Our Spring 2019 Schedule of Services - covering September, October and November - is now available. A copy of the English-language Spring 2019 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Spring 2018 Schedule of Services is available here. Printed copies are available in both languages in church as of Sunday 18 August. Services of note during Spring are those for the Great Feasts of the Nativity of the Mother of God on Friday-Saturday 20-21 September and the Exaltation of the Cross on Thursday-Friday 26-27 September. It is to be noted that we will not have services on the weekends of 28-29 September and 16-17 November. On the weekend of 28-29 September Father James will be serving on the Mid-North Coast, and on the weekend of 16-17 November all Diocesan clergy will be serving at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Strathfield, NSW, in connection with the Nineteenth Diocesan Assembly.
On Tuesday 13 August and Wednesday 14 August we had services for the feast of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord and in honour of the Holy Maccabean Martyrs (+166 BC). Prior to Divine Liturgy on Wednseday the Lesser Blessing of Water was served and after the Prayer before the Amvon there was a blessing of honey. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy the parish rector spoke about the faithfulness of the Maccabean Martyrs to God's law, the history of the feast of the Cross on this day, and the way in which so many threads of the experience of God's people were woven together in this liturgical commemoration.
On Thursday 8 August and Friday 9 August we had services in honour of the heavenly protector of our parish, the Great-Martyr Panteleimon. All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Thursday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Friday morning. Joining our parish clergy for Divine Liturgy on Friday was Priest Dionysios Halim, the rector of the Holy Dormition Church in Wollongong, NSW. Following the service on Friday many of those present gathered in the parish hall for a festive meal.
On Saturday 3 August and Sunday 4 August we had services for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, the day of commemoration of the Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles Mary Magdalene. In anticipation of our parish feast-day of the Great-Martyr Panteleimon on 9 August, His Grace Bishop George of Canberra visited us on Sunday and presided at Divine Liturgy. The Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Australia sang at Divine Liturgy in place of our parish choir. Serving together with Bishop George and our parish clergy was Archpriest Quentin de Castelbajac, rector of the parish of Saint John the Russian in Lyon, France. A great many of our parishioners were present, together with friends from Newcastle and the Sydney parishes. Prior to the service on Sunday there was a blessing of water and afterwards there was a moleben – or service of intercession – to Saint Panteleimon with the customary singing of many years. Bishop George then presented the Diocesan Cross to Vladimir ("Rick") and Nina Golovin in recognition of their exemplary service to our parish. After the services a festive lunch was held at the East Gosford Progress Hall.
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 20 July and Sunday 21 July we had services for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the appearance of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in 1579 AD. All-night Vigil with the singing of the Magnification of the icon was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy with a moleben before the icon was served on Sunday morning. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the history of the Kazan Icon and the long Christian experience of help through the prayers of the Mother of God.
On Saturday 20 July the parish rector baptised Dominic Sytin, the infant child and second son of Dmytro Sytin and Hanna Sharandak. Dominic, who was given the name Michael in baptism in honour of the Holy Archangel Michael, had as his godparents Igor Salyamon, Inna Saliamon, Yuriy Petrenko and Melania Scodellaro. We warmly congratulate Dmytro, Hanna, and Dominic’s godparents, and pray that God will grant His newly-baptised servant good health, every blessing from above, and many years!
On Thursday 11 July and Friday 12 July our parish clergy Archpriest James Carles and Protodeacon Martin Naef, together with a number of our parishioners, participated in services for the patronal feast of the Diocesan Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Strathfield, NSW. On Thursday evening All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served with Bishop George presiding. On Friday morning there was the Lesser Blessing of Water, a hierarchical Divine Liturgy, and a moleben to the Holy Preёminent Apostles Peter and Paul with a procession around the church. At the services on Thursday evening and Friday morning the Cathedral clergy and clergy from other Sydney parishes concelebrated. At the end of the service on Friday many parishioners were presented with beautiful parish Certificates of Appreciation for their work in support of the Cathedral. A great many people then gathered in the parish hall for a festive lunch. At lunch the Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Australia gave a brief concert. A series of photographs can be viewed at the Cathedral Facebook page here, and some video footage of parts of the service can be viewed here.
