On Saturday 10 August and Sunday 11 August we had services for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Martyr Callinicus of Gangra in Asia Minor (3rd-4th C.). In his sermon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday the parish rector spoke about the integrity and the heroic endurance of Martyr Callinicus and the importance of these things in bearing witness to the Christian faith, both in ancient times and in the present day.
The July 2019 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), 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: “Богородице-Казанский Монастырь готовится отметить 60-летие”; “Православный Богословский Институт Святых Кирилла и Мефодия”; “Храмы и их история память о Романовых за Рубежом”; “О неприкосновенности жизни человека с момента зачатия”; and more. In English: material concerning the twentieth anniversary of the Holy Fathers Mission in Warrnambool, Victoria; an article about the July 2019 residential school of the Saints Cyril and Methodius Orthodox Institute; an interview with Metropolitan Onuphry (Berezovsky), Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church; lives of the Orthodox Popes of Rome; and an article about why some priests can refuse to be spiritual fathers. Copies are $5.00.
On Saturday 27 July and Sunday 28 July we had services for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Fathers of the first six Ecumenical Councils and Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir, enlightener of the Russian people (+AD 1015). Serving together with the parish rector on Saturday evening was Protodeacon German Polorotov, a cleric of the Saints Cyril and Methodius Community and Saint Xenia church in Tweed Heads, NSW. On the following morning a blessing of water was served at 8.00am in commemoration of the baptism of Rus’. Joining Fathers James and German and presiding at Divine Liturgy was Archpriest Quentin de Castelbajac, rector of the parish of Saint John the Russian in Lyon, France. Following the Prayer before the Amvon there was a brief moleben to Saint Vladimir, and at the dismissal the faithful were sprinkled with the holy water.
On Saturday 13 July and Sunday 14 July we had services for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Unmercenary Healers Cosmas and Damian of Rome (+284 AD). In his sermon at Divine Liturgy the parish rector spoke about the way in which Saints Cosmas and Damian, gifted physicians, had radically applied the injunction of Christ: “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Noting that the kindness and selfless generosity of these two brother-saints had drawn many to the Gospel, he emphasised the importance of the pursuit of holiness in the Christian life as a means of revealing the truth to those around us.
On Saturday 13 July the parish rector, Archpriest James Carles, baptised Georgie Gooda, the infant daughter of Jared Gooda and Katia Chernyshova. Georgie, who was given the name Ksenia in baptism in honour of Blessed Ksenia of Saint Petersburg, had as her godparents her maternal grandmother Natalia Markuardt and Father James. We warmly congratulate Jared and Katia, and pray that God will grant His newly-baptised handmaiden good health, every blessing from above, and many years!
On Saturday 6 July the Saint Naum of Ohrid Serbian Orthodox parish in Broadmeadow celebrated its patronal feast-day (or “slava”). Saint Naum, one of the disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs, is commemorated on 3 July. 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, Presbyter Dalibor Pavlovic; our rector Archpriest James Carles; Presbyter Branko Bosancic, rector of Saint John the Baptist Serbian Orthodox parish in Wollongong, NSW); and Deacon Milosh Raketich. Praying in church was Protopresbyter-Stavrophore Miodrag Peric, the Serbian Orthodox Dean of New South Wales, and many visitors from Sydney and Wollongong. At the end of Divine Liturgy there was a threefold procession around the church with readings from the Holy Gospel and the blessing of the slavksi kolach – a special rounded loaf of bread - and of koliva. Many gathered in the parish hall afterwards for a festive meal and a programme of spiritual and cultural items.
On Saturday 29 June and Sunday 30 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. At Divine Liturgy prayers were offered for peace in Ukraine and the unity of the Orthodox Church and the Prayer for the Prosperity of the Russian Church was read. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the establishment in 1918 of the commemoration of All Saints of Russia, the icon of the feast painted by the ever-memorable Archimandrite Kyprian (Pyzhov) of Jordanville (+2001), and the importance of creating an environment in which holiness can flourish.
