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 26 April 2021: The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it have had a profound impact on social interaction around the world. Our Holy Orthodox Church is not exempt from this. Our parish takes the COVID-19 public health risk seriously and continues to comply 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 also introduced sanitary measures including the provision of hand sanitiser at the entry to the church; giving the faithful the option of not kissing the Holy Gospel, the icons, the chalice, the Cross, or the hand of the priest; cleaning icons regularly with methylated spirits; 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; 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 26 April 2021: Attendance at indoor religious services throughout New South Wales has, since Saturday 13 February 2021, been subject to the two square metre rule. We are permitted 65 people in church because the total area of our church, adjoing hall and choir loft is approximately 130 squares metres. On those occasions when more than 65 people attend we will now manage the numbers in church so as to give as many people as possible the opportunity to venerate the icons, light candles and participate in the services. This means that all are welcome to attend services on the understanding that at larger gatherings it may not be possible to enter the church immediately or to remain inside for the entire service.
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 Tuesday 25 May and Wednesday 26 May we will have services for Mid-Pentecost. Mid-Pentecost is the twenty-fifth day of Pascha, half-way to the Great Feast of Pentecost on the fiftieth day. On this day the Orthodox Church commemorates Christ's teaching in the temple "in the midst of the Judaic feast" (John 7:14-30) and customarily blesses water as a sign of the grace of the Holy Spirit and with reference to the "living water" promised by our Lord Jesus Christ to all that believe in Him (John 7:37-38). Matins will be served at 6.00pm on Tuesday and Divine Liturgy will be served at 9.00am on Wednesday. Following Divine Liturgy there will be a blessing of water. These services are additional services that have not been included in the printed schedule of services distributed in church and available in PDF form online.
On Monday 10 May and Tuesday 11 May we had services for Radonitsa, the Day of Rejoicing. In the Russian Orthodox tradition this is the first day after Pascha on which the departed are commemorated. Matins was served on Monday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Tuesday morning. Following Divine Liturgy a general panikhida was served in church, and later individual graveside services were served at Point Clare Cemetery. This was the first time that services for Radonitsa had been served in our parish.
This year, our parish again had a number of traditional services for Holy Week and Pascha. Matins with the singing of "Behold, the Bridegroom comes" ("Се, Жених грядет" - on the first three evenings) and the exapostilarion “Thy Bridal chamber” ("Чертог твой") was served on Sunday 25 April, Monday 26 April, Tuesday 27 April, and Wednesday 28 April. Divine Liturgy was served in the morning on Great Thursday, 29 April. On Great Friday, 30 April, Vespers with the bringing out of the Shroud of Christ was served in the afternoon. On Saturday 1 May Midnight Office was served late in the evening, with Paschal Matins and Divine Liturgy following in the early hours of 2 May, the Sunday of Pascha. The Paschal Hours and Vespers were served later that morning. Easter baskets with cakes, eggs and other festive foods were blessed following Matins and again following Vespers. In the evening on Friday 7 May Paschal Matins was served, and in the morning on Saturday 8 May, Divine Liturgy was served. Following Divine Liturgy on Bright Saturday the artos was cut and distributed.
On Friday 23 April and Saturday 24 April we had services for the Sixth Saturday of Great Lent, Lazarus Saturday. On this day the Orthodox Church commemorates the raising of Lazarus from the dead after four days in the grave (John 11:1-45). Matins was served on Friday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Saturday morning. As we had no services for Palm Sunday this year, pussy-willows were blessed following the Prayer before the Amvon. After Divine Liturgy a collection was taken up to assist the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. Later in the afternoon, a newly-blessed cross was elevated and mounted on the front of our parish centre.
On Saturday 17 April and Sunday 18 April we had services for the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent. Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read. In his sermon on Sunday the parish rector spoke about the life and example of Saint Mary of Egypt and of Righteous Zosima. Following the service on Sunday the prayers of blessing were read over a beautiful new stainless steel cross, the work of long-term parishioner Victor Bendevski, to be mounted on the front of our parish centre.
In addition to services on Saturday-Sunday 17-18 April, during the Fifth Week of Great Lent we had Great Compline in the evening of Wednesday 14 April and the General Service of Anointing with Oil in the evening on Sunday 18 April. At the latter service, twenty-seven of our parishioners received anointing with oil for the healing of soul and body.