On Saturday 6 July and Sunday 7 July we had services for the Third Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Glorious Forerunner, Prophet and Baptist John. These were the first services in our church following repainting the the rehanging of our icons. As Protodeacon Martin Naef had been invited to serve at Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral on Sunday, our parish rector served Divine Liturgy alone. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the miraculous circumstances recorded in the Holy Gospel concerning the birth of Saint John the Baptist, of the place of Saint John in the life of the Orthodox Church, and of the enduring relevance of his call to repentance.
Late on Wednesday 19 June we learned with great sorrow of the repose that evening of one of our oldest parishioners and a long-serving chorister, Ludmilla Roubanoff. Ludmilla spent her childhood in Shanghai and knew Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco in her youth. Like many Russian people from Shanghai, she came to Australia via the Phillipine island of Tubabao. Her funeral was served in our church on Thursday 27 June. At her funeral our parish rector spoke of Ludmilla's steadfast faith, service to the parish, and enduring love for Saint John. She was afterwards laid to rest at Point Clare Cemetery. May God grant her rest with Saint John and all the saints, and make her memory to be eternal! Article updated on 13 July 2019.
On Saturday 15 June and Sunday 16 June we had services for the Great Feast of Pentecost, the commemoration of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and disciples. In accordance with Orthodox custom, prior to the services our small church was decorated beautifully with green branches. All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine oil and five loaves was served on Saturday evening, and Divine Liturgy with Vespers and the “kneeling prayers” was served on Sunday. After the long service on Sunday many stayed back to help empty the church of icons and furnishings in preparation for painting.
On Wednesday Wednesday 5 June and Thursday 6 June we had services for the Great Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Wednesday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Thursday morning. As it was on this feast-day in 2007 that the Act of Canonical Communion between the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate was signed, the Prayer for the Prosperity of the Russian Church was read after the Augmented Litany at Divine Liturgy.
On the evening of Tuesday 4 June, the Eve of the Leavetaking of Pascha, a small group of parishioners gathered for the final Paschal Matins of the year. In accordance with the practice of the Russian Orthodox Church, Matins was served as it is during Bright Week – sung in its entirety, and with the doors to the sanctuary open. The icon of the Resurrection of the Lord was then returned to the sanctuary, the Shroud of Christ was removed from the Holy Table, and the church was made ready for the festive services for the Ascension of the Lord.
On Saturday 1 June and Sunday 2 June we had services for the Sixth Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Blind Man. This Sunday is so named because the reading from the Holy Gospel (John 9:1-38) appointed for Divine Liturgy gives an account of the healing by our Lord Jesus Christ of a man blind from birth. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy the parish rector spoke about the continuing celebration of the Resurrection of Christ during the forty days of Pascha. Following the service our Ladies’ Auxiliary served freshly-cooked piroshki with fillings of meat, mushroom, potato and apple.
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 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 Tuesday 14 May 2019 we learned with sorrow of the repose of Olga Ivanovna Itsikson, our choir director from 2000-2015. Olga Ivanovna was born in Mukden, China, in 1935, and undertook secondary and further study in the city of Harbin. After coming to Australia in 1957 she graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1965, working as a music teacher in New South Wales secondary schools for over 20 years. Olga Ivanovna also taught music at the parish Russian schools in Cabramatta and Strathfield for over 35 years. In 1980 she became the conductor of the church choir in the parish of Saint Vladimir, Centennial Park, and in 2000 she became the choir conductor in our parish. Olga Ivanovna was a steadfast servant of the Russian Orthodox Church and the wider Russian community for many years. In 1998 she received the Diocesan Jubilee Medal and in August 2015 she received the prestigious Diocesan Cross. After serving our parish faithfully in its formative years she retired due to illness in 2015. Her funeral was served at the Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral on Thursday 23 May 2019 with our parish clergy, Archpriest James Carles and Protodeacon Martin Naef, serving together with Priest Simon Nekipelov (All Saints of Russia parish, Croydon) and cathedral cleric Protodeacon Alexandar Kotlaroff. She was afterwards laid to rest at Rookwaood Cemetery. May God give her rest with the saints!