On Tuesday 18 June we learned with great sadness of the repose that morning of another of our oldest parishioners, church builder and long-serving chorister and Parish Council member Vitaly Korotkich (b.1925). Our parish rector served the funeral in our church on Tuesday 25 June. Vitaly was afterwards laid to rest at Wallsend Cemetery alongside his beloved wife Lydia (+1996). Eternal memory!
On Saturday 22 June and Sunday 23 June we had services for the First Sunday after Pentecost, the Sunday of All Saints. As it was the Day of Youth of the Russian Church Abroad, special prayers were offered for the children and young people of our parish and Diocese. Following the dismissal, a memorial litia was served for the newly-reposed Vitaly Korotkich.
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 Cotton 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.
On Tuesday 18 June we learned with great sadness of the repose that morning of another of our oldest parishioners, church builder and long-serving chorister and Parish Council member Vitaly Korotkich. Our parish rector will serve the funeral in our church at 10.00am on Tuesday 25 June 2019. Vitaly will afterwards be laid to rest at Wallsend Cemetery alongside his beloved wife Lydia. Eternal memory!
On Friday 31 May we learned with great sadness of the repose on the previous day of one of our oldest parishioners, Peter Schulha of Metford (b.1926). With Bishop George's blessing, our parish rector served the funeral at Saint Peter's Anglican Church, East Maitland on Tuesday 11 June. Peter was afterwards laid to rest at East Maitland Cemetery alongside his beloved wife Nadia (+March 2006), his father George, and other family members. Eternal memory!
On Saturday 8 June and Sunday 9 June we had services for the Seventh Sunday of Pascha and in honour of the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, convened in Nicaea (modern-day Iznik, Turkey) in 325 AD. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy the parish rector spoke about the history and significance of the Council and of the importance of faithfulness, like that of the Fathers, to Apostolic teaching, Holy Scripture, and the tradition of the Orthodox Church. Following the dismissal a litia was served for the repose of the soul of our newly-reposed parishioner, Peter Schulha.
On Saturday 8 June the parish rector baptised Ella James, the four year-old daughter of Meeyeon (Salome) D’Arcy and Darren James. Ella, who was baptised in honour of the New-Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth, had as her godparents Meejung Hughes, Parichat James, Mark Evans and Warren James. We warmly congratulate Meeyeon, Darren, and Ella’s godparents, and pray that God will grant health and many years to His newly-baptised handmaiden Ella.
A group of young families working under the auspices of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin parish in Cabramatta, NSW, is again organising a camp for Russian and other Orthodox children and young people aged 8-17 to be held in Toukley, NSW - here on the Central Coast - from 15 December - 20 December 2019. The cost will be $425.00 per person, or $399.00 if payment is made by 30 September 2019. For those interested, more information is available here.
On Friday 31 May we learned with great sadness of the repose on the previous day of one of our oldest parishioners, Peter Schulha of Metford. With Bishop George's blessing, our parish rector will serve the funeral at Saint Peter's Anglican Church, East Maitland, at 10.00am on Tuesday 11 June 2019. Peter will afterwards be laid to rest at East Maitland Cemetery alongside his beloved wife Nadia (+March 2006) and other family members. Eternal memory!
On 29 May 2019 His Grace Bishop George of Canberra advised parish rectors and monastic superiors that the Nineteenth Diocesan Assembly of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese would be convened at the Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral in Strathfield, NSW, in November 2019. Commencing on the evening of Thursday 14 November and concluding on the afternoon of Sunday 17 November, the Assembly will coincide with Diocesan celebrations of the thirty-fifth anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion’s consecration to the episcopacy on 10 December 1984. As all Diocesan clergy will be participating in the Assembly and associated commemorative activities, the only services in our Diocese on Saturday-Sunday 16-17 November will be at the Strathfield Cathedral. Information about the Eighteenth Diocesan Assembly, held in Cabramatta in November 2016, is available here.
