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Now available - the December 2021 issue of "Word of the Church" ("Церковное Слово") - 31/12/2021

The December 2021 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), the official journal of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, is now available in our parishes. This edition continues the beautiful glossy colour format introduced in December 2021.  Content includes Metropolitan Hilarion’s 2021-22 Nativity Epistle in Russian; ‘Скорбней Юбилей’, a Russian-language article about the centenary of the 1922 Soviet decree confiscating church valuables; details of clergy movements and awards; a Russian-language list of living and departed Diocesan clergy for commemoration in church and in private prayer; ‘The Relationship Between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia in the period from 1950 until 1969’, the English-language text of a lecture presented to the ROCOR Centenary Conference; and more.  Copies are $5.00.


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2021 - The year in review - 31/12/2021

This year, like 2020, was dominated by the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it.  Our parish had no public services from Monday 2 August until Saturday 23 October – a period of almost three months! – and various other restrictions were in place for the entire year.  We had five baptisms including Gabriel Golovdovski and Lira Koster.  We laid to rest two long-serving and much loved members of the parish, Anna Morhun and Eugenia Thoroughgood (nee Kallaur).  Prayers were offered on the two-hundredth anniversary of the assassination of Emperor Paul I of Russia.  We acquired new blue and green vestments for the altar table and church, a new seven-branched lampstand for the sanctuary, and a new candle-stand for the church.  Together with the Gosford parish we provided an English-Russian wall calendar commemorating the centenary of the First All-Diaspora Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.  Our website provided updated information to help with the planning of weddings and instructive material about Sunday commemorations and readings and certain Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church.  The renovation of our sacristy was almost completed and planning for further improvements to the church and grounds commenced.  Our parish rector made pastoral visits to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales in January and May.  All the news from 2021 can be read here.  Glory be to God for all things!


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Services on 18-19 December, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost - 19/12/2021

On Saturday 18 December and Sunday 19 December we had services for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, archbishop of Myra in Lycia (+c.345 AD).  This summer feast-day of Saint Nicholas is the lesser patronal feast-day of our church.  All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  At both services, our parish rector was assisted by Deacon Michel Matys.  Divine Liturgy was preceded by a blessing of water and followed by a moleben to Saint Nicholas with a procession around the church.  At the end of the moleben the parish rector offered congratulations to our Warden Nikolai Goura and Parish Council member Dean (Nicholas) Crawford, both of whom were celebrating their name-day.


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A baptism - Lira Koster - 18/12/2021

On Saturday 18 December the parish rector baptised the infant Lira, the first child of James and Masha Koster.  Lira, who was baptised in honour of the Martyr Valeria of Caesarea, had as her godparents Victorya Atrahimovich and Craig Beck.  We warmly congratulate James, Masha, Victorya and Craig, and pray that God will grant His newly-baptised servant Valeria good health, every blessing from above, and many years!


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Useful information about when weddings can be celebrated, together with a list of available dates in 2022 and 2023 - 17/12/2021

In conjunction with Saint Panteleimon Russian Orthodox Church, Gosford, our parish has developed and published an explanation of the reasons why weddings cannot be celebrated on certain days and dates and during certain seasons. It incorporates a list of Sundays and Fridays on which weddings can be celebrated that has now been updated to include Sundays and Fridays in 2023.  This information, which can be accessed either here or via our Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals page, 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 Outside Russia. Should anyone have any questions about this information, please contact us.


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Our 2021 Annual General Meeting - 12/12/2021

On Sunday 12 December our parish held its 2021 Annual General Meeting.  The 2021 Annual Report was presented and accepted.  The path of parish life and plans for the future were discussed, following which Nikolai Goura was elected Warden for a sixth consecutive three-year term, and Irene Lupish, Olga Bogacheva, Lucea Szabunia, Anu Kinnunen and Dean (Nicholas) Crawford were elected to serve on the 2021-22 Parish Council.  


