On Saturday 12 May and Sunday 13 May we had services for the Sixth Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Blind Man. On this day the Holy Orthodox Church remembers the healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-38). In his sermon the parish rector spoke about this miracle and about Saint Ignatius (Brianchaninov), Bishop of the Caucasas and the Black Sea (+1867 AD), a revered hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church commemorated on this day. As it was Mother's Day, at the end of the service the Ladies' Auxiliary presented Matushka Marie Carles with flowers on behalf of the parish. The rector congratulated her and all the mothers present, following which "Many years" was sung.
On the afternoon of Sunday 29 April the parish rector presided at the marriage of Philip Richards and Salome (MeeYeon) D'Arcy. Many family members and friends gathered in our small church for the occasion, and afterwards a reception was held in the parish hall. We warmly congratulate Philip and MeeYeon and wish them many years of happiness together.
On Monday 23 April there was a meeting of the Parish Council. The usual pastoral, administrative, and financial reports were then presented and progress on parish governance, decorative and building projects was reviewed. At the meeting the long-serving head of our parish Ladies' Auxiliary, Anna Morhun, advised the Parish Council of her intention to retire from her position, effective immediately. In announcing her retirement she spoke warmly of all that had been accomplished in parish life, but stated that her age and increasing infirmity prevented her from continuing. Mrs Morhun, who turned 95 early in April, has been active in our parish since it was established in 1952, filling the role of Head Sister for over 50 years. In 2017 she received the prestigious Diocesan Cross in recognition of her service. Her retirement will be formally acknowledged with a moleben of thanksgiving during May 2018.
On Saturday 21 April and Sunday 22 April we had services for the Third Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers. On this day the Holy Orthodox Church remembers those righteous women and men who were present at Christ's burial and later came to His Tomb bearing myrrh and sweet spices: Mary Magdalen; Mary, the wife of Cleopas; Joanna; Salome, mother of the sons of Zebedee; Susanna; Martha and Mary, the sisters of Saint Lazarus; Mary, mother of the Apostle James; Righteous Joseph of Arimathea; and Nicodemus. Receiving Holy Communion for the first time was the newly-baptised Salome D'Arcy. Following the dismissal the parish rector congratulated Salome on the occasion - also her first name-day - and many years was sung for her.
On Saturday 21 April the parish rector baptised 34 year-old MeeYeon D’Arcy. MeeYeon was given the name Salome in baptism in honour of Righteous Salome the Myrrhbearer, mother of the sons of Zebedee, Apostles James and John. Her godmother was the long-serving head of our parish Ladies' Auxiliary, Anna Morhun. We warmly congratulate the newly-baptised handmaiden of God Salome and wish her many years!
On Monday 16 April and Tuesday 17 April we had services for the second Tuesday of Pascha, “Radonitsa” - the day of rejoicing. In the practice of the Russian Orthodox Church, this is the first day after Pascha on which services for the departed are customarily offered. Matins was served on Monday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Tuesday morning. Immediately following Divine Liturgy a general panikhida was served in church, at which a great many of the departed were mentioned by name. Amongst those commemorated were the ever-memorable Archbishop Sava (Raevsky)(+1976), the anniversary of whose repose it was, and the ever-memorable Monk Joseph (in the world, Reader Isaac Lambertsen)(+2017). Archbishop Sava was the second Ruling Bishop of our Diocese and the hierarch who, in 1966, consecrated our church. Monk Joseph was a graduate of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY, who translated the entire Menaion, Octoechos and Pentecostarion from Church Slavonic into English. Eternal memory! Graveside litias were then served in Wallsend, Sandgate and East Maitland cemeteries.
On Friday 13 April and Saturday 14 April we had services for the Saturday after Pascha, Bright Saturday. Paschal Matins was served on Friday evening and the Paschal Hours and Divine Liturgy were served on Saturday morning. At Divine Liturgy the choir sang under the direction of Elena Gan. 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 the Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion in Russian and in English. At the dismissal, pieces of the blessed Artos were given to the faithful.
At 5.00pm on Sunday 20 May 2018 a fundraising dinner will be held in the church hall at Saints Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 3 Vernon Street, Strathfield, to assist the Presentation Sisterhood in Bungarby, NSW, a monastic community of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. A French-themed dinner will be served, and during the evening well-known Serbian Orthodox priest Father Rade Radan will give a talk entitled 'Serpents and Doves'. Child-minding will be available. Tickets are $50.00 for adults, $40.00 for pensioners, and $15.00 for children aged 15 and younger. Seating will be at tables of 8. More information is available at https://cabrapokrov.org/fundraising-for-monasteries.
