On Saturday 15 February and Saturday 16 February, we had services for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son and the Afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord. All-night vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. At Divine Liturgy prayers were offered for peace in Ukraine and for Orthodox unity; the newly-baptised Elliana Sutula received Holy Communion for the first time; prayers of blessing were read over new priestly vestments, a beautiful epitrachelion (stole) and cuffs, the work of the Convent of Saint Elisabeth in Minsk, Belarus; and a collection taken up in support of Orthodox Action, a Diocesan charitable organisation, raised $479.00. Following Divine Liturgy many gathered in the parish hall to enjoy pancakes freshly prepared by the parish Ladies' Auxiliary.
Our Autumn 2020 Schedule of Services - covering March, April and May 2020 - 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 2020 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Autumn 2020 Schedule of Services is available here. Both can also be accessed on our Services page, and printed copies are available in church.
On Friday 14 February and Saturday 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 Friday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Saturday morning. In accordance with the custom of the Sydney parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, there was a blessing of fruit at the end of Divine Liturgy. Following the service on Saturday the parish rector noted that it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the repose of the ever-memorable Archpriest Nicholas Grant - active in the life of the Diocese as a layman and clergyman for 45 years - and Archbishop Paul (Pavlov) - Ruling Bishop of our Diocese from 1980 until 1992 - who reposed on 14 February and 15 February 1995 respectively. He spoke briefly about their lives and distinguished service to the Diocese before intoning ‘Eternal Memory’. He also welcomed Sister Maria from the Convent of Saint Elisabeth, noting the many items from the Convent adorning our church and the work done by the sisters to care for the needy in Minsk and to spread the Orthodox faith throughout the world.
On Tuesday 11 February our 2019-20 Parish Council met for the first time this calendar year. Convening in the new meeting room in our parish centre, the Parish Council heard reports on parish life and finances; considered charitable projects; and endorsed a contract with Moscow-based master iconographer Maria Burganova-Yaltanskaya for the design of a new iconostasis for our church. God willing, the Parish Council will meet next on Tuesday 10 March.
At the December 2019 session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) consideration was given to special litanies and other prayerful supplications to mark this year’s centenary of ROCOR’s foundation. It was agreed that at the dismissal of every Divine Liturgy this year the prayers of a number of saints important to ROCOR would be invoked: our Fathers among the saints, Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the new Confessor; the Blessed New-Martyr Peter, Metropolitan of Krutitsia; John, the Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco, the Wonderworker; Jonah, the Bishop of Hankow in Manchuria; and the Holy Martyr Alexander of Munich. In our parish, these commemorations began on Saturday 15 February 2020, the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord. In addition, instructions were given for the commemoration at all memorial services of their Beatitudes the ever-memorable Metropolitans Anthony and Anastassy; the Metropolitans Philaret, Vitaly and Laurus; all those who for Christ and the Russian Church laboured in divers lands, and the other archpastors, pastors, founders and benefactors of the Russian Diaspora; for the elect sons and daughters of the Church of Russia, who faithfully struggled for her unity, good estate and honour in the realms of piety, blessedness, governance, the protection of the persecuted and the veneration of the New Martyrs and Confessors; for our righteous ancestors, and for their peaceful repose and blessed memory. We will begin this commemoration at our next general pannikhida on Saturday 14 March. A copy of the full Synod Memorandum is available in English here and in Russian here.
On Saturday 1 February and Sunday 2 February we had services for the Thirty-Third Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Venerable Euthymius the Great (+473). All-night vigil with the singing of the magnification to Saint Euthymius was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. This year, the Thirty-Third Sunday after Pentecost was the Sunday of Zaccheus, so named because of the reading from the Gospel of Luke (Luke 19:1-10) concerning the conversion of Zaccheus the tax-collector, one of the great Biblical models of repentance. Following the Prayer before the Amvon the prayers of blessing were read over a new icon of the Holy Fathers of the 1917‑18 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, a set of new chalice covers, and a new server’s sticharion. The icon was given to our parish by the Nagikh-Day family and the other items were made for us by the Convent of Saint Elisabeth in Minsk, Belarus, from a beautiful piece of church brocade given to us many years ago.
On Saturday 25 January the parish rector baptised Elliana Sutula, the infant daughter of Evgenii and Anastasia Sutula. Elliana, whose godmother was Natalia Yakimova, was baptised in honour of Saint Elena, Equal-to-the-Apostles. We warmly congratulate Evgenii, Anastasia and Natalia, and wish the newly-baptised handmaiden of God Elliana many years!
On Saturday 18 January and Sunday 19 January we had services for the Great Feast of Theophany, the commemoration of the Baptism of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. All-night vigil - Great Compline and Matins with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves – was served on Saturday evening and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great with the Great Blessing of Water was served on Sunday morning. As in previous years, we were joined for the Theophany services by many friends from the Sydney parishes spending their summer holidays on the Central Coast.
On Sunday 5 January, Monday 6 January and Tuesday 7 January we had services to prepare for and celebrate the Nativity of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Matins for the Eve of the Nativity and in honour of the Martyr Eugenia (+AD) was served on the evening of Sunday 5 January. On the morning of Monday 6 January Vespers with the eight prophetic readings from the Old Testament and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great were served, after which we decorated our small church for the main festive services. On Monday evening we had All-night Vigil (Great Compline, Matins and First Hour) with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves, and on Tuesday morning Divine Liturgy was served. In place of a sermon at Divine Liturgy, our parish rector read aloud the Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Hilarion Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. Following the service on Tuesday many gathered in the church hall for a festive meal.
On Saturday 4 January and Sunday 5 January we had services for the Twenty-Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, the Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ, and the day of commemoration of the Holy Fathers, the ancestors of Christ from Adam to Joseph the Betrothed, together with all the Righteous Ones of the Old Testament who lived in expectation of His coming. All-night Vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. During the evening service and before Divine Liturgy many of our parishioners confessed in preparation to receive Holy Communion. At Divine Liturgy the appointed reading from the Apostol (Hebrews 11:9-10,17-23,32-40) was read in Church Slavonic, Russian, and English, and prayers were offered for relief from drought and from fire. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the historical certainty of the Incarnation of Christ and of the faithfulness of the Holy Fathers through the centuries prior. With Bishop George’s blessing, on Sunday a collection was commenced for the relief of those adversely affected by the 2019-20 bushfire emergency.
The November 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 number of interesting articles in both Russian and English. In Russian: "Мельбурн: 70 лет приходу Покровского собора"; "Австралийцы поют в Соборе Кремля"; "Указы"; and more. In English: details of a number of service awards recently given to Diocesan clergy; the Resolution of the Nineteeth Triennial Assembly of Clergy and Laity of the Diocese; "Five ways Eastern Orthodoxy differs from other Christian denominations"; "Christmas Lent"; "Can a Christian marry a Muslim?"; "What is Patriarch Bartholomew's error?"; "Shame before Confession"; and more. Copies are $5.00.