Hierarchs of Moscow, a gift to our parish from the Rowan family. After the dismissal, a memorial litia was served for the ever-memorable Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) (1863-1936), first First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, it having been the eightieth anniversary of his repose on Wednesday 10 August.
On Saturday 23 July and Sunday 24 July we had services for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Great-Martyr Euphemia the All-Praised (+303 AD) and Saint Olga, Princess of Russia and Equal-to-the-Apostles (+c.963 AD). At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer for the Prosperity of the Russian Church was read. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the way in which these two female saints bore witness to the truth of Orthodox Christianity: Saint Euphemia by her refusal to sacrifice to idols, her acceptance of martyrdom and her miracle at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 BC; and Saint Olga by turning away from the paganism of her people and sowing the seeds of the Baptism of Rus'.
On Saturday 9 July and Sunday 10 July we had services for the Third Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Sant Sampson the Hospitable (+350 AD). As many of our parish founders came from Belarus, in addition to the icon of Saint Sampson and the other saints commemorated on this date, the parish icon of All Saints of Belorussia was placed in the centre of the church for veneration. In addition to speaking about the appointed readings from the Apostol (Romans 5:1-10 and Galatians 5:22-6:2), in his sermon the rector spoke about Saint Sampson's unmercenary care for the sick and the fact that this day was the anniversary of the victory, in 1709, of the Russian Empire over the Swedes at the Battle of Poltava. Concerning this victory, the rector noted that it ultimately served for the strengthening of the Orthodox Church, both in Russia and elsewhere.
On Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June we had services for the First Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of All Saints, the memory of whom is customarily celebrated on this day. Since 2008, this day has also been the Day of Orthodox Youth of the Russian Church Abroad. At Divine Liturgy the Prayer for the Prosperity of the Russian Church was read and in place of a sermon the parish rector read aloud the Epistle of Metroplitan Hilarion on the Day of Orthodox Youth. At the end of Divine Liturgy a brief moleben was served at which all the children and young people of our parish were mentioned by name, and at which prayers were offered in particular for four year-old Elisabeth Harwood, a child of the parish recently diagnosed with leukaemia.
On Saturday 11 June and Sunday 12 June we had services for the Seveth Sunday of Pascha and in honour of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, the memory of whom is customarily celebrated on this day. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday the parish rector spoke of the convening of the the First Ecumenical Council in May-June of 325 AD, of the work accomplished there to overcome falsehood, and of the importance in every age of steadfast defence of the Orthodox Faith.
On Wednesday 8 June and Thursday 9 June we had services for the Great Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Wednesday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Thursday morning. As it was on this Great Feast in 2007 that the Act of Canonical Communion between the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate was signed, the Prayer for the Prosperity of the Russian Church was read. The parish rector gave a brief sermon on the meaning of this feast, noting its new significance in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On Saturday 4 June the parish rector baptised Oliver Timothy Regan, the infant son and first child of Matt and Katy Regan. Oliver, whose godparents were Natasha Goura and Ben Regan, was baptised in honour of the Holy Apostle Timothy of the Seventy. We warmly congratulate Matt, Katy, Natasha and Ben, and wish the newly-baptised servant of God many years!
Our Winter 2016 Schedule of Services - covering June, July and August - is now available in PDF format. A copy of the English-language Winter 2016 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Winter 2016 Schedule of Services is available here. Both can also be accessed on our Services page, and printed copies in both languages are now available in church.
On Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May we had services for the Fourth Sunday of Pascha and in honour of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas, the patronal feast of our parish. All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning our festive Divine Liturgy was preceded by the lesser of blessing of water. A great many parishioners were present together with friends from the Central Coast and Sydney’s north. Receiving Holy Communion for the first time was the newly-baptised Nicholas East. In his sermon, the parish rector spoke about the righteous life of Saint Nicholas and of his steadfast defence of Orthodoxy, the movement of his relics from Myra in Lycia (modern-day Turkey) to Bari in Italy, and the help that Christians have received over the centuries through his prayers. Following Divine Liturgy a moleben to Saint Nicholas was served. On what was a pleasant and sunny winter morning, there was a cross-procession around the church in which the faithful, including the children, carried icons. After the customary singing of “Many Years” for the hierarchs and the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church, many gathered in the parish hall for a festive lunch.