On Saturday 25 May and Sunday 26 May we had services for the Fifth Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman. This Sunday is so named because the appointed reading from the Holy Gospel is the account of the conversation of Christ with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob's Well (John 4:5-42). As our parish had celebrated its patronal feast of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas on Wednesday 22 May, His Grace Bishop George of Canberra visited us on Sunday and presided at Divine Liturgy. Adding to the festivity of the occasion, the Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Australia sang at Divine Liturgy in place of our parish choir and following the service there was a moleben – or service of intercession - to Saint Nicholas, a procession around the church, and a festive lunch in the church hall for our parishioners and guests. Joining us for the moleben were Priest Dalibor Pavlovic and parishioners from the Serbian Orthodox parish of Saint Naum of Ohrid in Broadmeadow. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy Bishop George spoke about the need to choose between truth and falsehood. Speaking in the hall during lunch, our parish rector welcomed Bishop George, Father Dalibor and his parishioners, and Reader Nektary Kotlaroff and the choir. Noting that the faithful were encouraged to see young people in the diaspora holding fast to the faith and traditions of the Orthodox Church, he congratulated the members of the choir on their efforts and achievements to date. He then wished them all the best for their trip to the United States in late 2019.
Our Winter 2019 Schedule of Services - covering June, July and August - is now available in PDF format. Services of note during this period include the commemoration of All Saints of Russia on Saturday-Sunday 29-30 June, the commemoration of Saint Vladimir on Saturday-Sunday 27-28 July, the annual memorial service at Greta Cemetery on Saturday 24 August, and services for the Dormition of the Mother of God on Tuesday-Wednesday 27-28 August. The services for the Dormition will also mark 70 years of Russian Orthodoxy in the Hunter Valley. A copy of the English-language Winter 2019 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Winter 2019 Schedule of Services is available here. Printed copies in both languages are now available in church.
On Tuesday 21 May and Wednesday 22 May we had services for the feast of Mid-Pentecost and in honour of the patronal feast of our parish, the commemoration of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra in Lycia to Bari, Italy, in 1087 AD. Mid-Pentecost is the twenty-fifth day of Pascha, half-way to the Great Feast of Pentecost on the fiftieth day. On this day the Orthodox Church commemorates Christ's teaching in the temple "in the midst of the Judaic feast" (John 7:14-30) and customarily blesses water as a sign of the grace of the Holy Spirit and with reference to the "living water" promised by our Lord Jesus Christ to all that believe in Him (John 7:37-38). All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Tuesday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Wednesday morning following a Lesser Blessing of Water. Our small week-day congregation was augmented with visitors from the Serbian and Macedonian communities in Newcastle, this commemoration of Saint Nicholas being greatly loved amongst the Slavic peoples.
On Saturday 11 May and Sunday 12 May we had services for the Third Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women. This Sunday is so named because the appointed reading from the Holy Gospel at Divine Liturgy (Mark 15:43-16:8) gives an account of the service to our Lord Jesus Christ of the Myrrh-Bearing Women and with them Righteous Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Amongst the Myrrh-Bearing Women the Orthodox Church includes Mary Magdalene; Mary, the wife of Cleopas; Joanna; Salome, mother of the sons of Zebedee; Susanna; Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus; and Mary, Mother of the Apostle James. Following the Prayer before the Amvon the prayer at the breaking of the Artos was then read. In place of a sermon, the parish rector read aloud the Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion. As it was Mothers’ Day, the parish rector congratulated the mothers of the parish and, after wishing them all help from God in their maternal duties, intoned “Many Years” for them. Flowers were them presented to Matushka Marie on behalf of the parish and pieces of the blessed Artos were given to the faithful as they venerated the Cross.
On Monday 6 May and Tuesday 7 May 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 all of the departed clergy of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese were mentioned by name, together with our departed parishioners, family members and friends. Prayers were also offered for those who perished in the aircraft fire in Moscow on 5 May 2019. Graveside litias were then served in Wallsend, Sandgate and East Maitland cemeteries.
