On Saturday 27 October and Sunday 28 October we had services for the Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Venerable Euthymius the New of Thessalonica (+889 AD) and Monk-Martyr Lucian, priest of Antioch (+312 AD). At Divine Liturgy on Sunday, prayers were offered for Orthodox Church unity, for relief from drought in Australia, and for peace in Ukraine. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about these special prayers being offered at each Divine Liturgy, the reasons for them, and the importance of prayer at home for these things. Following Divine Liturgy announcements were made concerning the coming parish Annual General Meeting and a collection to benefit refugees in south-eastern Ukraine displaced as a result of ongoing social and political turmoil in that country.
On Saturday 13 October and Sunday 14 October we had services for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost and for the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God. Revered throughout the Russian Orthodox Church, this feast is of particular important to the faithful in Newcastle – it was the patronal feast of the first Orthodox church in the Hunter Valley, established in the Greta Migrant Camp in 1949. Although that small Holy Protection church closed together with the camp in 1960, our parish continues to observe its patronal feast-day. On Saturday evening, All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served. On Sunday morning the lesser blessing of water was served, followed by Divine Liturgy, a moleben to the Mother of God, and a procession around the church. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the Orthodox veneration of the Mother of God. At Divine Liturgy prayers were especially offered for peace in Ukraine. Following the services on Sunday a collection was taken up to assist the Synodal Liturgical Music Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
This year our Diocese will hold its eighth annual Orthodox Teen Retreat. Established in 2011, our Diocesan Teen Retreats cater for young people aged 14-17. This year’s Teen Retreat will be held to the south of Sydney at Stanwell Tops from Sunday 16 December until Friday 21 December. The theme is 'Bringing the saints to our lives'. For more information visit www.rocorteenretreat.info.
On Saturday 22 September and Sunday 23 September we had services for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, the Afterfeast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, the Sunday before the Exaltation of the Cross, and the day of commemoration of the Martyrs Menodora, Metrodora and Nymphodora (+310 AD). Matins was served on Saturday evening, and on Sunday morning His Grace Bishop George of Canberra presided at Divine Liturgy. Following Divine Liturgy Mrs Anna Morhun was presented with a parish Certificate of Appreciation to mark her retirement from the Parish Council after over 60 years of service. Many of those present later gathered in the church hall for a festive lunch.
This year our Diocese is again convening a Diocesan youth conference or "Syezd". Established in 1965 at the instigation of the ever-memorable Archbishop Sava (Raevsky, +1976), these conferences have been an important spiritual and social event for the youth of our Diocese ever since. This year’s conference – the theme of which is ‘The Life and Wisdom of the Holy Fathers’ – will be held from 27-31 December in Melbourne and is open to young people aged 18 - 30. More information is available here.
On Saturday 8 September and Sunday 9 September we had services for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the day of commemoration of Venerable Poemen the Great (+450 AD), a wise spiritual guide and one of the greatest of the Egyptian Desert Fathers. At Divine Liturgy, prayers were offered for peace in Ukraine and for rain. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about monasticism in the Egyptian desert and the teachings of Saint Poemen. Noting that it was the name-day of Patriarch Pimen (Izvekov) (+1990), Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia from 1970 until 1990, the rector also spoke about the difficult conditions of church life in Russia during the Soviet years and of the immense changes in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church since Patriarch Pimen’s repose.
On Tuesday 26 March and Wednesday 27 March 2019 the clergymen of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese will gather in Sydney for their customary Great Lenten Pastoral Conference. On Tuesday evening the clergy will meet at the church of All Saints of Russia in Croydon for the Rule of Preparation for Holy Communion at 5.00pm and Lenten Matins and confession at 6.00pm. On Wednesday morning from 8.00am the Hours and the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts will be served at Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral in Strathfield with Bishop George presiding and the clergy concelebrating. Those of the faithful who wish to do so are welcome to attend the service on Wednesday morning and – if properly prepared – to receive Holy Communion. Following Divine Liturgy the clergy will meet to discuss a range of pastoral and liturgical matters.
On Monday 27 August and Tuesday 28 August we had services for 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 Monday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Tuesday morning. The feast of the Dormition has a special significance for our parish as it was on this day in 1949 - 69 years ago this year - that the first known Orthodox Christian services in the Hunter Valley were served by Archpriest John Lupish (+1977) in the Anglican chapel at Greta Migrant Camp. Despite it being a working day, Divine Litugry on Tuesday was well-attended, with friends from Gosford joining our parishioners. Prayers were again offered for rain, and after the service many of those present gathered in the hall for light refreshments.