On Sunday 8 May, Thomas Sunday, the parish rector baptised Lily Way, the three year-old daughter of Jeremy Way and Victoria Kravchenko. Lily, who was baptised in honour of Martyr Livia of Syria, had as her sponsors at baptism Elena Gubaeva and David Wells. We warmly congratulate Jeremy, Victoria, Elena, and David, and wish the newly-baptised Livia many years!
On Saturday 8 May our parish rector and a small group of parishioners participated in one-hundredth birthday celebrations for Vasily (“Bill”) Bukovec, one of the builders of our church. At the festive lunch in Toukley on the NSW Central Coast, Father James presented Mr Bukovec with a parish gramota in recognition of the occasion and of his long association with and contribution to our parish. Mr Bukovec was also given a beautiful framed copy of our treasured icon of the Mother of God, “Protectress of Newcastle”. We wish Mr Bukovec good health and strength for years to come!
On Saturday 7 May and Sunday 8 May we had services for the Second Sunday of Pascha, Thomas Sunday. Receiving Holy Communion at Divine Liturgy was the newly-baptised Anastasia Hockley. Following the Prayer before the Amvon the parish rector read the Prayer at the Cutting of the Artos. In place of a sermon, the Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion was read aloud. Immediately after the service a general panikhida was served in anticipation of Radonitsa, the day of commemoration of the departed appointed for the Second Tuesday of Pascha. At the panikhida the newly-reposed Maria (Goura) and Joanne (Shalimov) were commemorated, together with a great many departed parishioners, family members and friends. The parish rector later accompanied the faithful to Wallsend and Sandgate Cemeteries, serving graveside litias there.
During Holy Week we had a number of beautiful services. Matins with the reading of the Twelve Gospels was served on the evening of Thursday 28 April and Matins with the Lamentations before the Tomb of Christ was served on the evening of Friday 29 April. At 12.00pm on Friday 29 April, Vespers with the bringing out of the Shroud of Christ was served. On the morning of Saturday 30 April Vespers with the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil was served. At this service a great many people received Holy Communion before the Tomb of Christ.
On Saturday 23 April and Sunday 24 April we had services for Palm Sunday, the Great Feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem. The church was beautifully decorated with palm branches. All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Saturday evening, with palms and pussy-willows also blessed following the reading of the Gospel. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning our church was full with worshippers from the Hunter Valley, the Central Coast, and elsewhere, many of whom received Holy Communion.
On Sunday 24 April, Palm Sunday, the parish rector baptised Anastasia Hockley, the infant daughter and first child of Adam and Evgeniya Hockley. Anastasia, who was baptised in honour of Great-Martyr Anastasia “Deliverer from Potions”, had as her sponsors at baptism Yulia Duyunova and Michael Barton. We warmly congratulate Adam, Evgeniya, Yulia and Michael, and wish the newly-baptised Anastasia many years!
At 5.00pm on Saturday 23 April, Lazarus Saturday, our parish had a special confession service for children. Prior to the service the parish rector spoke to the children about the history and meaning of the Holy Mystery of Repentance and of the importance of making a good confession. He then answered some questions before the children, about six of whom were present, confessed in turn. As each children made his or her confession the others read some of the Prayers before Holy Communion.
In conjunction with Saint Panteleimon Russian Orthodox Church, Gosford, our parish has developed and published a list of Sundays and Fridays on which weddings can be celebrated in 2016, together with an explanation of the reasons why weddings cannot be celebrated on certain days and dates and during certain seasons. A list of Sundays and Fridays in 2017 on which weddings can be celebrated has now been added. This information, which can be accessed either here or via our ‘Needs’ page under ‘Weddings’, 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. Should anyone have any questions about this information, please contact us.
