Our next services will be Matins at 6.00pm on Saturday 29 November and Divine Liturgy at 9.00am on Sunday 30 November, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and the day of commemoration of Venerable Paisius Velichkovsky (+1794), a monastic father who has had an immense influence on the spiritual life of the Russian Orthodox Church. Following Divine Liturgy on Sunday our parish will hold its 2014 Annual General Meeting.
A collection to benefit the ROCOR Fund for Assistance: 30 November 2014
In parishes of our Diocese a collection is generally taken up every year during November to help the work of the Fund for Assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. The Fund for Assistance supports the moral-spiritual education of the youth, provides aid to the clergy, and distributes emergency relief to the missions of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. This year, the collection will be taken up in our parish on Sunday 30 November. Collection envelopes will be available in church as of Saturday 16 November. Those who wish to make a donation but who are unable to be in church on either of these Sundays may make a direct donation to the Fund for Assistance here.
On Saturday 15 November and Sunday 16 November we had services for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Martyrs Acepsimas the bishop, Joseph the priest, Aithalas the deacon (Persian martyrs of the Fourth C.) and the dedication of the original church of the Great-Martyr George in Lydda (modern-day Lod, Israel) (Fourth C.). Announcements were made about the 2014 Annual General Meeting of our parish and the November 2014 Fund for Assistance collection, both of which are scheduled for Sunday 30 November. Following the dismissal, a panikhida was served for the newly reposed Sophia Kfoury. It being our last Sunday service before the commencement of the Nativity Fast, many remained afterwards to share in a barbeque prepared by our Ladies’ Auxiliary.
The November 2014 meeting of the Parish Council - 11/11/2014
The Parish Council met on Tuesday 11 November. Immediately before the meeting, Parish Council members and others gathered for a panikhida for the newly-departed handmaiden of God Sophia Kfoury, a member of the Parish Council since 2004. At the meeting the usual reports were presented. Particular attention was given to the recent acquisition by the parish of mobile technology allowing the bookstore – and, if need be, the church candle-desk – to receive payments by card through Paypal rather than cash. A proposed appeal for assistance with the purchase of a property was further considered and preparations for the Annual General Meeting were reviewed. The use of Skype for some Parish Council meetings was also discussed, two members of the Parish Council living over 50 kilometres from the church. The Parish Council will next meet on 9 December 2014.
The repose of Sophia Kfoury - 11/11/2014
On Tuesday 11 November we learned with sadness of the repose that morning – following a brief but grievous illness – of our greatly loved parishioner, Parish Council member and friend, Sophia Kfoury. Sophia had been involved in the life of our parish since 2002, and had served on the Auditing Committee and Parish Council since 2003. Born in Jerusalem in 1952 to an English father and a Romanian mother, Sophia spent her childhood and youth in the Russian Orthodox convent on the Mount of Olives and in the school of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission at Bethany, later moving to Australia with her mother. Here she married Nicolas Kfoury, an Orthodox Christian from Lebanon, and with him raised a family of five children. We offer heartfelt condolences to Nicolas and to their children and grandchildren. May her memory be eternal! (ARTICLE EDITED)
Services on 1-2 November - 02/11/2014
On Saturday 1 November and Sunday 2 November we had services for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Great-Martyr Artemius at Antioch (+362). As the Saturday was a day of commemoration of the departed, a general panikhida was served immediately before the evening service. Following the Prayer before the Amvon at Divine Liturgy on Sunday, the parish rector read the prayers of blessing over new burial shrouds and English-language copies of the Prayer of Absolution and the coronets ("venchiki") used at Orthodox Christian burials. Also blessed were two sets of new service books for use during Great Lent - in Church Slavonic but printed in Russian font - and a number of icons of the Mother of God "Helper in Childbirth". These icons are to be part of a gift bag that our parish is preparing - in conjunction with the parish of Saint Nicholas, Wallsend - for distribution to expectant mothers. At the end of the service, the parish rector announced that the Annual General Meeting of parish members will be held on 30 November 2014.