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Services on 11-12 December, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - 12/12/2021

On Saturday 11 December and Sunday 12 December we had services for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Martyr Paramon and 370 martyrs with him in Bithynia (+250 AD).  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  At both services, our parish rector was assisted by Deacon Michel Matys.  At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read.  Following Divine Liturgy an announcement was made concerning the parish Annual General Meeting to be held that afternoon.


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The repose and funeral of Eugenia Thoroughgood (née Kallaur) - 08/12/2021

On Friday 19 November we learned with great sadness of the repose, early that morning, of Eugenia (“Zhenya”) Thoroughgood (née Kallaur, b.1938), a much-loved member of our parish.  Born in Belarus, Zhenya came to Australia via Poland, Germany, and Italy, arriving in October 1949.  After living for a time at the Greta Migrant Camp, Zhenya’s family became deeply involved in our parish, with her father Anton helping build our church and later serving as a trustee.  Zhenya, a humble and pious woman who rarely missed a service, for many years sang in the choir and helped with cleaning and the changing of the church vestments.  Her funeral was served on Friday 26 November; she was laid to rest in Sandgate Cemetery on Wednesday 8 December, her burial having been delayed by heavy rain.  We offer heartfelt condolences to Zhenya’s daughters Karen, Tania and Natalie, and to her grandchildren.  May God grant this good and faithful servant of our parish rest with the saints and make her memory to be eternal!


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Our 2021 Annual Report - 03/12/2021

Our 2021 Annual Report, including the independently audited 2020-21 Financial Statements, is now available.  It includes information about the governance of our parish and gives a little parish history.  It also summarises the life and activity of the parish in 2020-21 and provides details of some future projects.  A copy of the report, which will be formally presented to our parish Annual General Meeting on Sunday 12 December 2021, is available here.  We encourage our parishioners and friends with questions or comments concerning our Annual Report to contact us.


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Services on 27-28 November, the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost - 28/11/2021

On Saturday 27 November and Sunday 28 November we had services for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Martyrs and Confessors Gurias, Samonas, and Abibus of Edessa (+3rd-4th Century AD).  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  At both services, our parish rector was assisted by Deacon Michel Matys.  At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read. Following Divine Liturgy a memorial litia was served for the ever-memorable Archpriest John Lupish (+22 November 1977); our much-loved parishioner Evgenia Thoroughgood (+19 November 2021); and Protodeacon Anatol Daniluk (+16 November 2021), a long-serving cleric of the Białystok and Gdańsk Diocese of the Polish Orthodox Church and a preceptor of Deacon Michel.  Afterwards, an announcement was made concerning the parish Annual General Meeting to be held, God willing, on Sunday 12 December 2021, and a collection was taken up to benefit the Fund for Assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.


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Our Summer 2021-22 Schedule of Services - 21/11/2021

Our Summer 2021-22 Schedule of Services - covering December, January and February - is now available in PDF format.  A copy of the English-language Summer 2021-22 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Summer 2021-22 Schedule of Services is available here.  Printed copies in both languages will be available in church from the weekend of 27-28 November.   Services of note will be for the summer feast of Saint Nicholas on 18-19 December; the Sunday after the Great Feast of the Nativity Of the Lord (Christmas) on 8-9 January; the Sunday after the Great Feast of Baptism of the Lord (Theophany) on 22-23 January, a day on which we commemorate Newcastle's former Theophany parish; and the commemoration of the departed on Saturday 26 February.