This year, our parish again had a number of traditional services for Holy Week and Pascha. In the evening on Thursday 25 April, Great and Holy Thursday, Matins with the reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels was served. On Friday 26 April, Great and Holy Friday, Vespers with the bringing out of the Shroud of Christ was served at 3.00pm. On Saturday 27 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 28 April, the Sunday of Pascha. Easter baskets containing eggs, cakes and other festive foods were blessed following Matins. Following Divine Liturgy, a small group of the faithful gathered in the church hall for a festive meal.
The April 2019 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), 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: Пасхальное Послание Митрополита Илариона; "О призвании общественном служении женщины-христианки"; and more. In English: The Paschal Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia; the Communique of the 2019 Lenten Conference of the Clergy of the Diocese; a brief obituary of Father Seraphim Slade; details of a number of awards given to clergymen of the Diocese; and more. A Russian-language copy of the decision of the Synod of Bishops to deprive Abbot Christopher (Vakhabov) of the priesthood is also included, together with an English-language translation. Copies are $5.00.
On Friday 19 April and Saturday 20 April 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 received Holy Communion at Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning. At the end of the service palms and pussy-willow branches were blessed in anticipation of Palm Sunday and a collection was taken up to assist the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem.
On the evening of Tuesday 16 April 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. Together with the clergy, approximately 35 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 who are grievously ill, is a customary part of Great Lent.
On Saturday 13 April and Sunday 14 April we had services for the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent and in honour of Saint Mary of Egypt (c.421 AD). After a period of three weeks without services, our small church looked beautiful with the floor newly sanded and polished for the first time since it was laid in the 1960s. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday the parish rector spoke about the life of Saint Mary of Egypt and of her as a model of repentance.
On Sunday 14 April the parish rector baptised Jason Greig, the infant son of Chris Greig and Maria Olyunina. He was baptised in honour of the Apostle Jason of the Seventy. Jason had as his godparents Alexander and Virinea Sukhikh. We warmly congratulate Chris, Maria, Alexander and Virinea and wish the newly-baptised Jason many years!
On Saturday 23 March and Sunday 24 March we had services for the Second Sunday of Great Lent and in honour of Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica (+AD 1359). As Saturday 23 March was a day of commemoration of the departed, the service on Saturday evening was preceded by a general panikhida at which many departed clergymen of our Diocese, parishioners, relatives and friends were commemorated by name. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday the parish rector spoke about the life and teaching of Saint Gregory Palamas and about the approachability and mercy of God. Following Divine Liturgy a collection was taken up to benefit the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY.
On Saturday 9 March and Sunday 10 March we had services for the Sunday of Forgiveness and Cheesefare Sunday. After the Prayer before the Amvon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday, the prayer of blessing was read over two beautiful new server's vestments, one red and one black. At the end of Divine Liturgy the newly-blessed vestments - the work of the Convent of Saint Elisabeth in Minsk, Belarus - were presented to Subdeacon Luke Goura as a gift from the parish in antcipation of the fifteenth anniversary of his tonsure as a reader in May 2004. Vespers was then served, during which the church vestments were changed from gold to black and the ordinary melodies gave way to the solemn melodies of Great Lent. In accordance with Orthodox practice, at the end of Vespers all present asked forgiveness of one another. At Bishop George’s request, a collection was taken up to benefit Saints Cyril and Methodius Orthodox Institute, the theological and higher education institute of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
Our Autumn 2019 Schedule of Services - covering March, April and May 2019 - is now available. It includes all our services for Great Lent, Holy Week, Pascha, Radonitsa and our patronal feast of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra in Lycia to Bari. A copy of the English-language Autumn 2019 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Autumn 2019 Schedule of Services is available here. Both can also be accessed on our Services page, and printed copies are available in church.
On Saturday 23 February the parish rector baptised Anastasia Crawford, the infant daughter of Stephen and Deborah Crawford and a younger sister to Florence. Anastasia had as her godparents Nathalie Crawford and Duncan Crawford. We warmly congratulate Stephen, Deborah, Nathalie and Duncan and wish the the newly-baptised Anastasia many years!