On Sunday 19 May the parish rector baptised Ellis King, an adult convert to the Orthodox faith. Ellis, who was baptised in honour of the Prophet Elijah, had as his sponsor his sister-in-law Marina Melnikoff. We warmly congratulate Ellis, his wife Ludmila, and his sponsor Marina. May God grant his newly-baptised servant many years!
Our Winter 2019 Schedule of Services - covering June, July and August - is now available in PDF format. Services of note during this period include those for Ascension on Wednesday-Thursday 5-6 June, for Pentecost on Saturday-Sunday 15-16 June, Bishop George’s visit on Sunday 4 August, the commemoration of Saint Panteleimon on Thursday-Friday 8-9 August, and for the Transfiguration of the Lord on Sunday-Monday 18-19 August. 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 Saturday 18 May and Sunday 19 May we had services for the Fourth Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Paralytic. This Sunday is so named because the appointed reading from the Holy Gospel (John 5:1-15) gives an account of the healing of a paralysed man by our Lord Jesus Christ. Following the dismissal, a litia was served for the repose of the newly-departed Olga (Itsikson), our parish choir director from 2000-2015. After the veneration of the Cross by the faithful, the thirty-year marriage of our parishioners Matthew and Vanessa (Xenia) Todd, adult converts to the Orthodox faith, was blessed according to the rite approved for this purpose by the 1983 Pastoral Conference of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
On Saturday 4 May and Sunday 5 May we had services for the second Sunday of Pascha, Thomas Sunday. Thomas Sunday is so named because the appointed reading from the Gospel (John 20:19-31) gives an account of the initial unbelief and subsequent belief of the Apostle Thomas. Following the Prayer before the Amvon new icons of Saints Kuksha and Jonah of Odessa, given to our parish by a recent visitor to Ukraine, were blessed. 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. At the dismissal, pieces of the blessed Artos were given to the faithful.
This year our parish was again blessed to have a number of traditional services for Orthodox Holy Week and Pascha. Matins with the singing of "Behold, the Bridegroom comes" ("Се, Жених грядет") and the exapostilarion “Thy Bridal chamber” ("Чертог твой") was served in the evening on Sunday 21 April, Monday 22 April, and Tuesday 23 April. Matins and Divine Liturgy for Great and Holy Thursday were served on the evening of Wednesday 24 April and the morning of Thursday 25 April. As Thursday 25 April was a public holiday in Australia a great many people were present for this Divine Liturgy, almost all of whom received Holy Communion. Vespers with the bringing out of the Shroud of Christ was served at midday on Friday 26 April and Matins with Lamentations before the Tomb of Christ was served that evening. On the morning of Saturday 7 April, Great and Holy Saturday, Vespers with Divine Liturgy was served, with again almost all present receiving Holy Communion. On Saturday evening we had an early Midnight Office and procession followed by Paschal Matins and the blessing of Easter eggs and cakes. The Paschal Hours and Vespers were served on the morning of Sunday 28 April and festive foods were again blessed. Divine Liturgy was served on the morning of Monday 9 April, Bright Monday. After the morning services on Sunday and Monday 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. Copies are $5.00.
On Saturday 20 April and Sunday 21 April we had services for the Great Feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, Palm Sunday. 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. Pussy willows and palm branches were also blessed on Saturday evening. For both services our small church was beautifully adorned with new green vestments and with palm branches. A great many of the faithful confessed on Saturday evening and Sunday morning so as to receive Holy Communion. Following Divine Liturgy on Sunday a collection was taken up to benefit the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem.
On Wednesday 17 April a smal group of parishioners gathered in church for the final Great Compline of 2019. In the Russian Orthodox tradition this service - composed of various psalms, prayers and hymns - is an important part of the observance of Great Lent.
Our services during the fifth week of Great Lent were Matins with the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete and the reading of the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt on the evening of Wednesday 10 April and the General Service of Anointing on the evening of Sunday 14 April. At Matins on Wednesday 10 April the odes of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete were read alternately in Slavonic and English, and the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt was read in full in English. Known colloquially as “Saint Andrew’s Standing” (“Андреево стояние”), this solemn service commenced at 6.00pm and finished just after 9.30pm. On the evening of Sunday 14 March forty-eight parishioners gathered for the General Service of Anointing. Although this service is ideally served by seven priests together, our distance from other parishes meant that it was served by our rector alone. Both Slavonic and English were used during the service. In addition to these services, on the morning of Saturday 13 April we had a major clean-up of our church and hall in preparation for Holy Week and Pascha.