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Services on 13-14 November, the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost - 14/11/2021

Updated 28 November: On Saturday 13 November and Sunday 14 November we had services for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Unmercenary Healers and Wonderworkers, Cosmas and Damian of Mesopotamia (+3rd Century AD).  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  At both services, our parish rector was assisted by Deacon Michel Matys.  Our choir was beautifully augmented on Sunday by a small group of experienced singers from the Sydney parishes visiting the Hunter Valley for the weekend.  At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read.  Following the Prayer before the Amvon there was a blessing of honey that was afterwards distributed to those present. In his sermon, the parish rector spoke about Saints Cosmas and Damian, saints who were skilled physicians; about unmercenary healers who, recognising their skill as God’s gift, have taken literally Christ’s instruction to “freely give” (Matthew 10:8); about each one of us using our own specific gifts for the glory of God; and about the importance, particularly in our current circumstances, of understanding and accepting that God helps us by means of the medical skill and wisdom that he has given to physicians.  An announcement was made concerning the parish Annual General Meeting to be held, God willing, on Sunday 12 December 2021.


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Saint Jonah's Russian Orthodox School Committee hosts an online forum about home-schooling - 07/11/2021

On Sunday 7 November Saint Jonah’s Russian Orthodox School Committee, a Sydney-based charitable organisation supporting initiatives in education from a Russian Orthodox perspective, hosted an online forum on home education.  Participating in the forum were Bishop George, Archpriest George Lapardin, members of the Committee, teachers from within the Russian Orthodox community, and parents considering home education.  Presentations were given by two home educators, Katherine Iliuk and our own Matushka Marie Carles.  Matushka Marie, who has over 25 years’ experience as a home educator, spoke about the reasons for home-schooling, the various methods of home-schooling, the practicalities of each method, and the pros and cons for parents and children.  Candidly reflecting on her own experience as a home educator, she emphasised the need to consider the long-term personal, social, and occupational implications of home-schooling for the children involved.  Following the presentations, participants were able to ask questions of the speakers, share their own experiences, and make comments.


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Now available - the October 2021 issue of "Word of the Church" ("Церковное Слово") - 01/11/2021

The October 2021 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), the official journal of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, has recently become available in our parishes. This edition continues the beautiful glossy colour format introduced in December 2021.  Content includes, in both Russian and English, Metropolitan Hilarion’s Jubilee Epistle; details of clergy awards and movements; an appeal and a statement from Bishop George relating to the COVID-19 pandemic; ‘Why Keep the Ten Commandments’; material on Saint Alexander Nevsky; ‘About the Power of a Child’s Prayer’; ‘The Beginning of Construction of the First Church [in Australia] in Memory of the All-Russian Wonder-Worker, St John of Kronstadt’; and more.  Copies are $5.00.


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Services on 23-24 October, the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost - 24/10/2021

On Saturday 23 October and Sunday 24 October we had services for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council.  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read.  Serving together with the parish rector, Archpriest James Carles, was Deacon Michal Matys, a cleric of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese who has recently moved to the Hunter region.  Many of the faithful took the opportunity to confess and receive Holy Communion.  Following the Prayer before the Amvon, prayers of blessing were read over a new seven-branched lampstand for the sanctuary and a new candlestand for the church.  In his sermon Father James spoke about the history of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, the authority of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and other councils of bishops, and the importance of attending to reliable authorities in spiritual matters.  At the dismissal, Father James expressed his joy at the recommencement of services following the long COVID-19-related lockdown and welcomed Father Michal and his family to the parish.


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The October 2021 meeting of the Parish Council - 07/10/2021

On Thursday 7 October, the Parish Council met by teleconference.  The usual reports on parish life and finances were tabled and discussed.  A decision was made to recommence services in our parish on the weekend of 23-24 October, provided that the 80 per cent vaccination target is reached in New South Wales and vaccination status has no impact on church attendance.  It was further agreed that the 2021 Annual General Meeting of the parish would be convened on Sunday 12 December, and that an architect would be engaged to help the Parish Council develop a Master Plan for ongoing improvements to the parish buildings and grounds.  The Parish Council is due to meet next in November 2021.