Our Spring 2018 Schedule of Services - covering September, October and November - is now available in PDF format. A copy of the English-language Spring 2018 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Spring 2018 Schedule of Services is available here. Printed copies in both languages are available in church. Services of note during Spring are Bishop George's visit on Sunday 23 September, services for the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God on Saturday-Sunday 13-14 October, a memorial service for Orthodox soldiers fallen in war on Sunday 11 November, and services on the anniversary of the repose of Archpriest John Lupish (+1977) on Wednesday-Thursday 21-22 November.
On Saturday 25 August an Sunday 26 August we had services for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost and for the Leave-taking of the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday prayers were offered for relief from drought in accordance with Bishop George’s directive. Receiving Holy Communion for the first time were the newly-baptised children Larissa and Nicholas Korlevic. Following the Prayer before the Amvon there was a blessing of honey, a gift to the parish, that was then distributed amongst the faithful. After the dismissal a memorial litia was served for the ever-memorable Alexander Medwedew (+2005), one of our church builders and a long-serving warden (starosta), it being the anniversary of his repose.
On 19 August 1949, just four days after his arrival in Australia, Archpriest John Lupish served the funeral of one year-old Irene Solomko. She was then laid to rest in the Greta Cemetery together with a number of other infants who died in an epidemic of measles that swept through the Greta Migrant Camp at that time. Father John went on to preside at five more burials at Greta: Wsewolod (Vsevelod) Shipilow (+1949, a boy of 18 months), Larisa Klebakin (+1950), Lydia Elagin (+1956), Alexander Melnik (+1970) and Ivan Elagin (+1977). In June 2015 our parish rector resolved that a general memorial service would be held in the Greta Cemetery each year on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of that first burial. This year’s memorial service was held on Saturday 25 August. Although in previous years our rector was joined by Archpriest Michael Solomko, Irene Solomko's younger brother and the President of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand, Father Michael was travelling abroad this year and so unable to be present. As usual, prayers were offered for the repose of the ever-memorable Archpriest John (+1977), his matushka Maria (+1979), and all those Orthodox Christians buried in the Greta Cemetery, amongst whom are a great many Ukrainian Orthodox. May their memory be eternal!
On Sunday 19 August, the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, the parish rector baptised two year-old Lorelei and five month-old Nello, the children of Andrew and Olga Korlevic. In baptism Lorelei was given the name Larissa in honour of the Martyr Larissa, and Nello was given the name Nicholas in honour of Saint Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. Larissa’s godparents were Anastasia Harwood, Mark McGee and Rachel McGee and Nicholas’s godparents were Anastasia Harwood, Angello Korlevic and Olivia Korlevic. We warmly congratulate Andrew and Olga and the godparents of their children, praying that God will grant His newly-baptised servants Larissa and Nicholas many years!
On Saturday 11 August and Sunday 12 August we had services for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Apostles of the Seventy Silas, Silvanus, Crescens, Epenetus and Andronicus (+1st C.). In accordance with Bishop George’s directive, prayers were offered at Divine Liturgy for relief from drought.
In view of ongoing severe drought conditions in significant parts of Australia, His Grace Bishop George issued a directive on 1 August 2018 that all parishes and monasteries of the Diocese offer prayers for God’s mercy and for rain. These prayers will continue until further notice.
On Saturday 21 July and Sunday 22 July we had services for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Hieromartyr Pancratius, bishop of Taormina in Sicily (+1st C.), an eyewitness in his childhood of our Lord’s ministry and a disciple of the Apostle Peter. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday we had visitors from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. In place of a sermon our parish rector read aloud in Russian and in English the Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, on the 100th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Righteous Royal Passion-Bearers. Following Divine Liturgy the parish children played games in the church yard before toasting marshmallows over a campfire.
On Saturday 7 July and Sunday 8 July we had services for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Right-believing Prince Peter and Princess Febronia, Wonderworkers of Murom, the heavenly patrons of love, faithfulness and family life. Following the Prayer before the Amvon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday there was a moleben to Saints Peter and Febronia at which all the married couples in our parish were commemorated by name and those present were sprinkled with holy water. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the life of Saints Peter and Febronia and the help that they give to those who are married by their example and by their prayers.
On Saturday 7 July, the feast-day of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, the Saint Naum of Ohrid Serbian Orthodox parish in Broadmeadow celebrated both its patronal feast-day (or “slava”) – Saint Naum is commemorated on 3 July – and the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the parish. His Grace Siluan, Ruling Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, presided at Divine Liturgy, concelebrating with the rector of that parish, Priest Dalibor Pavlovic, with our rector Archpriest James Carles, and with Deacon Petar Mrakic. Following the reading from the Holy Gospel Vladyka Siluan gave an edifying sermon on the significance of Saint John the Baptist. At the end of Divine Liturgy there was a threefold procession around the church with readings from the Holy Gospel and the blessing of kolachi - special rounded loaves of bread - and of koliva. Many gathered in the parish hall afterwards for a festive meal and a programme of spiritual and cultural items. Father Dalibor gave an interesting lecture on the history of the parish, noting the assistance that the parish had received from the ever-memorable Archpriest John Lupish and other priests of the Russian Orthodox Church over the years. We warmly congratulate Father Dalibor and the Serbian Orthodox people of Newcastle on this jubilee and wish them every blessing from the Lord.
