On Saturday 21 December and Sunday 22 December we had services in honour of the ‘Unexpected Joy’ Icon of the Mother of God. At Divine Liturgy our new choir conductor, Nataliya Rahim, led the choir for the first time. Many people, both children and adults, received Holy Communion. After the Prayer before the Amvon a short moleben to the Mother of God was served, at which all our parishioners were commemorated by name, the beautiful prayer from the Akathist composed in honour of the ‘Unexpected Joy’ Icon was read, and the magnification was sung. Later, the choir gathered to carefully prepare for the Christmas services on 6-7 January, and our Ladies’ Auxiliary changed the vestments and arranged the church in readiness for the Romanian Orthodox Christmas service on 25 December.
On Wednesday 18 December and Thursday 19 December we had services in honour of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia, the heavenly protector of our parish. All-night vigil with the blessing of loaves and wheat, wine and oil was served on Wednesday evening, and Divine Liturgy was served on Thursday morning. Joining the parish rector for Divine Liturgy was Hieromonk John (Macpherson) of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Monkerai, NSW. The Apostol was read by the parish Warden, Nikolai Nikolaevich Goura, celebrating his name-day that day. Receiving Holy Communion for the first time was Vasilissa Dawson, baptised in our parish on 8 December. After the Prayer before the Amvon a brief moleben to Saint Nicholas was served at which all our parishioners were commemorated by name. Following the dismissal, the rector congratulated Mr Goura on his name-day, and Many Years was sung for him. A number of those present then gathered for a light festive meal in the church hall, while our parish choir had its first rehearsal under the guidance of our new choir conductor, Nataliya Rahim.
On Monday 16 December the Parish Council met for the final time in 2013. The Parish Council heard the rector’s usual reports on parish life and Diocesan life and considered comprehensive new parish financial reports prepared by Parish Council member Anu Kinnunen. Father James and Irina Lupish reported on their participation in the Seventeenth Diocesan Conference. A range of other issues were discussed, including the preparation of candidates for baptism, fundraising, risk management, progress towards formal registration of parish property under the Russian Orthodox Church (NSW) Property Trust, and church renovations. Father James reported that our new “Golgotha” cross, the first element of a project that will culminate in the frescoing of the church, would be finished in January 2014. The Parish Council will next meet on Monday 27 January 2014.
On Thursday 12, Friday 13 and Saturday 14 December the Diocese of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia held its seventeenth triennial Diocesan Conference. Representing our parish at the Conference were the rector, Priest James Carles, and the lay delegate elected by parish members, Mrs Irene Lupish. Delegates to the Conference heard reports from the Ruling Bishop, Metropolitan Hilarion, and from the Diocesan Treasurer, Mr Nicholas Nedachin, before discussing a range of legal, administrative and pastoral matters. On the third day of the Conference our rector, Father James, was chosen by delegates to be one of the five members in priestly rank of the new Diocesan Council. The other members of the Diocesan Council are Mitred Archpriest Michael Protopopov, Archpriest Nicholas Karipoff, Archpriest Gabriel Makarov, Archpriest George Lapardin, Protodeacon Alexander Abramoff, Nicholas Nedachin, Dimitri Roudenko, Nicholas Wirubow, and Lubov Cowall. A photo-report of the proceedings of the Diocesan Conference and the text of the Conference Resolution can be viewed on the Diocesan website here.
On Friday 13 December our playgroup “Teremok” held its last meeting for the year. The children listened to the Russian folk-tale “Repka” (“Turnip”) and ate a “rainbow” of fruit made to celebrate the conclusion of the "Colours and Seasons" theme for lessons and activities during November and December. All present sang New Year songs and joined hands for a traditional round dance. Before leaving, each of the children received a small gift. This year we had three graduates: Isaac Harwood, Ruben Reynolds and Ryan Reynolds. We wish the boys success in their future studies and all the best. The first gathering of “Teremok” in 2014 will be on Friday 7 February, the first Friday of that month. We look forward to seeing you in 2014!