On Sunday 29 April 2018 at 2.00pm at the Russian Club, 7 Albert Road, Strathfield, Orthodox Action Sydney will present its seventeenth charity concert, “Heart of Gold” 2018. The program will feature a mixture of classical music, Russian folklore, humour, and dancing. All funds raised will benefit orphaned and abandoned children and the needy in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Tickets are $30.00 for adults, $25.00 for pensioners and students, and $10.00 for children 5-10 years of age. More information can be obtained by contacting Vera on 9747-3109 or Natasha on 9730-2367.
Saints Cyril and Methodius Orthodox Institute (SCMOI) is the newly-established theological and higher learning institute of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. It provides undergraduate and postgraduate award courses by arrangement with the Adelaide College of Divinity and the Uniting College for Leadership and Theology. SCMOI is offering a free online lecture series on "Sexuality, Homosexuality and the Bible" beginning on Thursday 19 April 2018. Online registration is available here: https://www.scmoi.edu.au/free-lecture-series.
This year, our parish had a number of traditional services for Holy Week and Pascha. Matins with the singing of the exapostilarion “Thy Bridal chamber” ("Чертог твой") was served in the evening on Wednesday 4 April. On Thursday 5 April, Great and Holy Thursday, Divine Liturgy was served in the morning and Matins with the reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels was served in the evening. On Friday 6 April, Great and Holy Friday, Vespers with the bringing out of the Shroud of Christ was served at 3.00pm. On Saturday 7 April, Great and Holy Saturday, Midnight Office was served late in the evening, with Paschal Matins and Divine Liturgy following in the early hours of Sunday 8 April, the Sunday of Pascha. Concelebrating with the parish rector at Paschal Matins and Divine Liturgy was Priest Theodor Postelnisescu, the rector of the Romanian Orthodox Community of the Apostle Andrew. Easter baskets containing eggs, cakes and other festive foods were blessed following Matins. Following Divine Liturgy, the clergy and a small group of the faithful gathered in the church hall for a festive meal.
On Friday 30 March and Saturday 31 March we had services for the sixth Saturday of Great Lent, Lazarus Saturday. On this day the Orthodox Church commemorates the resurrection of Lazarus of Bethany from the dead after four days in the grave. Many parishioners confessed their sins in preparation to receive Holy Communion on Saturday. At the end of the service pussy-willow branches were blessed in anticipation of Palm Sunday and a collection was taken up to assist the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. A memorial litia was also served for the men, women and children who perished in the fire in Kemerovo, Russia, on 25 March 2018.
On the evening of Tuesday 27 March our parish rector presided at a General Service of Anointing with Oil. Serving together with him was Priest Dalibor Pavlovic of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Nahum of Ohrid in Broadmeadow. Approximately 25 faithful from both parishes gathered in our church to pray and receive anointing with oil for the healing of soul and body. For Orthodox Christians this service, otherwise served only for individuals in circumstances of great need, is a customary part of Great Lent.
On Saturday 24 March and Sunday 25 March we had services for the Fifth Sunday in Great Lent, the day of commemoration of Saint Mary of Egypt (+AD 421). Joining us for Divine Liturgy on Sunday was Father Theodore Postelnisescu, the rector of Newcastle’s Romanian Orthodox Community of the Holy Apostle Andrew. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy the parish rector spoke about the life of Saint Mary of Egypt and of her enduring example of repentance.
On Saturday 10 March and Sunday 11 March we had services for the Third Sunday in Great Lent, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross. As Saturday 10 March was a day of commemoration of the departed there was a general pannikhida prior to the service on Saturday evening , at which were commemorated the departed hierarchs and clergy of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese, together with our departed parishioners, family members and friends. In accordance with Orthodox custom an image of the Holy Cross, beautifully decorated with flowers, was set forth for veneration at the end of the Saturday evening service.
On Saturday 24 February and Sunday 25 February we had services for the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the First Sunday of Great Lent. In accordance with the practice of the Russian Orthodox Church, at Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer before the Amvon was followed by a brief Service of Supplication for Those in Error. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the history of the commemoration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy and of the importance of each individual Orthodox Christian striving to preserve the Truth. Following the service a collection was taken up to benefit the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY.
Our Autumn 2018 Schedule of Services - covering March, April and May 2018 - is now available in PDF format. It includes all our services for Great Lent, Holy Week, Pascha, our patronal feast of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra in Lycia to Bari, and the Great Feast of Pentecost. A copy of the English-language Autumn 2018 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Autumn 2018 Schedule of Services is available here. Both can also be accessed on our Services page, and printed copies are available in church.
Late in the afternoon on Sunday 18 February we served Vespers for Forgiveness Sunday, the final Sunday before the beginning of Great Lent. During this service the church vestments were changed from gold to black and the ordinary melodies gave way to the solemn melodies of Great Lent. At the end of the service the parish rector gave a brief sermon on the importance of asking and bestowing forgiveness, after which all present asked forgiveness of one another in accordance with Orthodox custom on this day.