The July 2018 issue of the official journal of the Australian-New Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is now available in our parishes. As usual, it contains a range of interesting articles in both Russian and English. In Russian: Послание митрополита Восточно-Американского и Нью-Йоркского Илариона, Первоиерарха Русской Зарубежной Церкви, по случаю 100-летия мученической кончины святых и благоверных Царственных Страстотерпцев; "Прислужник Св. Иоанна Шанхайского - История Русского рассеяния"; "Созерцатель или созидатель" - памяти прот. Симеона Кичакова; and more. In English: "Why do we pray for the dead on the second, ninth and fortieth day of a person's repose, and what is the basis for the practice?"; "Eight tips for Christian parents on raising chldren in today's world"; "The life story of Saint Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir"; and more. Copies are $5.00.
On Saturday 23 June and Sunday 24 June we had services for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the 222 New Martyrs of China slain during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. At Divine Liturgy the Prayer for Ukraine was read. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the background to the Boxer Rebellion, the fruits of Russian Orthodox missionary activity amongst the people of China, the bravery of the New Martyrs of China when faced with bitter torments from their countrymen, the history of their veneration, and their enduring witness to Christ.
On Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June we had services for the Second Sunday after Pentecost, the day of commemoration of All Saints who have shone forth in the land of Russia. Following the Litany of Fervent Supplication at Divine Liturgy the Prayer for the Prosperity of the Russian Church was read. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the history of the feast of All Saints of Russia, the beautiful icon painted in its honour by the ever-memorable Archimandrite Kyprian (Pyzhov) (+2001) of Jordanville, and the various paths to holiness amongst the saints.
On Sunday 10 June our parish published an educational leaflet, 'What is prosphora?'. This leaflet, prepared in collaboration with our neighbouring parish of Saint Panteleimon, Gosford, explains the symbolism and use of prosphora, the small loaves of bread offered during Divine Liturgy. The leaflet also explains the commemoration of the names of the living and the departed at Divine Liturgy. Printed copies are available in church.
On Saturday 26 May and Sunday 27 May we had services for the Great Feast of Pentecost, the commemoration of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. All-night vigil with the blessing of five loaves, wheat, wine and oil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy followed immediately by Vespers and the customary "kneeling prayers" was served on Sunday morning. Prior to the services our small church was beautifully decorated with green branches in honour of the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life. On Sunday we were joined by many friends from the Gosford parish and our rector concelebrated with Father Theodor Postelnisescu, rector of the Romanian Orthodox Community of the Apostle Andrew.
Our Winter 2018 Schedule of Services - covering June, July and August - is now available in PDF format. A copy of the English-language Winter 2018 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Winter 2018 Schedule of Services is available here. Printed copies in both languages are available in church.
On Monday 21 May and Tuesday 22 May we services had for the feast-day of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra in Lycia, modern-day Turkey, to Bari in Italy. On Monday evening All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served. As this feast-day of Saint Nicholas is the patronal feast of our parish, the customary blessing of water was served early on Tuesday morning. Although only a small number of parishioners were able to be present that day, we were joined by friends from the Gosford parish and from Saint Naum of Ohrid Serbian Orthodox Church in Broadmeadow, NSW. At Divine Liturgy our rector concelebrated with Father Dalibor Pavlovic, rector of the Broadmeadow parish. A moleben to Saint Nicholas was served immediately after Divine Liturgy, following which the usual prayers were offered for the Patriarch and the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Australian and Russian lands, parish office-bearers, the people present, and for our departed founders and parishioners. Congratulating the people with the feast-day, the parish rector spoke about the universal veneration of Saint Nicholas and of the reason for this, the unfailing help that Christians have received through his prayers over many centuries. Following the service many of those present gathered in the church hall for a simple feast-day lunch.
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.
The April 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 Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion in both Russian and English, there is a range of interesting articles in both languages. In Russian: "Догмат о Пресвятой Троице"; "Царь-Освободитель - 200 лет со дня рождения Александра II"; and more. In English: "Why on the right hand: The meaning of [wedding] rings in the Orthodox Tradition”; "A few tips on helping your children grow to become faithful Orthodox adults"; and more. Also included is a list of Diocesan recipients of the Partriarchal Medal commemorating the centenary of the re-establishment of the Patriarchate in the Russian Orthodox Church and a list of living and departed Diocesan clergy for commemoration in prayer. Copies are $5.00.
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.