On Saturday 9 April and Sunday 10 April we had services for the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent, the day of commemoration of Saint John of the Ladder. As Saturday was a day of commemoration of the departed, Matins on Saturday evening was preceded by a general memorial service. On Sunday at Divine Liturgy we were joined by friends from Gosford and Canberra. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about The Ladder of Divine Ascent, a spiritual work revered throughout the Orthodox Church, and of the importance of approaching the spiritual life as if climbing a ladder: positioning ourselves on level ground, having companions to steady us and help us, and not ascending so rapidly as to risk falling.
On Saturday 9 April the family and friends of Joanne Shalimov gathered in our church for her funeral, many having travelled from as far away as the Queensland Gold Coast and the south and west of NSW. Joanne, who was born in 1972 and departed this life on 31 March 2016 aged 43, was a granddaughter of Michael Shalimov, one of the builders of our small church. After the funeral service her body was laid to rest in Wallsend Cemetery a short distance from the graves of her grandparents, Michael and Nina. Joanne is survived by her parents Nick and Raisa and her brother Dean and his family, to whom we offer condolences. May God give rest to his newly-departed handmaiden!
On Wednesday 6 April and Thursday 7 April we had services for the Great Feast of the Annunciation of the Mother of God. All-night Vigil – Great Compline, Matins and the First Hour – with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Wednesday evening and the Third, Sixth, and Ninth Hours, Typika and Vespers with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom were served on Thursday morning. Following the service those present gathered in the church hall for a festive lunch. This feast-day is customarily celebrated with great joy, it being a day on which the strict fast of Great Lent is relaxed.
On Saturday 26 March we learned with sadness of the repose of our parishioner Maria Ivanovna Goura (b. 22 February 1927 in Poland). Her funeral was served in our church on Thursday 31 March, after which she was laid to rest beside her husband, Nikolai Emilianovich, at Sandgate Cemetery. Maria had a long and significant association with our parish. She is survived by a son and two daughters - Nikolai (our parish starosta), Anna and Katy - and by ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, many of whom gathered on the eve of her funeral to pray for her repose and, in keeping with Orthodox tradition, to read the Psalter over her casket. We offer condolences to Maria's family, and pray that God will grant her rest!
On the morning of Monday 28 March the parish rector presided at a General Service of Anointing with Oil. Approximately 20 of our parishioners, both young and old, gathered to pray and receive anointing with oil for the healing of soul and body. Some information about the Sacrament of Anointing with Oil provided to our parishioners and friends before the service is available here.
On Saturday 26 March and Sunday 27 March we had services for the Second Sunday of Great Lent, the day of commemoration of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica and Defender of Orthodoxy. As Saturday was a day of commemoration of the departed, Matins on Saturday evening was preceded by a general memorial service. On Sunday Matushka Marie spoke to the children about the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (commemorated on Tuesday 22 March) who were rewarded with heavenly crowns for their willingness to endure suffering for Christ's sake. Following the dismissal at Divine Liturgy a memorial litia was served for two newly-reposed parishioners, Vera Blanch and Maria Goura. A collection was then taken up to benefit the Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York, raising $235.75.
On Saturday 12 March and Sunday 13 March we had services for Forgiveness Sunday, the Sunday before the beginning of Great Lent. A number of friends of the parish, visiting from Sydney, were present on Sunday for Divine Liturgy. As is the practice in many parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, Vespers with rite of asking forgiveness was served immediately following Divine Liturgy. After the services on Sunday many people gathered in the parish hall to enjoy pancakes prepared by the Ladies' Auxiliary.
On Sunday 28 February the parish rector presided at the marriage of Alexander Lupish and Kelly Hailstone in the presence of a great many family members and friends. Assisting at the service was Deacon Martin Naef of the parish of Saint Panteleimon in Gosford. Our choir - under the direction of Nataliya Rahim - sang beautifully. Following the service, all gathered in the church yard for drinks and light refreshments. This service was especially significant for our small church as the groom is the grandson of Archpriest John Lupish (+1977), the ever-memorable founder of our parish, and was an altar-server here as a child and young man. We warmly congratulate Alex and Kelly, and wish them many years of happiness together.
On Saturday 27 February and Sunday 28 February we had services for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday we were again joined by Deacon Martin Naef of the parish of Saint Panteleimon in Gosford. Receiving Holy Communion for the first time that day was the newly-baptised infant Samuel. Praying in church during Divine Liturgy were visitors from Port Macquarie and Sydney.