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Australian parishes of our Diocese to serve a moleben on Sunday 19 September - 18/09/2021

At the request of Bishop George of Canberra, Administrator of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, the Australian parishes of our diocese will on Sunday 19 September serve the “Moleben sung in time of devastating epidemic and death bearing pestilence”.  Noting “the turmoil in our country at the present time”, Bishop George has asked that the moleben be served after Divine Liturgy “so that God may have mercy on us and grant us peace and health”.  As our church in Wallsend remains closed for public services the moleben will not be served in our parish.  May our merciful God nevertheless deliver us from sickness, death, and strife amongst His people!


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The August 2021 meeting of the Parish Council - 31/08/2021

On Tuesday 31 August the Parish Council met by teleconference.  The usual reports on parish life and finances were tabled and discussed.  Our parish rector reported that a new seven-branched lampstand had been purchased for the sanctuary and that a new candle-stand had been purchased for placement before our icon of the Mother of God, "All Creation Rejoices in Thee".  An update was given on ongoing renovations and a number of proposed improvements to the parish facilities and grounds; a decision on further work was set aside until the Parish Council can meet in person to discuss the matter.  It was noted that places of worship in regional New South Wales had been closed to the public since the first week of August, and that it remained unclear when public services would again be possible.  The Parish Council will meet again prior to the next public services.


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Jubilee Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad - 28/08/2021

In a Jubilee Epistle to the clergy and faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion writes: “In this special year of the 800th anniversary of the birth of the Holy Right-Believing Alexander, that wise diplomat and ruler, and the centennial of the I All-Diaspora Council – which took place from November 21 to December 2, 1921, in Sremski Karlovci – the Russian Orthodox people living in the Diaspora are called to augmented prayer, the doing of good deeds in all respects, and a private examination of the tablets of history, so that, by drawing from it much-needed strength and inspiration, they might continue in fortitude and renewal of spirit the patient bearing of their life’s cross. We celebrate anniversaries in our lives and honour the jubilee celebrant; so must we also unite ourselves in one common assembly and with great zeal confirm ourselves in Holy Orthodoxy, by no means shaming the memory of the Venerable Prince and of our ever-memorable forebears in the Diaspora, or the honour of our dear Mother – the Local Russian Orthodox Church”. The complete Jubilee Epistle can be read in Russian here and in English here.


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An academic conference to mark the Centenary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia - 27/08/2021

In 2020 our Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia observed the centenary of its foundation.  To mark this historic anniversary, an academic conference will be held in Belgrade, Serbia, in November this year.  Titled ‘Links between Times: Conclusions and Perspectives – On the Centennial of the Russian Church Abroad’, the conference has been organised by the Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the website Historical Studies of the Russian Church Abroad.  The conference will be broadcast live.  A detailed program with information about registration is available here.


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Services on 31 July - 1 August, the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost - 01/08/2021

On Saturday 31 July and Sunday 1 August we had services for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils and the finding of the relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov (1903).  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  As a result of ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions in New South Wales, attendance at both services was limited to 32 people.  At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read and, following the Prayer before the Amvon, a brief moleben to Saint Seraphim was served.  In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils and of Saint Seraphim of Sarov as defenders of Orthodoxy, both intellectually and in their manner of life.


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Services on 24-25 July, the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - 26/07/2021

On Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 July we had services for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Martyrs Hilary and Proclus of Ancyra (+Second Century AD) and Venerable Michael Maleinos (+961 AD).  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read.  As a result of ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions in New South Wales, attendance at both services was limited to 32 people.  In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the lives and witness of the saints commemorated.


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Services on 10-11 July, the Third Sunday after Pentecost - 11/07/2021

On Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 July we had services for the Third Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Unmercenary Healers and Wonderworkers Cyrus and John (+ 412 AD).  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.   As a result of ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions in New South Wales, attendance at services was limited to 32 people.  In his sermon on Sunday the parish rector spoke about the commemorations of saints on the first three Sundays after Pentecost and of seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).


