Our next services will be Matins at 6.00pm on Saturday 6 September and Divine Liturgy at 9.00am on Sunday 7 September, the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the day of commemoration of the Apostle Bartholomew and the Apostle Titus of the Seventy.
Services on 18-19 August, the Great Feast of the Transfiguration - 19/08/2014
On Monday 18 August and Tuesday 19 August we had services for the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. On Monday evening All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served. On Tuesday morning Divine Liturgy was served, after which grapes and other fruits were blessed in accordance with the custom of the Russian Orthodox Church. On this day the opportunity was also taken to bless honey, 60 jars of organic honey from the Wollombi Valley having been given to our parish. The blessed honey was afterwards distributed amongst our parishioners and friends.
On Saturday 16 August and Sunday 17 August we had services for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Seven Youths (or “Seven Sleepers”) of Ephesus. It being the Dormition Fast, the church was vested in red, and icons of the Seven Sleepers and of the New-Martyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles Cosmas of Aetolia, also commemorated on this day, were set in the centre of the church for veneration. After the dismissal “Many Years” was sung for our parishioner and long-serving Parish Councilor, Vasily (“Bill”) Reid, Bill having celebrated his name-day on Friday 15 August. As the faithful came to the Cross, the rector announced that the 2014 parish Annual General Meeting would be held on Sunday 21 September 2014.
Parish awards given on the occasion of 10 years at West Gosford - 10/08/2014
On Saturday 9 August 2014 at the end of Divine Liturgy awards were presented to thirteen of our parishioners and friends. These awards, given on the occasion of our celebration of 10 years of parish life at West Gosford, were the first under the awards policy that our Parish Council adopted in 2012. A parish Certificate of Appreciation ("Приходская Благодарность") was presented to Olga Petroff, Nestor Petroff, Nina Golovin, Vladimir ("Rick") Golovin, Kate Marcotrigiano, Sophia Kfoury, Vasily (Bill) Reid, Olga Ivanovna Itsiskon, Matushka Marie Carles, Paul Pereboeff, Claudia Kraiuhin, Craig Koppman and Anna Kourbatov. Details of the individual citations are available here. Congratulations to all who received awards!
NEW! Services on 8-9 August for the feast of Great-Martyr Panteleimon - 09/08/2014
On Friday 8 August and Saturday 9 August 2014 our parish celebrated the feast of our heavenly protector, the Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, and formally observed ten years of parish life at West Gosford. On the Friday evening His Grace Bishop George of Mayfield, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, presided at All-night Vigil with the blessing of five loaves, wheat, wine and oil. Concelebrating were our parish rector, Priest James Carles, together with Protodeacon German Polorotoff (Saint Nicholas, Fairfield), our own Deacon Martin Naef, and Deacon Vasilli Konstantinidis (Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, Rocklea, QLD). The choir sang under the direction of long-serving choir conductor, Olga Ivanovna Itsikson, and many parishioners and friends were present for the service. On the following morning the parish rector served the lesser blessing of water, assisted by Deacon Constantine Moshegov (Sts Peter and Paul, Strathfield & All Saints of Russia, Croydon). Bishop George presided at Divine Liturgy. In addition to the parish clergy, five priests and four deacons concelebrated: Archpriest Ljubomir Dvojakovski (Saint George, Carlton), Hieromonk John (Macpherson) (Holy Trinity Monastery, Dungog), Priest Alexander Korjenevski (Saint George, Carlton), Priest Dionysios Halim (Saint John the Baptist Skete, Kentlyn), Priest Simon Nekipelov (Saints Peter and Paul, Strathfield), Protodeacon Alexander Kotlaroff (Saints Peter and Pual Strathfield), and the other deacons already mentioned. A great many people from a number of Sydney parishes arrived prior to Divine Liturgy, a bus having been generously arranged by John Wheatley Funeral Services. Bishop George gave an edifying sermon on the life of Saint Panteleimon, noting that the renowned Great-martyr and Healer was also the heavenly protector of his own monastery of the Holy Cross in West Virginia, USA. Following Divine Liturgy the clergy and faithful assembled before the church doors for a moleben to Saint Panteleimon. After the customary singing of Many Years and Memory Eternal, awards were presented to thirteen parishioners. A festive banquet was then held at the Narara Community Centre, the place in which our parish held services prior to the opening of our church in 2004. An article about our feast-day in the Russian-language weekly newspaper “Unification” can be viewed here, together with a selection of photographs.