On Saturday 6 April and Sunday 7 April, the Fourth Sunday in Great Lent, we had services for the Great Feast of the Annunciation of the Mother of God. 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. In his sermon on Sunday morning the parish rector spoke about the willingness of the Mother of God to accept God's will despite her misgivings and her example to all in this regard. Noting that Saint John of the Ladder was customarily commemorated on the Fourth Sunday in Great Lent, he also drew the attention of the faithful to Saint John's advice in The Ladder of Divine Ascent to laymen: "Do all the good you can; do not speak evil of anyone; do not steal from anyone; do not lie to anyone; do not be arrogant towards anyone; do not be absent from divine services; be compassionate to the needy; do not offend anyone; do not wreck another man's domestic happiness, and be content with what your own wives can give you. If you can behave in this way, you will not be far from the Kingdom of Heaven" (Step 1:21).
In addition to All-night Vigil and Divine Liturgy for the Great Feast of the Annunciation on Saturday-Sunday 6-7 April, our services during the fourth week of Great Lent were Great Compline on the evening of Wednesday 3 April and Vespers with the Fourth Passia on the evening of Sunday 7 April. At Vespers with the Fourth Passia on Sunday evening the akathist to the Divine Passion of Christ was read in English and chapters 18 and 19 of Saint John's Gospel were read in Slavonic.
On Saturday 6 April 2019 the parish rector baptised Myron, the infant son of Anton Shcherbakov and Irina Markarova. Myron, who was baptised in honour of Martyr Myron of Cyzicus (+250 AD), had as his godparents Vladimir Prokhorov and Alexandra Shcherbakova. We warmly congratulate Anton, Irina, Vladimir and Alexandra and wish the newly-illumined servant of God Myron many years!
On the morning of Saturday 6 April, the fortieth day of the repose of Reader Paul Douriaguine, family members and a large group of friends gathered at his grave in Point Clare Cemetery. Our parish rector served a pannikhida and kutiya was blessed. May God grant rest to the soul of his departed servant, the Reader Paul!
On Saturday 30 March and Sunday 31 March we had services for the Third Sunday in Great Lent, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross. As Saturday 30 March was a day of commemoration of the departed there was a general pannikhida prior to the service on Saturday evening, at which we commemorated the departed hierarchs and clergy of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese, together with our departed parishioners, family members and friends. Afterwards kutiya and sweet cakes were blessed. 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. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday the parish rector spoke about the importance of each individual Christian denying himself or herself, taking up his or her specific cross, and following after Christ (Mark 8:34-9:1).
In addition to All-night Vigil and Divine Liturgy on Saturday-Sunday 30-31 March, our services during the third week of Great Lent were Great Compline on the evening of Wednesday 27 March and Vespers with the Third Passia on the evening of Sunday 31 March. On Tuesday-Wednesday 26-27 March our parish clergy participated in the Great Lenten Pastoral Retreat of the Australian New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. At Vespers with the Third Passia on Sunday evening the akathist to the Divine Passion of Christ and chapters 22 and 23 of Saint Luke’s Gospel were read in English.