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Services on 26-27 June, the First Sunday after Pentecost - 27/06/2021

On Saturday 26 June and Sunday 27 June we had services for the First Sunday after Pentecost, the Sunday of All Saints and the Day of Youth of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  As a result of COVID-19 restrictions that took effect in New South Wales on Saturday 26 June, attendance at services was limited to 32 people.  At the end of Divine Liturgy a brief moleben was served for the young people of our parish and for all ROCOR youth.  In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the history of the commemoration of All Saints on the First Sunday after Pentecost and of this day as the ROCOR Day of Youth.


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Services on 12-13 June, the Seventh Sunday of Pascha - 13/06/2021

On Saturday 12 June and Sunday 13 June we had services for the Seventh Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council and the Afterfeast of Ascension.  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read.  Following the Prayer before the Amvon, prayers of blessing were read over two new sets of vestments for the altar and icon stands, one green and one blue, ordered by our Ladies' Auxiliary from the sewing workshop of Saint Elisabeth Convent in Minsk, Belarus.  Prayers of blessing were also read over new icons of Martyr Natalia and Saint Nina, Equal-to-the-Apostles, gifts to our parish from the Kuleschow family.  In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the history and accomplishments of the First Ecumenical Council.


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Services on 22-23 May, the Fourth Sunday of Pascha - 23/05/2021

On Saturday 22 May and Sunday 23 May we had services for the Fourth Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Paralytic.  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read.  In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the forty-day celebration of the Resurrection of Christ in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church and of Christ as a compassionate God able to raise us up who are “paralysed grievously by all manner of sins and unseemly deeds” (from the kontakion for the Sunday of the Paralytic).


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Services on 21-22 May, the feast of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas - 22/05/2021

On Friday 21 May and Saturday 22 May we had services commemorating the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra in Lycia to Bari, Italy, in 1087 AD.  This is the patronal feast-day of our church.  All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Friday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Saturday morning. Divine Liturgy was preceded by the Lesser Blessing of Water and followed by a moleben to Saint Nicholas with a procession around the church.  Praying in the altar during Divine Liturgy was Priest Theodor Postelnisescu of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of Australia and New Zealand, and we were joined in church by friends from the Gosford parish.  Following the services our parish rector spoke about the veneration of Saint Nicholas throughout the Christian world, thanked Father Theodor for his prayers, and congratulated all present on the patronal feast-day of the parish.  A festive BBQ lunch was then held in the church hall and grounds, the first major social gathering in the parish since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Our Winter 2021 Schedule of Services - 20/05/2021

Our Winter 2021 Schedule of Services - covering June, July and August - is now available in PDF format.  Services of note during this period include those for Saint Seraphim of Sarov on 31 July-1 August, for the beginning of the Domition Fast and the Procession of the Wood of the Cross on 13-14 August, and for the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God on 27-28 August.  A copy of the English-language Winter 2021 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Winter 2021 Schedule of Services is available here.  Printed copies in both languages will be available in church as of the weekend of 22-23 May.


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Services on 8-9 May, the Second Sunday of Pascha - 09/05/2021

On Saturday 8 May and Sunday 9 May we had services for the Second Sunday of Pascha, Thomas Sunday.  All-night Vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  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 Metropolitan Hilarion’s Paschal Epistle in Russian and in English.  After the veneration of the cross, pieces of the Artos were distributed to the faithful.


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Now available - the April 2021 issue of "Word of the Church" ("Церковное Слово") - 02/05/2021

The April 2021 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), the official journal of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, has recently become available in our parishes. This Paschal edition continues the beautiful glossy colour format introduced in December 2021.  Content includes Metropolitan Hilarion’s Paschal Epistle in Russian and English; details of ordinations and clergy appointments; a list of living and departed clergy of the Diocese for commemoration in prayer; a letter from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in Australia to the NSW Attorney-General concerning confession and mandatory reporting of child sexual offences; a directory of clergy and parishes; ‘Christian Morals and Values Shaping the Future of the Russian World’, a paper presented at a seminar in Germany in 2015; and more.  Copies are $5.00.