On 14 February we learned with sorrow of the repose that day of Archpriest John Stukacz, a former rector of our parish and Dean of New South Wales. Born in Belarus in 1930, he arrived in Australia in 1950 as a displaced person. Settling in Adelaide, he became in time the choir conductor in the parish of Saint Nicholas there. After the completion of his study at the Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville in 1964 and marriage in 1966 he was ordained deacon and then priest. He served in Adelaide and London (UK) before returning to Australia permanently in 1976. In 1977 he was appointed senior priest of Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral in Strathfield and Dean of New South Wales. He served here in Wallsend during the 1990s. Although in 2007 he left the jurisdiction of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia he retained the respect of many in our parish, and we offer heartfelt condolences to Matushka Marina and their children. May God give him rest!
On Saturday 10 February and Sunday 11 February we had services for the Sunday of the Last Judgment and in honour of All Saints of Ekaterinburg. As Saturday 10 February was a day of commemoration of the departed a general panikhida was served immediately prior to the Saturday evening service. At the end of the panikhida koliva was blessed and shared amongst those present. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer for the Prosperity of the Russian Church was read and - following the Prayer before the Amvon - a moleben to All Saints of Ekaterinburg was served. In his sermon the rector spoke first about compassionate service to one's fellow man being accounted as service to Christ Himself, and then about the example of the saints of Ekaterinburg both new and old. At the dismissal a collection was taken up to assist the work of Orthodox Action in Sydney and Melbourne.
On Monday 29 January we learned with sorrow of the repose of Vasily (“Bill”) Bukovec, a long-term parishioner and one of the builders of our church. Mr Bukovec – who reached 100 years of age in 2016 – had been in declining health for some time. He received Holy Communion and Anointing with Oil in the days prior to his repose. He is survived by his daughters Olga, Nina and Elizabeth and by his grandsons Allan, Jamie, Justin, Billy and Christian and their families, to whom we offer heartfelt condolences. His funeral service was held in our church on Monday 5 February 2018, after which he was laid to rest beside his beloved wife Anna in Sandgate Cemetery. May his memory be eternal!
On the afternoon of Friday 2 February the parish rector presided at the marriage of Anthony Kloczko and Yuliya Kuznetsova. Our small church was full to overflowing with family and friends. The family of the groom has had a long connection with our parish. We warmly congratulate Anthony and Yuliya and wish them many years of happiness together.
The January 2018 issue of the official journal of the Australian-New Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is now available in our parishes. In addition to the Nativity Epistle of Patriarch Kyrill in Russian and the Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion in both Russian and English, there is a range of interesting articles in both languages. In Russian: "Памятник Царю-Мученику Николаю установлен в Австралии"; "Делегация Украиской Православной Церкви Московского Патриархата в Австралии" and more. In English: "Australian and New Zealand Seventh Annual Teen Retreat”; a number of articles about Orthodox Christian practices; and more. Also included are notices concerning recent ordinations and clergy movements. Copies are $5.00.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse completed its work late in 2017. The seventeen-volume Final Report of the Royal Commission, which looked into the history of abuse in a range of institutions and organisations in Australia including religious groups, was published on 15 December 2017. The Final Report Preface and Executive Summary summarises the findings and lists all the recommendations. There is also a brief guide to the Final Report. The Royal Commission made 28 recommendations that set out governance standards – including the ten Child Safe Standards – and compliance mechanisms designed to ensure that children stay safe in religious institutions. Our Parish Council is now familiarising itself with the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission so as to develop, in conjunction with the Diocesan authorities, policies and procedures to ensure that our parish and our Diocese remain child-safe and child-friendly.
On Sunday 28 January, the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, the parish rector baptised the infant Leo, the son of Tony and Iryna Marshall and a younger brother to Sofia. Leo was baptised in honour of the Holy Martyr Leo and had as his sponsors Igor Masalitin and Natalia Khyzniak. We warmly congratulate Tony, Iryna, Igor and Natalia and wish the newly-illumined servant of God Leo many years!
On Saturday 27 January and Sunday 28 January we had services for the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, the first Sunday of preparation for Great Lent. As it was our first Sunday service after Theophany the founders, benefactors and parishioners of the former Theophany parish in Mayfield, both living and departed, were commemorated in prayer at the end of Divine Liturgy. At lunch in the church hall our parish rector received congratulations and was presented with a cake on the occasion of his birthday.
On Wednesday 17 January and Thursday 18 January we had services for the Eve of Theophany, the Great Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Matins was served on Wednesday evening, and on Thursday 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.
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.
On Monday 8 January, we had a service for the Second Day of the Nativity of Christ. Joining our parish rector was Father Dalibor Pavlovic, the rector of Saint Naum of Ohrid Serbian Orthodox Church in Broadmeadow, NSW. Divine Liturgy was served in Church Slavonic, Serbian and English. In place of a sermon, our parish rector read aloud the Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York in Russian and in English. Following the service all gathered in the church hall for a festive meal and a visit from Father Christmas.