On Tuesday 26 March and Wednesday 27 March 2019 the clergy of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese gathered in Sydney, NSW, for the customary Lenten Pastoral Retreat and Conference. On Tuesday afternoon the clergy met for refreshments and fellowship in the hall of the Archbishop’s Chapel of All Saints of Russia in Croydon. Lenten Matins was then served with the rector of the Croydon parish, Priest Simon Nekipelov, presiding. During the service many of the clergy took the opportunity to confess and receive absolution. In a departure from tradition, the Rule of Preparation for Holy Communion was not read prior to Matins; this allowed time after the service for an evening lecture by Archpriest Peter Heers, Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY. On Wednesday morning the clergy gathered at the Diocesan Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Strathfield for the reading of the Hours and the concelebration of the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. Metropolitan Hilarion presided at Divine Liturgy, concelebrating together Bishop George, 28 priests and 16 deacons. A complete list of participating clergymen is available here. The Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Australia sang at the service under the direction of a talented young conductor, Reader Nektary Kotlaroff. During Divine Liturgy a number of Diocesan clergymen received awards for their service to the Holy Orthodox Church. Of note, Mitred Archpriest Michael Proptopopov, Diocesan Chancellor and Dean of Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, was awarded the right to wear the second pectoral cross, and Priest Dionysios Halim – who served in our parish during our rector’s absence late last year and early this year – was awarded the right to wear the gold pectoral cross. Following Divine Liturgy, the clergy gathered in the church hall for a Lenten lunch prepared by the Cathedral Ladies’ Auxiliary. After lunch, Metropolitan Hilarion opened the Pastoral Conference, expressing his joy at being back in the Diocese. He noted many new faces and thanked Bishop George for his care for the Diocese. He also thanked the clergy for their labours, noting that many worked in full-time secular employment in addition to their church responsibilities. The presentations and discussion that followed were focused primarily on the blessing of marriages and on the preparation of candidates for baptism. A selection of photographs and a communiqué are available here.
Our services during the second week of Great Lent were Great Compline on the evening of Wednesday 20 March and Vespers with the Second Passia on the evening of Sunday 24 March. At Vespers with the Second Passia on Sunday evening the akathist to the Divine Passion of Christ was read in English and chapters 14 and 15 of Saint Mark’s Gospel were read in Church Slavonic.
On the afternoon of Sunday 17 March, the parish rector baptised Noemie, the daughter of Stanislav Vitkovskiy and Ekaterina Vitkovskaya. Noemie, who was given the name Theodosia in baptism in honour of Martyr Theodosia of Tyre, had as her godmother Julia Gomina. We warmly congratulate Stanislav, Ekaterina and Julia and wish the newly-illumined handmaiden of God Theodosia many years!
On Saturday 16 March and Sunday 17 March we had services for the First Sunday in Great Lent, the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. In accordance with the parish practice of the Russian Orthodox Church a brief Service of Supplication for Those in Error was offered after Divine Liturgy on Sunday. The customary Diocesan-wide collection was then taken up to benefit the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY, raising $232.50.
This year we commenced Great Lent with Matins, the Hours, Typika and Vespers on Monday 11 March. That evening, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, we had Great Compline with the reading of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete. In addition to services on the weekend of 16-17 March, we also had Vespers with the First Passia on the evening of Sunday 17 March. Great Compline is a simple, solemn and characteristically Lenten service of psalms and prayers. At Vespers with the First Passia on Sunday evening the akathist to the Divine Passion of Christ and chapters 26 and 27 of Saint Matthew's Gospel were read in English.
Late in the afternoon on Sunday 10 March 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. In accordance with Orthodox custom on this day all present then venerated the Holy Gospel, the Cross and the icons before asking forgiveness of one another.
On Wednesday 6 March and Thursday 7 March our parish had a series of services for the repose of the soul of our dear friend and Parish Council member Reader Paul Douriaguine (+ 26 February). At 7.00pm on Wednesday evening Paul’s body was brought to the church and a Great Panikhida (“parastas”) was served, after which family and friends – in accordance with Orthodox custom – took it in turns to read each section ("kathisma") of the Psalter and the appointed prayers for the departed. This continued throughout the night, ceasing at 7.00am on Thursday morning. The Order of Preparation for Holy Communion was then read before the commencement of the Hours and Divine Liturgy at 8.00am. A great many people gathered for the funeral service at 10.30am, amongst whom were Paul’s family, our parishioners, his many friends, and his work colleagues. A small choir under the direction of Reader Eustratius Papageogiou sang beautifully at the funeral service. Paul was afterwards laid to rest at Point Clare Cemetery. A memorial meal was then held at our parish centre in West Gosford. May God grant forgiveness of sins and eternal rest to His newly-departed servant the Reader Paul!