The August 2014 meeting of the Parish Council - 05/08/2014
The Parish Council met on Tuesday 5 August 2014. After briefly considering certain matters troubling the faithful - disturbances in the life of the Diocese and the impact on the Russian and Ukrainian communities in Australia of the grievous conflict in Ukraine - the Parish Council turned its attention to preparations for the parish feast-day and the visit of Bishop George of Mayfield. The 2013-14 financial records of the parish Ladies' Auxiliary were prepared for external audit, and Sunday 21 September 2014 was confirmed as the date of the 2014 Annual General Meeting of parish members. The Parish Council will next meet on Tuesday 26 August 2014.
Services on 2-3 August - 03/08/2014
On Saturday 2 August and Sunday 3 August we had services for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Prophet Ezekiel. Deacon Martin Naef was not with us, having been asked to serve at the parish of All Saints of Russia, Croydon, together with the Dean of New South Wales, Mitred Archpiest Nikita Chemodakov. At Divine Liturgy prayers were once again offered for an end to strife in Ukraine.
Bishop George visits two Greek Orthodox monasteries on the Central Coast - 08/08/2014
On Friday 8 August 2014 Hs Grace Bishop George of Mayfield visited two monasteries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, both located in Mangrove Mountain here on the New South Wales Central Coast: Pantanassa Monastery and Holy Cross Convent. His Grace was accompanied by our parish rector, Father James Carles.
Arriving at Pantanassa Monastery shortly after 10.00am, Vladyka was greeted with the ringing of the monastery bells. Abbot Eusebios and his brethren had assembled before the main monastery building to welcome Vladyka, after which they escorted him to the chapel. There, Father Eusebios served a brief moleben for Vladyka’s health before greeting him with warm words of welcome, thanking him for his attention and asking for his prayers.
The brethren then received Vladyka in the monastery reception room, serving Greek coffee, nuts, dried fruits and Greek pastries. An edifying conversation followed, with Vladyka and the brethren sharing details of the life and struggles of their respective monasteries. The brethren asked for Vladyka’s thoughts with regard to the monastic life in particular and Orthodox Christian life in general, and all shared their concern with regard to troubling developments in contemporary life.
After walking over the monastery grounds, inspecting the new guest house and garage being constructed, and venerating the large Cross of Christ in a small outdoor chapel, the guests were invited to the refectory. There, Vladyka was given the place of honour, and as the brethren and their guests ate, the monastery’s newest monk, Father Theodoros, read from the Counsels of Elder Paisios.
Following lunch the entire brotherhood escorted Vladyka and Father James to the site of their new monastery, an imposing structure under construction high on the cliff above their present home. Vladyka was again welcomed with the ringing of bells, after which he was shown the new church and the future refectory, kitchen, library, office and monastic cells.
Father Eusebios and his brethren then bid Vladyka a warm farewell, asking for his prayers and expressing the hope that he might one day visit again.
Vladyka and Father James then drove the short distance to the Holy Cross Convent. Abbess Philothea and her sisters also greeted Vladyka at the monastery gates with the ringing of bells, escorting him to the public chapel while singing the troparion of the Cross in Greek. After taking refreshments in the convent dining room and discussing the two monasteries of the Holy Cross – in Mangrove Mountain and in West Virginia - the guests were given a brief tour of the buildings and grounds by Mother Philothea and her sisters, finishing at the site of the new church, the construction of which is soon to begin.
Vladyka and Father James then returned to our church for the all-night vigil for our patronal feast of Saint Panteleimon. Their visit to the monasteries was a most edifying one. The Greek Orthodox monastics greeted Vladyka with warmth and showed him great honour, also giving an inspiring example of what can be achieved with trust in God and steadfast commitment to His service. Glory be to God for all things!