Saint Panteleimon's is an Orthodox Christian parish of Russian tradition serving the New South Wales Central Coast and the northern suburbs of Sydney. We are a parish of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Established in 2000, our parish is one of the newest in our Diocese.
Updated 13 February 2021: The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it are having a profound impact on social interaction around the world. Our Holy Orthodox Church is not exempt from this. Our parish takes this public health risk seriously and is strictly complying with the directives of the civil authorities in this country including limits on the number of people present at services and registration of attendance. We have introduced sanitary measures in church life including the provision of hand sanitiser at the entry to the church; discouraging people from kissing the Holy Gospel, the icons, the chalice, the Cross, and the hand of the priest; cleaning icons regularly with methylated spirits; anointing the faithful with disposable cotton swabs rather than a single brush; the provision of disposable napkins for use when receiving Holy Communion; the provision of disposable cups from which to receive the warm water and wine (“zapivka”) after Holy Communion; strict limits on the number of people singing in the choir; and the cancellation of our usual “cup of tea” after services. We have registered as a COVID-safe place of worship. Our parish COVID-19 Safety Plan, relevant statements from church authorities, public health information, a selection of prayers, and links to streamed liturgical services from other parishes are available here.
Updated 13 February 2021: From Saturday 13 February 2021 attendance at religious services in New South Wales is again subject to the two square metre rule. We are permitted 65 people because the total area of our church, adjoining hall and choir loft is approximately 130 square metres. Although this means that restrictions have effectively been lifted for all evening and weekday services, the size of our parish is such that we will continue to manage attendance on Sundays and large services such as Christmas, Easter, and our parish feast-day.
In our parish approximately 100 people attend Sunday services regularly. These people have now been divided into two teams of approximately fifty people each and will be advised which team they belong to. Team A may attend on the first Sunday of the month and Team B may attend on the third Sunday of the month. The 15 free places will be used to accommodate those not allocated to a team, occasional worshippers, and visitors. Those allocated to a team who wish to attend Sunday services more frequently may email email@example.com. If possible, a place will be allocated.
For the time being, we continue to ask that our parishioners and friends only attend services if they are in good health. A person will not be considered be in good health if they are suffering from a fever, cough, a sore or "scratchy" throat, loss of smell or taste, a runny nose, loss of appetite, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, or recent unexplained onset of shortness of breath, muscle pain or joint pain. Those who may have had contact with known cases of COVID-19 should comply with public health directives concerning testing and, if necessary, self-isolation. The wearing of masks is no longer required in churches provided social distancing can be maintained.
We will continue to have a sheet at the candle-desk on which to record attendance and contact details. Care should be taken to sign in upon arrival at church. The completed attendance sheets will be stored securely, retained for four weeks, and only released to the NSW Chief Health Officer if required for the purpose of contact-tracing should there be an instance of community transmission of COVID-19.
Our parish is a small one that relies wholly on community support to make ends meet. If you have found this website to be of interest or of use, please consider helping us. Donations may be made directly to our bank account:
St Panteleimon Russian Orthodox Community of Gosford
BSB: 032-596 Account number: 140923
May the Lord bless you!
On Saturday 6 March and Sunday 7 March we will have services for the Sunday of the Last Judgement. Matins will be served at 6.00pm on Saturday and Divine Liturgy will be served at 9.00am on Sunday. As Saturday 6 March is a day of commemoration of the departed, Matins will be preceded by a general pannikhida at 5.00pm. Attendance at the Saturday evening services is open to all, but attendance at Divine Liturgy on Sunday will be continue to be primarily by invitation only. For questions about the arrangements for attendance our parishioners and friends should continue to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 and Pascha. 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 are available in church.
On Saturday 20 February and Sunday 21 February we had services for the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and for the Afterfeast of the Great Feast of Meeting of the Lord. All-night vigil 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 need to emulate the best of both the Publican and the Pharisee – humility and a zeal for righteousness – while avoiding the worst in them – a sinful life and vainglory. On Sunday a collection was taken up to benefit a Diocesan charitable organisation, Orthodox Action, raising $140. Following Divine Liturgy on Sunday, a number of parishioners gathered at Point Clare Cemetery for a graveside pannikhida in anticipation of the second anniversary of the repose of the ever-memorable Reader Paul Douriaguine.
On Sunday 14 February and Monday 15 February we had services for the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord. All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Sunday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Monday morning. Prayers for deliverance from the coronavirus were offered at Divine Liturgy. In accordance with Orthodox tradition and the custom of the Sydney parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, there was a blessing of candles and of fruit at the end of Divine Liturgy. A memorial litia was then served for the ever-memorable Archpriest Nicholas Grant and Archbishop Paul (Pavlov) who reposed on 14 February and 15 February 1995 respectively, and for the newly-reposed Protodeacon Vasily Hadarin. Present in our church for veneration at these services was a very old hand-painted copy of the wonderworking Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God belonging to the Erzikoff family. This copy, painted in Russia and later taken to China before coming to Australia, was badly burned many years ago but has since, through the grace of God, wondrously restored.
On Saturday 6 February and Sunday 7 February we had services for the Thirty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. All-night vigil 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 the history of the commemoration of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia; the faithfulness to Christ of those from the highest ranks of Russian society as well as the lowest; and the particular witness of the New Martyrs Lydia, Kyril and Alexey. Attendance at the services remained restricted by public health regulations to a total of thirty people.
For us as for everyone, 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 Wednesday 18 March until Saturday 16 May and restrictions on attendance were in place from May until the end of the year. We had five baptisms, amongst whom were Elliana Sutula, James Janson, Isla McDougall, and Thea Markarova. We served the funeral of Tatiana Gerasimovna Silis. Our much-loved former Head Sister, Olga Petroff, departed this life after a grievous illness. Litanies and prayers were offered to mark the Centenary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and together with the Wallsend parish we provided an English-Russian wall calendar commemorating this milestone in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church. Our website provided information to help with the planning of weddings and instructive material about Sunday commemorations and readings, certain Great Feasts, and the system of tones used for singing in the Russian Orthodox Church. We commissioned and approved the design of a new iconostasis for our parish centre and commenced arrangements for its manufacture. Our parish rector made pastoral visits to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales in August and November. All the news from 2020 can be read here. Glory be to God for all things!
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 here. An 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".