On Saturday 2 March and Sunday 3 March we had services for the Sunday of the Last Judgement. As Saturday 2 March was a day of commemoration of the departed, All-night Vigil on Saturday evening was preceded by a general memorial service at which prayers were particularly offered for the newly-departed Reader Paul Douriaguine (+26 February). Receiving Holy Communion for the first time at Divine Liturgy on Sunday was the newly-baptised infant Alexander. At the end of the Sunday service prayers of blessing were read over a new set of green vestments for the altar and church and a new set of black vestments for the rector, both sets of vestments being the work of the Convent of Saint Elisabeth in Minsk, Belarus. A memorial litia was then served for Reader Paul, after which the parish rector offered condolences to the Douriaguine family on behalf of the parish. 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 and New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. It being just one week before the beginning of Great Lent, the parish Ladies’ Auxiliary served pancakes following the service.
Our Autumn 2019 Schedule of Services - covering March, April and May 2019 - is now available in PDF format. It includes all our services for Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha . 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 Tuesday 26 February we learned with profound grief of the sudden unexpected death of our dear friend, Parish Council member, and tonsured reader Paul Douriaguine (b. 1975). We ask our parishioners and friends to pray fervently for the repose of his soul and for the consolation, in particular, of his grieving wife Elena and their children Alexey, Polina, Tatiana and Fyodor.
On Saturday 16 February and Sunday 17 February we had services for the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and the Afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord. This Sunday, the first Sunday of preparation for Great Lent, is so named for the appointed reading from the Holy Gospel (Luke 18:10-14). At Divine Liturgy on Sunday prayers were offered for Orthodox Church unity and for peace in Ukraine. Following the Sunday service a collection was taken up to benefit Orthodox Action, raising $188.00.
On Thursday 14 February and Friday 15 February we had services for the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord. On this day we commemorate the presentation of the Lord in the Temple on the fortieth day after his birth and his acknowledgement by the Righteous Symeon and the Prophetess Anna (Luke 2:22-38). All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Thursday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Friday morning. The Prayer before the Amvon was followed by a blessing of fruit – customary in many parishes of our Diocese on this day – and the customary blessing of candles. After the dismissal a memorial litia was served for the ever-memorable Archbishop Paul (Pavlov), Ruling Bishop of our Diocese from 1980-1992, and for his Diocesan Secretary and friend, Archpriest Nicholas Grant. Vladyka Paul reposed on this feast-day in 1995, and Father Nicholas reposed on the eve of the feast-day that same year. May their memory be eternal!
On Saturday 2 February and Sunday 3 February we had services for the Thirty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Venerable Maximus the Confessor (+662 AD) and Martyr Neophytus of Nicaea (+303-305 AD). Our parish rector Archpriest James Carles presided at the services for the first time since seriously injuring his ankle in November 2018. Following Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Ladies’ Auxiliary served a festive meal in honour of Father James’ name day (5 November) and the twentieth anniversary of his ordination as deacon (29 November) - the celebration of which had been delayed by his accident - and of his fiftieth birthday in late January. At lunch Parish Council member Anya Nielsen congratulated Father James on behalf on the parish and he was presented with a beautiful new set of gold vestments.
On Monday 28 January the parish rector baptised Rocco Ward, the infant son of James Ward and Sara Fidock. Rocco was baptised in honour of the Holy Apostle James, Brother of the Lord. Rocco’s godparents were Lucia Kostava-Fidock, Demna Kostava-Fidock, Albert Haddad, and Priscilla Haddad. We warmly congratulate James and Sara and Rocco’s godparents and we wish the newly-baptised servant of God many years!
On Saturday 19 January and Sunday 20 January we had services for the Thirty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, the Sunday after Theophany, and in honour of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John. Father Dionysios Halim presided at these services. Concelebrating with Father Dionysios Halim after a two-month absence was our parish rector, Archpriest James Carles. As there were no services in our parish for the Great Feast of Theophany the Great Blessing of Water was served at Divine Liturgy on Sunday following the Prayer before the Amvon. Praying in church on Sunday were trainers and team members of the Russian Women's Rugby Sevens team, in Australia for the 2018–19 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.
On Sunday 6 January we had services for the Sunday before the Nativity of Christ and in honour of the Holy Fathers, the ancestors of Christ from Adam to Joseph the Betrothed, together with the Righteous Ones of the Old Testament who lived in expectation of His coming. As our parish rector was recovering following surgery there was no service on Saturday evening and Priest Michael Storozhev – a cleric of the Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral in Strathfield – presided at Divine Liturgy and Vespers of the Nativity of Christ on Sunday.
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.