Our November 2014 parish newsletter - 02/11/2014
Our November 2014 parish newsletter was published on 2 November 2014. To read it visit our newsletter page or click here.
Notice of Annual General Meeting 2014 - 01/11/2014
A formal notice concerning the parish Annual General Meeting scheduled for Sunday 30 November 2014 is available here. The Parish Council nomination form referred to in the notice is available here.
The blessing of a marriage - Alex Yakimov and Tammy Smith - 26/10/2014
On Sunday 26 October the blessing of the marriage of Alex Yakimov and Tammy Smith was served in our church. Alex, the grandson of parish founder and our first Warden, Alexander N. Yakimov, was an altar server at Narara and later in the early days at West Gosford. Our parish choir sang under the direction of O. I. Itsikson, and a great many family members and friends were in attendance. We warmly congratulate Alex and Tammy on their marriage, and wish them many years of happiness together!
Services on 18-19 October: The commemoration of the Holy Apostle Thomas - 19/10/2014
On Saturday 18 October and Sunday 19 October we had services for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Apostle Thomas. Our small church was full on Sunday morning, regular worshippers having been joined by friends from Sydney and Canberra. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the Apostle Thomas, noting both his well-known doubt concerning the Resurrection of Christ and his lesser-known apostolic work in India. Recounting the story from the Life of Saint Thomas concerning King Gundafor’s Magnificent Palace, the rector emphasised the importance of giving money to the poor – to be found amongst us even in a prosperous country like Australia - and thereby building a mansion in the Kingdom of Heaven. Following the service, our Ladies’ Auxiliary cooked pizza for our parishioners and friends, the pizza dough having been kindly donated by Pizza Inn, Gosford.
The October 2014 meeting of the Parish Council - 14/10/2014
The Parish Council met on Tuesday 14 October 2014. An update was given on the health of long-standing parishioner and Parish Council member, Sophia Kfoury, the Parish Council learning with sorrow of her increasingly grievous illness. The customary pastoral, administrative and financial reports were then presented, and consideration was given to a range of new security measures made necessary by a break-in at our church on Tuesday 7 October. The report of the external auditor having been received, it was agreed that the parish Annual General Meeting would be held on Sunday 30 November 2014. The Russian and English texts of an appeal for assistance in purchasing property were reviewed. The Parish Council also considered membership applications, the possibility of card-based transactions at church, and the purchase of green vestments for our altar servers. The 2013-14 Parish Council will meet for the final time on 11 November 2014.
A baptism - Anna Maslova - 11/10/2014
On Saturday 11 October the parish rector baptised a young woman, Anna Maslova. Anna, an accountant, chose as her patron saint the Russian New-Martyr Anna (Ostroglazova), a young woman who was also an accountant and who stood firm in the face of Bolshevik persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church before her martyrdom in 1937. Anna’s sponsor at baptism was Elena Ushakova. We offer warm congratulations to Anna and to Elena. May God, through the prayers of the Holy New-Martyr Anna, grant His newly-baptised handmaiden many years!
Our annual October Long Weekend BBQ and picnic - 06/10/2014
On Monday 6 October, a beautiful spring day and the Labour Day public holiday in New South Wales, approximately forty parishioners and friends gathered at Heazlett Park, Avoca Beach, for our annual BBQ and picnic day. As usual, many of the children took the opportunity to hire pedal-boats on the lagoon and to swim while the adults relaxed in the shade by the water’s edge. Many thanks to Rick Golovin and his team of volunteers for setting everything up and for preparing lunch!
Services on 4-5 October - 05/10/2014
On Saturday 4 October and Sunday 5 October – in New South Wales, the Labour Day long weekend – we had services for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Holy Apostle Quadratus of the Seventy (+130 AD) and the Hieromartyr Phocas, bishop of Sinope (+117 AD). On Sunday our regular parishioners were joined by holiday-makers from Sydney and by others new to our parish. Receiving Holy Communion at Divine Liturgy for the first time were the newly-baptised Maria Malysheva and Constantine Day. At the end of the service a collection was taken up for refugees in Ukraine, the funds collected to be passed to the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia for distribution.