On Tuesday 13 April the Parish Council met in person at our parish centre, the first face-to-face meeting since August 2020. The usual reports on parish life and finances were tabled and discussed. The recent repose of two parishioners, Boris Levitsky and Olga Binetsky, was noted. The arrangements for a church clean-up on Saturday 17 April and for managing attendance at the Easter services were considered, together with preliminary plans for our patronal feast of the Great-Martyr Panteleimon on 8-9 August. It was noted that the Ladies' Auxiliary had decided to purchase new white vestments for the parish clergy, new black vestments for our servers, and new purple vestments for the church, clergy and servers. The Parish Council is due to meet again in mid-May 2021.
In addition to services for the Great Feast of the Annunciation of the Mother of God, during the Fourth Week of Great Lent we had Great Compline in the evening of Wednesday 7 April and Vespers with the Fourth Passia in the evening on Sunday 12 April.
On Saturday 10 April the parish rector baptised Yana, the infant daughter of Ruslan Starikov and Elena Kazurova, and a baby sister to Nina. Yana, whose godparents were Pavel Markov and Lydia Han, was baptised in honour of the Holy Myrrh-bearer Ioanna. We warmly congratulate Ruslan, Elena, Pavel and Lydia, and wish the newly-baptised handmaiden of God Ioanna many years!
On Tuesday-Wednesday 6-7 April we had services for the Great Feast of the Annunciation of the Mother of God. All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Tuesday evening, and the Hours, Typika, Vespers and Divine Liturgy were served on Wednesday morning. Our small church was beautifully adorned in blue vestments for the services, and many of the people present on Wednesday morning received Holy Communion.
On Saturday 3 April and Sunday 4 April we had services for the Third Sunday of Great Lent. Matins with the bringing-out of the Cross was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. As Saturday 3 April was a day of commemoration of the departed, Matins was preceded by a general panikhida during which prayers were offered for the ever-memorable Emperor Paul I of Russia (+March 1801), Metropolitan Laurus (Shkurla) (+ March 2008), Archimandrite Kyprian (Pyzhov) of Jordanville (+ March 2001), Russian Orthodox clergy victims of the coronavirus, and our departed founders, benefactors, parishioners and relatives. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday the Prayer in time of Devastating Epidemic was read. In his sermon the parish rector spoke about the conditions of Christian discipleship: forgetting oneself, taking up one’s cross, and following after Christ.
During the Third Week of Great Lent we had Lenten Matins with the First Hour early on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Great Compline on Wednesday evening. On Tuesday-Wednesday 30-31 March our clergy participated in the Great Lenten Pastoral Conference of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese. In addition to services on Saturday-Sunday 3-4 April for the Third Sunday in Great Lent, Vespers with the Second Passia was served on the evening of Sunday 4 April.
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.
The 2021 Paschal Epistle of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia may be read in English here and in Russian here. An extract: "From year to year, from century to century, from millennium to millennium, this thanksgiving triumphantly resounds throughout the world – resounds despite all temptations, hardships and ordeals. And it does not stop today, when the world is suffering from the baneful pestilence. At these trying times it is particularly important to support those diseased and infirm, those grieving over the loss of their relatives and friends, those who have lost their livelihood, those who cannot come to church. Let us do what we can to help the afflicted, let us not walk with indifference past the people in need of our concern, attention and care".
The 2021 Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, may be read in English here and in Russian here. An extract: "Together, as we send up gratitude to God, Who has spared our souls from death, for the preservation of our life and the opportunity to spend the present highly-exalted days in church, we should not forsake those lessons that are given to us by current events. Let us not neglect the health measures implemented for staving off the coronavirus infection, as the Sacred Scriptures say: “before you fall ill, take care of your health” (Sirach 18:19). This means that precaution is itself a lifesaving medicine. Let us also not forsake prayer that the plague – which has distressed many with the fear of death – will pass, that the Lord, just as in the Old Testament, will relent “concerning the disaster” and say to the Angel who is afflicting us, "Enough! Withdraw your hand" (2 Samuel 24:16)".
The April 2021 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), the official journal of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, has recently become available in our parishes. This Paschal edition continues the beautiful glossy colour format introduced in December 2021. Content includes Metropolitan Hilarion’s Paschal Epistle in Russian and English; details of ordinations and clergy appointments; a list of living and departed clergy of the Diocese for commemoration in prayer; a letter from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in Australia to the NSW Attorney-General concerning confession and mandatory reporting of child sexual offences; a directory of clergy and parishes; ‘Christian Morals and Values Shaping the Future of the Russian World’, a paper presented at a seminar in Germany in 2015; and more. Copies are $5.00.