On Sunday 8 December the parish rector baptised Alizetta Dawson, the infant daughter of John and Yelena Dawson. Her godparents were Olga Zybin and Vassiliy Muratov. In baptism Alizetta was given the name Vasilissa in honour of the Martyr Vasilissa of Nicomedia. Congratulations to John, Yelena, Olga and Vassiliy. May God grant His newly-baptised handmaiden Vasilissa many years!
On Saturday 7 December and Sunday 8 December we had services for the Leavetaking of the Great Feast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple and in honour of the Holy Hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome (+101). As Thursday 5 December was the fifth anniversary of the repose of the Most Holy Patriarch, Alexey II of Moscow and All Russia, a memorial litia was served following Divine Liturgy. The parish rector spoke beforehand of the wise leadership of Patriarch Alexey during an extraordinary period in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church, a period at the end of which decades-old division in the life of the Church was finally overcome. May his memory be eternal!
On Saturday 7 December a small group of our parishioners travelled to the parish of Saint Panteleimon, Gosford, for Divine Liturgy on the day of commemoration of the Great-Martyr Katherine of Alexandria. Amongst our parishioners attending were Katy Goura, Katie Carles amd Katya Martin, all of whom celebrating their name-day. After Divine Liturgy our playgroup co-ordinator Asya Harwood led an activity for the younger children present. A full report and a selection of photographs are available on the Gosford parish website here.
On Tuesday 3 December and Wednesday 4 December we had services for the Great Feast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple. All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Tuesday evening, and Divine Liturgy was served on Wednesday morning. A number of visitors from the parish of Saint Panteleimon, Gosford, joined us for Divine Liturgy and for a cup of tea afterwards.
On Saturday 23 November and Sunday 24 November we had services in honour of the Martyrs Minas, Victor and Vincent of Spain (+304 AD) and the Venerable Theodore, Abbot of Studion (+826 AD). Receiving Holy Communion for the first time on this day was the newly-baptised infant David. The customary November collection for the Fund for Assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia was taken up at the end of Divine Liturgy, raising $640.00, a pleasing amount for our small parish. An Extraordinary Parish Meeting (Чрезвычаное Приходское Собрание) was then convened to elect a lay parish delegate to attend the 17h Diocesan Conference, to be held in Strathfield from December 12-14, 2013. The delegate chosen by the parish was Irene Lupish. We congratulate Irene on her election and wish her all the best as she participates in the important work of the Diocesan conference.
On 23 November the parish rector baptised David Evteev, the infant son of Alexander Evteev and Elena Levchenko and baby brother to Sophia. David's godparents are Yuri and Luba Totoev. Congratulations to Alexander, Elena, Yuri and Luba. May God grant his newly baptised servant David many years!
In 2003 our parish began to solemnly observe the day of repose of our founding rector, the ever-memorable Archpriest John Lupish, who departed this life in 1977 after 25 years' service in this parish and 39 years in priestly rank. On 22 November each year - unless it falls on a Sunday - Divine Liturgy for the departed is now served, with a panikhida afterwards at his grave in Sandgate Cemetery. A parastas, or Great Panikhida, is generally served on the preceding evening. In accordance with this practice, a number of parishioners gathered again this year on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 November. As it was raining when Divine Liturgy ended on Friday, the panikhida was served in church rather than in the cemetery, and those present gathered in the hall afterwards for tea. Photographs and reminiscences of Father John - whose memory is dear to the parish - were shared, and it is expected that they will be published on this website soon.
Our Parish Council held its November 2013 meeting on Monday 18 November. The rector reported on parish life - including a number of forthcoming baptisms - and on the life of the Diocese. The Parish Council also heard reports on the new parish website and other parish communications. It reviewed progress on the church extension plans, the parish iconography project, and and other improvements to the church and hall, and considered the drafts of new financial reports and guidelines. The forthcoming Extraordinary Parish Meeting (Чрезвычаное Приходское Собрание) on 24 November and the Diocesan Conference on 12-14 December were discussed. The Parish Council will next meet on Monday 16 December.
On Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 November we had services in honour of Saint Job, Abbot and Wonderworker of Pochaev, a saint whose influence on the life and historical path of our Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia cannot be overestimated. At these services we also honoured the memory of Blessed Theophil of Kiev, with icons of both saints set forth in the middle of the church for veneration. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the newly-enightened infant Bridget Morrison, baptised in our church on the preceding day, received Holy Communion for the first time. In his sermon, the parish rector referred to the second appointed reading from the Apostol, Galatians 5:22-6:2, and spoke of the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit - "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control" - in the lives of Saints Job and Theophil. Following the dismissal Anna Pavolvna Morhun, our Head Sister, speaking on behalf of the parish, congratulated Father James on his recent name-day, the feast of the Holy Apostle James, Brother of the Lord (23 October/5 November). The parish choir then sang "Many Years" for him.
On Saturday 26 October and Sunday 27 October we had services in honour of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Following Matins on Saturday evening, the First Hour (Ensimmäisen hetki) was read in Finnish by Anu Kinnunen, a member of our Parish Council and an Orthodox Finn. On Sunday morning we were joined for Divine Liturgy by Subdeacon Nicholas Martinov and his family from the parish of Saint Nicholas in Fairfield, Sydney. Subdeacon Nicholas, a longstanding friend of our parish, has assisted at hierarchical services in our Diocese from the time of the episcopacy of the ever-memorable Archbishop Savva (Raevsky)(+17 April 1976).
Saturday 12 October was the twentieth anniversary of the uncovering of the incorrupt relics of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, an event that preceded his solemn glorification in 1994 by the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. On the evening of Saturday 12 and the morning of Sunday 13 October the parish rector presided at services in honour of the Holy Hieromartyr Gregory, enlightener of Greater Armenia. Following Divine Liturgy on Sunday, a moleben was served to the Mother of God and to Saint John. It being the eve of the feast of the Protection of the Theotokos, our icon of the Mother of God “Protectress of Newcastle” was placed in the centre of the church alongside the parish icon of saint John. After the moleben...
On Thursday 26 September and Friday 27 September 2013 the parish rector presided at services for the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. All-night vigil with the blessing of loaves and wheat, wine and oil was served on Thursday evening. As is customary, the Holy Cross was brought forth from the sanctuary at the end of the singing of the Doxology, after which the faithful, having venerated it, received the blessed bread and anointing with oil. Later that evening...
On Saturday 21 September and Sunday 22 September 2013 the parish rector presided at services for the Afterfeast of Mother of God and in honour of the parents of the Holy Virgin, the Righteous Ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna. Following Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Annual General Meeting of our parish was held. At the AGM the 2013 Annual Report was received and the 2012-13 Parish Council was re-elected unopposed. Congratulations to the members of the re-elected Parish Council!
On Saturday and Sunday 7-8 September the parish rector presided at services in honour of the Holy Martyrs Adrian and Natalia and of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow in 1395. A new Australian government having been elected the previous day, prayers for the civil authorities were added to the Augmented Litany during Divine Liturgy...
On Saturday 1 September 2013 we learned with sadness of the repose, after a period of illness, of our long-standing parishioner and church builder, Michael Jermolajew. Born in Moscow in September 1916, Michael departed this life aged 96. May God grant him rest! Our parish offers sincere condolences to Michael’s daughter Nella and to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Michael’s funeral will be served at Saint Nicholas’ at 10.00am on Friday 6 September 2013. Following this, he will be laid to rest in Wallsend Cemetery alongside his wife, Raisa.
On Saturday and Sunday 24-25 August the parish rector presided at services for the Afterfeast of the Transfiguration and in honour of the Holy Martyrs Photius and Anicetus. It being the last service in our parish before the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, many of the faithful took the opportunity to confess and receive Holy Communion. Following Divine Liturgy, a memorial litia was served for the late ever-memorable Alexander Georgievich Medwedew, it being the eve of the eighth anniversary of his repose. Mr Medwedew was for many years both a chorister and the Warden of our parish, and it was he who led the Building Committee for our current church. May his memory be eternal!
