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 2 January 2021: The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it are having a profound impact on social interaction around the world. Our Holy Orthodox Church is not exempt from this. Our parish takes this public health risk seriously and is strictly complying 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 introduced sanitary measures in church life including the provision of hand sanitiser at the entry to the church; discouraging people from kissing the Holy Gospel, the icons, the chalice, the Cross, and the hand of the priest; cleaning icons regularly with methylated spirits; anointing the faithful with disposable cotton swabs rather than a single brush; 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; strict limits on the number of people singing in the choir; and the cancellation of our usual “cup of tea” after services. We note that from 12.00am on Sunday 3 January 2020, face masks are mandatory in places of worship in the Greater Sydney area, which includes the Central Coast. 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 2 January 2021: From Sunday 20 December 2020 attendance numbers at religious services in Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast, is again subject to the one person per four square metre rule. This means that we are limited to 30 people per service because the total area of our church, adjoining hall and choir loft is approximately 130 square metres.
All available places on Sunday 3 January and at the Christmas services on 6-7 January have now been taken. As the situation continues to change we have decided that attendance at the services scheduled for 9.00am on Sunday 17 January, 6.00pm on Monday 18 January, and 9.00am on Tuesday 19 January, will be by registration. Those wishing to attend any of these three services should register by emailing email@example.com. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Provided that numbers do not exceed 30, all who wish to attend the service scheduled for 6.00pm on Saturday 16 January may do so. We will review the situation in late January and make a decision then concerning attendance arrangements during February 2021.
Everyone attending any services in our parish should note and comply with the requirement from 12.00am on Sunday 3 January that face masks be worn in places of worship in Greater Sydney. Although a limited number of single-use masks will be available in church, we encourage everyone to provide their own mask.
We continue to ask that our parishioners and friends only attend services if they are in good health. A person will not be considered be in good health if they are suffering from a fever, cough, a sore or "scratchy" throat, loss of smell or taste, a runny nose, loss of appetite, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, or recent unexplained onset of shortness of breath, muscle pain or joint pain. Those who may have had contact with known cases of COVID-19 should comply with public health directives concerning testing and, if necessary, self-isolation.
We will also 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 transmission of COVID-19 that involves a member of our community.
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 Monday 18 January and Tuesday 19 January we will have services in honour of Theophany, the Baptism of Christ. All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves will be served at 6.00pm on Monday and Divine Liturgy with the Great Blessing of Water will be served at 9.00am on Tuesday. Attendance at both services, limited by public health orders to thirty people, is by registration only. Those wishing to attend the services should register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday 16 January and Sunday 17 January we had services for the Thirty-Second Sunday after Pentecost, for the Forefeast of Theophany, and in honour of the Seventy Holy Apostles. All-night vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. Prayers for deliverance from the coronavirus were offered at Divine Liturgy. In his sermon on Sunday the parish rector spoke about the advice given by Apostle Paul to Apostle Timothy, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5), and the work of the Seventy Holy Apostles. Attendance at the services remained restricted by public health regulations to a total of thirty people.
On Wednesday 6 January and Thursday 7 January we had services for Christmas, the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ. All-night Vigil – Great Compline, Matins and the First Hour – with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served on Wednesday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Thursday morning. At the end of Divine Liturgy, a brief moleben of thanksgiving was served to observe the anniversary of the deliverance on Christmas Day in 1812 of the Russian Church and Empire from the invasion of the French and twelve other nations. In place of a sermon, the parish rector read aloud the Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. Sadly, attendance at both services was limited by public health regulations to a total of thirty people.
For us as for everyone, 2020 was dominated by the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it. Our parish had no public services from Wednesday 18 March until Saturday 16 May and restrictions on attendance were in place from May until the end of the year. We had five baptisms, amongst whom were Elliana Sutula, James Janson, Isla McDougall, and Thea Markarova. We served the funeral of Tatiana Gerasimovna Silis. Our much-loved former Head Sister, Olga Petroff, departed this life after a grievous illness. Litanies and prayers were offered to mark the Centenary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and together with the Wallsend parish we provided an English-Russian wall calendar commemorating this milestone in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church. Our website provided information to help with the planning of weddings and instructive material about Sunday commemorations and readings, certain Great Feasts, and the system of tones used for singing in the Russian Orthodox Church. We commissioned and approved the design of a new iconostasis for our parish centre and commenced arrangements for its manufacture. Our parish rector made pastoral visits to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales in August and November. All the news from 2020 can be read here. Glory be to God for all things!
On Saturday 19 December and Sunday 20 December we had services for the Twenty-Eighth Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of Saint Ambrose of Milan (+397 AD). All-night vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. In his sermon at Divine Liturgy the parish rector spoke about the life and example of Saint Ambrose, a wonderful shepherd of the Church of Christ and a steadfast defender of Orthodoxy. Following Divine Liturgy a memorial litia was served for Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, Metropolitan Amfilohije (Radovic) of Montenegro and the Littoral, and more than one hundred hierarchs and clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church who have departed this life in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus. A comprehensive list of the departed clergy is available in Russian here, and a shorter list in English that includes monastics is available here. These were our final services for 2020.
Our 2020 Annual Report, including the independently audited 2019-20 Financial Statements, is now available. A copy of the report can be accessed in PDF form here. In view of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, and with Bishop George’s blessing, there will be no parish Annual General Meeting this year. Instead, the 2020 Annual Report was endorsed by the Parish Council at a meeting on Tuesday 1 December 2020. We encourage our parishioners and friends with questions or comments in relation to our Annual Report to contact us.
On Saturday 5 December and Sunday 6 December we had services for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, for the Afterfeast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple, and in honour of Holy and Right-Believing Great Prince Alexander Nevsky (+1263 AD). All-night vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. In place of a sermon at Divine Liturgy, the parish rector read aloud the Jubilee Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
On Thursday 3 December and Friday 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 Thursday evening and Divine Liturgy was served early on Friday morning. Attendance at the services remained restricted by public health regulations to a total of thirty people.
On Tuesday 1 December the Parish Council met by teleconference. The usual reports on parish life and finances were tabled and discussed. The draft 2020 Annual Report and the audited financial statements were considered, accepted and approved for distribution. A quote for the manufacture of a new iconostasis, a design for which was approved by the Parish Council in August 2020, was accepted. It is expected that the new iconostasis will be completed and ready for installation by mid-2022.
On Saturday 17 October and Sunday 18 October we had services for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost and in honour of the Righteous John, the Wonderworker of Kronstadt (+1908). All-night vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. Prayers for deliverance from the coronavirus were offered at Divine Liturgy. In his sermon on Sunday the parish rector spoke about the life and teachings of Saint John of Kronstadt. Attendance at the services remained restricted by public health regulations to a total of thirty people.
The December 2020 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), the official journal of the Australian-New Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, has recently become available in our parishes. This edition commemorates the centenary of the foundation, in 1920, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and is in a beautiful new format that includes colour photographs and QR codes with links to further information. Content includes details of ordinations, clergy awards, and appointments; reports on feast-day celebrations in Geelong and at the Kazan Convent in Kentlyn, NSW; an extensive report marking the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of Saint John the Baptist Skete in Kentlyn, together with an appeals for funds to assist with the rebuilding of the skete; an obituary of His Holiness Irenej, Patriarch of Serbia, who reposed this year as a result of the coronavirus; the Jubilee Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion; a beautiful colour reproduction of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, suitable for framing; materials on globalisation from the perspective of the Russian Orthodox Church; and more. Copies are $5.00.