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Holy Week and Pascha in Newcastle, 2021 - 02/05/2021

This year, our parish again had a number of traditional services for Holy Week and PaschaMatins with the reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels was served in the evening on Thursday 29 April, Vespers with the bringing out of the Shroud of Christ at midday on Friday 30 April, Matins with Lamentations before the Tomb of Christ in the evening on Friday 30 April, and Divine Liturgy in the morning on Saturday 1 May.  On Saturday evening we had an early Midnight Office and procession followed by Paschal Matins and the blessing of Easter baskets with cakes, eggs, and other festive foods.


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The 2021 Paschal Epistle of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia - 01/05/2021

The 2021 Paschal Epistle of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia may be read in English here and in Russian hereAn extract: "From year to year, from century to century, from millennium to millennium, this thanksgiving triumphantly resounds throughout the world – resounds despite all temptations, hardships and ordeals. And it does not stop today, when the world is suffering from the baneful pestilence.  At these trying times it is particularly important to support those diseased and infirm, those grieving over the loss of their relatives and friends, those who have lost their livelihood, those who cannot come to church. Let us do what we can to help the afflicted, let us not walk with indifference past the people in need of our concern, attention and care".


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The 2021 Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia - 01/05/2021

The 2021 Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, may be read in English here and in Russian hereAn extract: "Together, as we send up gratitude to God, Who has spared our souls from death, for the preservation of our life and the opportunity to spend the present highly-exalted days in church, we should not forsake those lessons that are given to us by current events. Let us not neglect the health measures implemented for staving off the coronavirus infection, as the Sacred Scriptures say: “before you fall ill, take care of your health” (Sirach 18:19). This means that precaution is itself a lifesaving medicine. Let us also not forsake prayer that the plague – which has distressed many with the fear of death – will pass, that the Lord, just as in the Old Testament, will relent “concerning the disaster” and say to the Angel who is afflicting us, "Enough! Withdraw your hand" (2 Samuel 24:16)".


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Services on 24-25 April, Palm Sunday - 26/04/2021

On Saturday 24 April and Sunday 25 April we had services for Palm Sunday, the Sixth Sunday of Great Lent and the Great Feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.  All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil, and five loaves and the blessing of palms and pussy-willows was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  Prior to the services our small church had been cleaned and beautifully decorated with palm branches.  On Sunday we were joined by friends from the Gosford parish for our largest service since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  Many of those present received Holy Communion. As 25 April was Anzac Day, the major day of commemoration in Australia of those fallen in war, Divine Liturgy was followed by a memorial litia for all Orthodox Christian soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses who have fallen in the field of battle, and for all Orthodox Christians who have died in war.  A collection was then taken up to benefit the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jersualem, raising over $500.


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A General Service of Anointing with Oil - 21/04/2021

On the evening of Tuesday 20 April we had a General Service of Anointing with Oil.  Together with the parish rector, thirty of our parishioners gathered 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.


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The April 2021 meeting of the Parish Council - 12/04/2021

On Monday 12 April the Parish Council met by teleconference.  The usual reports on parish life and finances were tabled and discussed and an update was given on our renovations and other proposed improvements to the parish facilities and grounds.  The arrangements for managing attendance at the Easter services were considered, together with plans for our patronal feast of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas on 21-22 May.  It was noted that the Ladies' Auxiliary, having received donations for this purpose, would be purchasing new blue and green covers for the altar table and icon stands.  The Parish Council is due to meet again in mid-May 2021.


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Services on 10-11 April, the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent - 11/04/2021

On Saturday 10 April and Sunday 11 April we had services for the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent.  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  As Saturday 10 April was a day of commemoration of the departed, Matins was preceded by a general panikhida during which prayers were offered for the newly-reposed Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (+9 April 2021), Russian Orthodox clergy victims of the coronavirus, the ever-memorable departed clergy of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese, and our departed founders, benefactors, parishioners and relatives.  At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read.  In his sermon the parish rector spoke about Saint John of the Ladder and the significance of his life and work.