A baptism - Anthony Harrison - 05/10/2014
On Sunday 5 October 2014 the parish rector baptised Anthony Mihai Harrison, the infant son of Matthew and Adriana Harrison and a baby brother to Thomas. His godparents are Razvan and Oana Popescu. We offer warm congratulations to Matthew, Adriana, Razvan and Oana, and pray that God will grant His newly-baptised servant Anthony many years!
A baptism - Constantine Day - 04/10/2014
On Saturday 4 October 2014 the parish rector baptised Ethan Day, the infant son of Mark and Elina Day and a baby brother to Daniel. Ethan was given the name Constantine in baptism in honour of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine the Great, on whose feast-day he was born. His sponsor at baptism was his maternal godmother, Rimma Nagikh. Following the service, Rimma presented our parish with two beautiful icons, one of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker and the other of All Saints of Ugreshk, both from the Nikolo-Ugreshky Stavropegial Men's Monastery in Moscow. This was Rimma's second such gift to our parish - in 2013 she presented us with a beautiful icon of Saint Pimen of Ugreshk (+1880), the long-serving abbot of the Nikolo-Ugreshky Monastery. We offer heartfelt thanks and warm congratulations to Mark, Elina and Rimma, and pray that God will grant His newly-baptised servant Constantine many years!
Diocesan Collection for the reinterment of the ever-memorable Bishop Constantine (Jesensky, +1996) - 24/10/2014
Emmanuel Jesensky, the future Bishop Constantine, was born in 1907 in Saint Petersburg, where his father, a nobleman, worked in the Imperial Chancery. Taken prisoner in 1918, his father was executed by the Bolsheviks. His mother, on receiving this news, died of a heart attack, leaving eleven-year-old Emmanuel an orphan. Moving to be with his surviving family to Riga, Latvia, he finished school and worked in a pharmacy. At the same time he studied iconography under the masterful Old Rite iconographer, Pimen Sofronov. In 1928 New Martyr Archbishop John of Riga blessed him to enter seminary. He graduated in 1930 and went to Paris, where he undertook postgraduate theological studies. In 1932 he was ordained to the priesthood and sent to Berlin, serving in parishes in Germany until 1949, when he emigrated to the United States and served in parishes of the Eastern American Diocese. In October 1967 he was tonsured a monk and given the name Constantine, and in December 1967 he was consecrated Bishop of Brisbane, Vicar of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese. A deeply spiritual man who loved the beauty of God's house and the Divine Services, he served in Australia from 1967 until 1978 and then in the Eastern American Diocese and the Great Britain until his retirement in 1985. From 1991 he lived at a monastery in Texas where he reposed and was buried. Sadly, the monastery was later closed, and the property passed from the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. For many years the Synod of Bishops has endeavoured to have Bishop Constantine’s remains transferred from Texas to the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. This has now become possible, and the parishes of our Diocese have been asked to assist in this good work. Those amongst the faithful who wish to help may obtain more information from the parish rector.
2014 Annual Diocesan Teen Retreat - 24/10/2014
This year our Diocese will hold its fourth annual Orthodox Teen Retreat. Established in 2011, our Teen Retreats cater for young people aged 14-17. After three years in Sydney, this year’s Teen Retreat will be held in Melbourne, Victoria. For more information visit www.teenretreat.info.
Fiftieth Annual Diocesan Youth Conference, 26-31 December 2014 - 24/10/2014
This year our Diocese will also hold its fiftieth consecutive annual Diocesan youth conference or "Syezd". Established in 1965 at the instigation of the ever-memorable Archbishop Sava (Raevsky, +1976), these conferences have been an important spiritual and social event for the youth of our Diocese ever since. The Jubilee Syezd will be held from 26-31 December 2014 at the "New-Shamordino" Convent of our Lady of Kazan in Kentlyn, NSW, the site of the conference in 1965 and again from 1979-1985. The conference is open to young people aged 18 and over. For more information visit www.syezd.info.