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On Thursday 23 June and Friday 24 June, clergy of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese gathered at Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral in Strathfield, NSW, to offer prayers on the fortieth day of the repose of Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), Ruling Bishop of our Diocese since 1996 and First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia since 2008.  Friday 24 June was also the day of commemoration of the wonder-working “Kursk-Root” Icon of the Mother of God, the “Directress” of the Russian Diaspora; of the wonder-working “Tabynsk” Icon of the Mother of God, revered by both the Russian Orthodox faithful and the Chinese people in Harbin, China, where it was kept from 1918 until 1948; of the Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas; and of the of the Hieromartyr Mitrophan and 222 other New Martyrs of China, slain during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.  All-night Vigil was served on Thursday evening, with Mitred Archpriest Gabriel Makarov presiding and Protodeacons Alexander Abramoff and Vasily Konstantinidis assisting.  All the clergy vested for the singing of the magnification of the Mother of God before copies of the two wonder-working icons.  On Friday morning the Hours and Divine Liturgy were served, with Mitred Archpriest Michael Protopopov presiding and twenty-eight other clergymen concelebrating.  His Grace Bishop George of Canberra, recovering from illness, prayed in the altar on both days.  Following Divine Liturgy a panikhida was served for our departed First Hierarch, with the kontakion “With the saints give rest” sung together by the choir, clergy and all the faithful.  The clergy, their spouses, and special guests later gathered in the cathedral hall for a commemorative meal.  Over lunch there was discussion of Vladyka Hilarion’s gentleness, kindness, and pastoral warmth, characteristics that remained steadfast even as he rose in the church hierarchy; the possibility of a memorial within the cathedral grounds to all our departed Diocesan bishops; and missionary efforts in Vladyka’s memory.  Many years was sung for Bishop George, the Administrator of the Diocese, and for Archpriest Barnabas Jellings, celebrating his name-day that day.

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