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Services on 27-28 March, the Second Sunday of Great Lent - 28/03/2021

On Saturday 27 March and Sunday 28 March we had services for the Second Sunday of Great Lent.  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  As Saturday 27 March was a day of commemoration of the departed, Matins was preceded by a general panikhida during which prayers were offered for the ever-memorable Emperor Paul I of Russia (+23 March 1801), Metropolitan Laurus (Shkurla) (+16 March 2008), Russian Orthodox clergy victims of the coronavirus, and our departed founders, benefactors, parishioners and relatives.  At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read.  In his sermon the parish rector spoke about Saint Gregory Palamas and his defence of the Orthodox Christian experience of God in prayer.  On Sunday a collection was taken up to benefit the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York.


00038
The repose and funeral of Donald John ("Don") Sleaford - 26/03/2021

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


00039
A Pastoral Conference of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese - 19/03/2021

On Tuesday 30 March and Wednesday 31 March many of the clergymen of our 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, 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, Strathfield, with Bishop George presiding and the clergy concelebrating.  Our parish rector Archpriest James Carles plans to attend.  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 privately to discuss a range of pastoral, liturgical and administrative matters.


00040
Services on 13-14 March, the Sunday of Forgiveness - 16/03/2021

On Saturday 13 March and Sunday 14 March we had services for the Sunday of ForgivenessMatins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  At Divine Liturgy the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read and the newly-baptised infant Gabriel Golovodovski received Holy Communion for the first time. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about forgiveness, the Lenten obedience of fasting and the approach to it set out in the Holy Scriptures, and Great Lent as a time to “lay up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20).  Vespers with the rite of asking forgiveness was served immediately after Divine Liturgy.


00041
Prayers to be offered on the anniversary of the assassination of Emperor Paul I of Russia (+1801) - 16/03/2021

Paul I (1754-1801) was Emperor of Russia from 1796 until his assassination on 24 March 1801.  Devoted to Russia and steadfast in the Orthodox faith from his childhood, he opposed the revolutionary and anti-religious currents that were then disturbing Europe.  During his brief reign he improved the circumstances of peasants, serfs and soldiers, and did much to aid the education and living conditions of the Orthodox clergy.  He was brutally murdered by members of the nobility and military leaders who resented his reforms.  Emperor Paul’s memory having long been revered by the Russian Orthodox Church, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has directed that prayers be offered in his memory on the Saturday closest to the two-hundred and twentieth anniversary of his assassination, Saturday 27 March.  In this parish he will be commemorated at the general panikhida to be served at 5.00pm that day.


00042
Updated information concerning weddings in the Russian Orthodox Church - 13/03/2021

The information on this website concerning weddings in the Russian Orthodox Church has been updated to address modesty of attire and the visibility of tattoos and piercings during the wedding ceremony.  The updated information can be viewed here.  Any questions about this information should be directed to the parish rector.


00043
Services on 27-28 February, the Sunday of the Prodigal Son - 28/02/2021

On Saturday 27 February and Sunday 28 February we had services for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son.  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  In his sermon at Divine Liturgy the parish rector spoke about the willingness of our Heavenly Father to accept our repentance even though we, like the Prodigal Son, have been insolently wasteful with all that God has given us.  On Sunday a collection was taken up to benefit a Diocesan charitable organisation, Orthodox Action.


00044
Our Autumn 2021 Schedule of Services - 25/02/2021

Our Autumn 2021 Schedule of Services - covering March, April and May 2021 - is now available in digital format.  It includes all our services for Great Lent, Holy Week, Pascha and our patronal feast of Saint Nicholas.  A copy of the English-language Autumn 2021 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Autumn 2021 Schedule of Services is available here.  Both can also be accessed on our Services page, and printed copies will be available in church from the weekend of 27-28 February.