On Saturday 9 February and Sunday 10 February we had services for the Thirty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. As this Sunday was the final Sunday before the beginning of the period of preparation for Great Lent, the first appointed reading from the Holy Gospel (Luke 19:1-10) at Divine Liturgy concerned Zaccheus, the tax collector from Jericho who changed his way of life after encountering Christ and receiving Him into his home. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday the parish rector spoke about Zaccheus as a model of repentance and the New Martyrs and Confessors as models of faithfulness to Christ in the face of persecution. Following Divine Liturgy announcements were made concerning the forthcoming collection to assist Orthodox Action and the rescheduled parish Annual General Meeting to be held on Sunday 24 February 2019.
On Saturday 26 January and Sunday 27 January we had services for the Thirty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and the Leavetaking of the Great Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Matins on Saturday evening was served by Father Dionysios Halim and Protodeacon German Polorotoff, a cleric of the Saints Cyril and Methodius Community in Tweed Heads, NSW. On Sunday morning our parish rector Archpriest James Carles presided at Divine Liturgy for the first time since November 2018, concelebrating together with Fathers Dionysios and German. At the Prayer before the Amvon a brief moleben of thanksgiving was served in recognition of the work of the former Theophany parish of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) (1994-2009), and following the dismissal prayers were offered for the living and departed founders, benefactors and parishioners of that church. At the conclusion of the service our parish rector thanked Father Dionysios for his work in the parish and his personal support over the previous two months, presenting him with a copy of the parish icon of the Mother of God, “Protectress of Newcastle”. A festive meal was then held in to church hall in honour of the parish rector’s fiftieth birthday.
On Friday 25 January our small parish had the great honour of receiving the revered Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, one of the great treasures of the Russian Orthodox Church and the “Directress” of the Russian Diaspora. A small group of the Russian and Serbian Orthodox faithful of Newcastle gathered early in the evening for a moleben to the Mother of God with the reading of the Akathist in Slavonic and English. Following the service the faithful venerated the icon and were anointed with oil from the map that burns before it in the cathedral dedicated to it in New York.
On Friday 18 January and Saturday 19 January we had services for the Great Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ - Theophany. All-night vigil - Great Compline and Matins - withe the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Friday evening and Divine Liturgy with the Great Blessing of Water was served on Saturday morning. The services were led by Father Dionysios Halim, with our parish rector concelebrating at Divine Liturgy and the Great Blessing of Water.
On Saturday 12 January and Sunday 13 January we had services for the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ and in honour of Saints Joseph the Betrothed, David the King and James the Brother of the Lord, kinsmen of the Lord customarily remembered on this Sunday. Our parish rector served at Divine Liturgy for the first time since November 2018, concelebrating with Father Dionysios Halim.
On Sunday 6 January and Monday 7 January we had services for the Great Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. The services were led by Father Dionysios Halim, with our parish rector joining him during the evening service for the customary blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves and the singing of the festal magnification. Our small church was beautifully adorned with a Christmas tree and green branches. On Monday the faithful from across the Hunter Valley and from Sydney, the Central Coast and the Mid North Coast gathered for Divine Liturgy. In place of a sermon, our parish rector read aloud the Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion in Russian and English. Many remained afterwards for a festive meal in the church hall and a visit from Father Christmas.
The January 2019 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), 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 Архиерейского Синода Клиру и Пастве Русской Зарубежной Церкви”; "Патриаршество на Руси"; "Торжество Православия – торжество здравого смысла”; and more. In English: “The Epistle of the Synod of Bishops to the Clergy and Flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia”; “Prototypes of the Nativity: What did prophets say about the coming of the Saviour?”; “Where do liturgical colours come from?”; “A list of last minute rules and suggestions in preparation for Great Lent”; and more. Also included is a useful list of Diocesan parishes, monastic establishments and clergy. Copies are $5.00.