Our Autumn 2016 Schedule of Services - covering March, April and May - is now available in PDF format. A copy of the English-language Autumn 2016 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Autumn 2016 Schedule of Services is available here. Both can also be accessed on our Services page, and printed copies in both languages are now available in church.
On Saturday 13 February and Sunday 14 February we had services for the Thirty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Martyr Tryphon. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday we were joined by Deacon Martin Naef of the parish of Saint Panteleimon in Gosford. It being the last Sunday before the beginning of the period of preparation for Great Lent, the appointed reading was the account of Zaccheus the repentant tax-collector (Luke 19:1-10). Following the Prayer before the Amvon the parish rector blessed a beautiful new set of embroidered green velvet covers for the sacred vessels, a gift to our parish from the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Yekaterinburg, Russia. At the end of the service a collection was taken up for Orthodox Action, a charitable organization that operates under the auspices of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. $299.50 was collected. Before lunch a memorial litia was served for our parishioner the ever-memorable Anastasia Szabunia, it being the first anniversary of her repose on 18 February.
On Monday 25 January there was a meeting of the Parish Council. Attending the meeting was the co-ordinator of our parish playgroup, Anastasia Harwood, who gave the Parish Council an overview of the playgroup's activities and of her plans for 2016. The usual administrative, pastoral and financial reports were then presented, and progress on various church projects was reviewed. The Parish Council is scheduled to meet next on Monday 21 March.
On Saturday 23 January and Sunday 24 January we had services for the Sunday after Theophany and in honour of Saint Theodosius the Great, the founder of coenobitic (“common-life”) monasticism. At Divine Liturgy the Prayer for Ukraine were read. Following the Prayer before the Amvon a brief moleben was served for the founders, benefactors and parishioners of the Theophany parish in Mayfield, Newcastle, a parish of the Moscow Patriarchate that existed from 1994 until 2009.
On Saturday 23 January the parish rector baptised Charli Davies, the infant daughter and first child of Peter and Kate Davies. In baptism Charli was given the name Margaret in honour of the Great-Martyr Marina (Margaret) of Antioch. Her sponsors were Michael Davies, Tamara Goura, Patrice Farmer and Matthew MacDonald. We warmly congratulate Peter and Kate and the godparents, and wish the newly-baptised handmaiden of God Margaret many years!
On Sunday 17 January and Monday 18 January we had services for the Eve of Theophany. Matins was served on Sunday evening, and on Monday morning Vespers with the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great was served together with the Great Blessing of Water. At Vespers, many of those present assisted with the thirteen appointed readings from the Old Testament. Following the service on Monday a graveside panikhida was served at Sandgate Cemetery for Natalia Tarasenko, it being the fortieth day of her repose. Eternal memory!
On Saturday 9 January and Sunday 10 January we had services for the Sunday after the Nativity, the day of commemoration of the Holy Kinsmen of Christ: Joseph the Betrothed, David the King, and James, Brother of the Lord. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the choir sang under the direction of Elena Gan. In place of a sermon, the parish rector read aloud the Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion in Russian and in English.
On Wednesday 6 January, the Eve of the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ, we had All-night vigil (Great Compline and Matins) with the blessing of five loaves, wheat, wine and oil. Sadly, many of our parishioners were unable to attend because of heavy rain and flooding across the Hunter Valley and on the Central Coast. An improvement in the weather overnight, however, saw a great many people gather on the morning of Thursday 7 January, the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ. A large choir sang beautifully under the direction of Nataliya Rahim and approximately 40 people received the Holy Mysteries. Following the Prayer before the Amvon, a brief moleben of thanksgiving was served to commemorate the deliverance of the Russian Church and Empire from the invasion of the French and twelve other nations on this day in 1812. At the end of the service, the parish rector presented Matushka Marie Carles with a hand-painted icon of her heavenly protector, Saint Mary of Palestine, a gift from our parish and from the Gosford parish and her family in recognition of her faithful service to both parishes. Afterwards a great many people gathered in the church hall for a festive lunch and a visit from Father Christmas. A wonderful day in the life of our small parish!