00045
Archpastoral Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, to the Clergy and Flock of the Eastern American and Australian-New Zealand Dioceses - 19/02/2021

On 18 February 2021 Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, published an Archpastoral Epistle to the Clergy and Flock of the Eastern American and Australian-New Zealand Dioceses.  The full text of the Epistle can be read in English here and in Russian hereAn extract: "Dear fathers, brothers, and sisters! Bowing reverently before the memory of the above-mentioned giants of the Russian Church, let us take an interest in their lives, labors, and legacies, and let us take up the “exhausting and difficult task” of working on ourselves during the approaching Great Lent. Let us augment our prayers and reading, and take care for the doing of good deeds, taking hold of ourselves and declaring war on our sinful habits. It is truly comforting to observe how, in preparation for this salvific time, full of the most beautiful and meaningful services of the Church year, the pandemic has begun to die down, quarantine measures are being relaxed, and the normal flow of life is gradually returning. Nevertheless, I call on the rectors of the parishes and monasteries to continue to act with careful circumspection, adhering to common sense, sanitary norms, and the regulations set by local authorities, taking the recommended precautionary measures as circumstances dictate, while the order of receiving Communion should remain unchanged. Manifestations of disobedience and "zeal not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2) on these matters, as the pandemic has shown us, lead not only to outbreaks of sickness, but also to serious divisions among the people, to say nothing of every manner of other temptations. Therefore, obey readily and without complaint the directives of the Hierarchy and local governments, which in the present circumstances are being undertaken precisely for our benefit. Calling on God’s aid, let us also call on doctors and medics to offer assistance in the parishes, remembering the words of the most wise Sirach: "the Lord hath created the physician… and medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them" (Sirach 38:1,4). The great luminaries of Christ’s Church respected doctors and medical science. The Holy Hierarch Basil the Great says, “Humanity is the regular business of all you who practice as physicians… for health we are dependent on your skill” (Letter to Eustathius the Physician). In his Letter to Olympias, the Holy Hierarch John Chrysostom asks for remedy for himself, and counsels others to make use of the aid of physicians and medicines".


00046
Services on 13-14 February, the Thirty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost - 14/02/2021

On Saturday 13 February and Sunday 14 February we had services for the Thirty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Zaccheus Sunday; the Forefeast of the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple; and in honour of Martyr Tryphon (+250 AD).   Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  Prayers for deliverance from the coronavirus were offered at Divine Liturgy.  In his sermon on Sunday the parish rector spoke about Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-9) as a model of repentance and on the importance of allowing the possibility of repentance in others, no matter their way of life.


00047
Services on 23-24 January, the Sunday after Theophany - 24/01/2021

On Saturday 23 January and Sunday 24 January we had services for the Thirty-Third Sunday after Pentecost and for the Sunday after Theophany.   Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy with the Great Blessing of Water was served on Sunday morning.  Following the blessing of water a moleben with prayers of thanksgiving was served for the founders, benefactors and parishioners of the former Theophany church (1994-2009), all of whom joined our parish in 2009.


00048
Services on 9-10 January, the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ - 10/01/2021

On Saturday 9 January and Sunday 10 January we had services for the Thirty-First Sunday after Pentecost and for the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ.  Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning.  In place of a sermon at Divine Liturgy, the parish rector read aloud the Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia.


00049
The funeral and burial of Anna Pavlovna Morhun - 05/01/2021

On Tuesday 5 January, our parish rector served the funeral of 97-year-old Anna Morhun, our long serving Head Sister and a tireless worker for our church.  In view of concern about the COVID-19 pandemic, the funeral was a small gathering of close family and friends.  Following the service, the newly reposed Anna was laid to rest in Sandgate Cemetery beside her beloved husband Ivan (+1998).


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