On Sunday 18 August and Monday 19 August 2013 we celebrated the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. All-night vigil with the blessing of five loaves and wheat, wine and oil was served at 6.00pm on Sunday evening. On Monday morning, the parish rector served Divine Liturgy. As is customary, grapes and other fruit were blessed at the end of Divine Liturgy. This year, a quantity of organic honey from the Wollombi Valley – a gift from friends of our parish - was also blessed, the jars of which were then distributed to the faithful.
The feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord is an important one for us, it being the day on which the ever-memorable founder of our parish, Archpriest John Lupish, arrived in Australia in 1949 with his family and many who were to become his parishioners. In 2014 we will celebrate 65 years since his arrival and the beginnings of Russian Orthodox life in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.
Shortly before all-night vigil on Sunday 18 August a group of relatives and friends gathered in Sandgate Cemetery for a memorial service marking the passing of almost twelve months since the repose of the ever-memorable Anton Szabunia, who departed this life on 20 August 2012. Mr Szabunia also arrived in Australia on 19 August 1949, travelling here aboard MV Fairsea with the Lupish family and many others. May God grant him rest!
For a number of years now, with Metropolitan Hilarion’s blessing, the Romanian Orthodox Community of ”Sfântul Apostol Andrei” (“Holy Apostle Andrew”), under the leadership of Father Theodor Postelnisecu, a priest of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, has celebrated Divine Liturgy in our church on certain Sundays on which our own parish has not had services.
On Sunday 4 August 2013 His Grace Bishop Mihail, Ruling Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, visited Newcastle, presiding at Divine Liturgy in our church. Although the parish rector could not be present because of commitments in the Gosford parish, Subdeacon Luke Goura assisted at the service and a small number of our parishioners joined the Romanian Orthodox Community in church. A festive lunch was held in the church hall afterwards.
This was the second time that Bishop Mihail had visited our church. We are grateful for this opportunity to assist the Romanian Orthodox community and strengthen the links between Orthodox Christians in Newcastle and the wider Hunter region.
On Sunday 28 July 2013, the day of commemoration of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles and Enlightener of the Russian Peoples, Grand Duke Vladimir, our parish joined the wider Russian Orthodox Church in celebrating the passing of 1025 years since the conversion of Saint Vladimir and the Baptism of Rus'. The Lesser Blessing of Waters was served early that morning. At the end of the Divine Liturgy the parish rector read aloud the Message of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church to Archpastors, Priests, Monastics and Laity on the Occasion of the 1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of Rus', printed copies of which were later distributed to the faithful in both Russian and English. Following the dismissal, there was a moleben to Saint Vladimir together with a cross procession. In the litany at the conclusion of the moleben, prayers of thanksgiving for God's mercy on the Russian land and people were offered, together with petitions for Saint Vladimir's help and the deliverance of the church from schism and division.
As the feast-day of Saints Peter and Paul is the patronal feast of the Cathedral of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese, we customarily do not have services in our parish on this day. Rather, our rector - and those of our parishioners able to make the journey to Sydney - participate in the services at the Cathedral. This year, His Grace Bishop George of Mayfield, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese - visiting Australia at Metropolitan Hilarion's invitation - presided at the Divine Services. Concelebrating were the cathedral clergy and a number of priests and deacons from the smaller New South Wales parishes. At the Small Entrance during Divine Liturgy our rector, Priest James Carles, was awarded the right to wear the gold pectoral cross in recognition of his diligent pastoral service. A photo-report, together with more information in Russian, is available here.
On Saturday 22 June and Sunday 23 June 2013 we had services for the Great Feast of Pentecost. On Saturday evening we had All-night Vigil with the blessing of loaves, wheat, wine, and oil. On Sunday morning we had Divine Liturgy followed by Vespers and the "kneeling prayers". The church was decorated beautifully with green branches and flowers.
On Saturday 18 May 2013 the parish rector, Father James Carles, together with Matushka Marie and three of their children, visited the studio of iconographer Dimitri Lihachov on Scotland Island in Sydney's Pittwater. Dimitri is working on a beautiful new "Golgotha" Cross for our parish, the first stage of a major project of refurbishment that is planned to culminate in the frescoing of the church. God willing, Dimitri's work will be finished in August 2013. Arrangements will then be made to transport the Cross from Scotland Island to Wallsend.