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 16 May 2020: 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 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 also introduced sanitary measures 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; and the cancellation of our usual “cup of tea” after services. In addition, we have marked places on the floor in church to help worshippers maintain appropriate distance from one another. 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 30 May 2020: The relaxation of restrictions by the NSW Government with effect from Monday 1 June 2020 allows us to have a maximum of thirty (30) people in church. It is important to understand that our parish is not yet fully open for public services. For the foreseeable future, church attendance on Sundays will be by invitation only. We ask for your patience and understanding as we try and facilitate church attendance on Sundays for as many of our parishioners and friends as possible. Those wishing to attend specific weekday services may express interest in doing so by emailing email@example.com. As attendance at all evening services is generally low, these services are open to all who wish to attend. For the parish to be compliant with Government requirements, all those attending will need to be in good health, maintain distancing in church, and agree to have their attendance recorded. If anyone is unwell or unwilling to comply with these requirements, they should not accept an invitation to attend. Those wishing to receive Holy Communion are asked to attend the service on the preceding evening and to take the opportunity to confess then rather than immediately before Divine Liturgy when the time of the parish priest is extremely limited. Exceptions will be made for those who have a significant distance to travel or who have no means of getting to church in the evening. There will be a sheet at the candle-desk on which to record attendance details. Please take care to record your details as soon as you arrive at church. The completed attendance sheets will be retained for four weeks, stored securely, 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.
Updated 13 May 2020: Many people have asked how they can continue to materially support our parish during the period of restricted church attendance. 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!
Our Winter 2020 Schedule of Services - covering June, July and August - is now available in PDF format. Services of note during this period include those for Pentecost on 6-7 June, for the commemoration of Saint Panteleimon on 8-9 August, and for the Transfiguration of the Lord on 18-19 August. A copy of the English-language Winter 2020 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Winter 2020 Schedule of Services is available here. Printed copies in both languages are now available in church. NOTE: As of 1 June 2020, the number of people able to be present at all services in our church is restricted by New South Wales Government public health orders to thirty (30). In view of this, attendance at Sunday services will be by invitation only. Those wishing to attend specific weekday Divine Liturgies should express interest in doing so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. As attendance at evening services is generally low these services are open to all who wish to attend.
On Saturday 16 May and Sunday 17 May we had services for the Fifth Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman. All-night vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. For the first time in over two months, we were able to have a number of parishioners in church in addition to clergy, servers, singers and helpers. Many of those present took the opportunity to confess and receive Holy Communion. Following the Prayer before the Amvon at Divine Liturgy, prayers of thanksgiving were offered for the Reestablishment of Canonical Communion in the Russian Orthodox Church, accomplished in Moscow on 17 May 2007 in the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion by the wise and ever-memorable archpastors Patriarch Alexey II and Metropolitan Laurus (Skurla). After the dismissal the parish rector congratulated 16 year-old Monica Karmadonoff on her name day, recalling her baptism on Palm Sunday 2004 and noting that she was the first baby baptised in our West Gosford parish centre.
On Tuesday 12 May the Parish Council met by teleconference. Reports were heard on parish life and finances. Particular attention was given to the COVID-19 crisis, its impact on parish life, and the possibility of recommencing open-door services, albeit with restricted numbers, from 15 May. It was agreed that services with ten worshippers present, in addition to essential workers, would begin as of the weekend of 16-17 May. The parish rector indicated that he would begin to serve in the Wallsend parish again from the weekend of 23-24 May. The Parish Council is due to meet again on Tuesday 9 June.
On Saturday 9 May and Sunday 10 May we had closed-door services for the Third Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Paralytic. This Sunday takes its name from the appointed reading from the Holy Gospel, John 5:1-15, which gives an account of the healing by our Lord Jesus Christ of a man paralysed for thirty-eight years. All-night vigil was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. At Divine Liturgy the commemoration books of the parishioners of the Wallsend parish were read and the Prayer in time of Devastasting Epidemic was offered. Following Divine Liturgy a moleben to Saint Nicholas was served at which the Wallsend parishioners and their families were again commemorated.
On Saturday 2 May and Sunday 3 May we had closed-door services for the Third Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-bearers. On this day the Orthodox Church commemorates those who brought funeral spices and ointments to the tomb for Christ's burial: Mary Magdalene, Mary the Theotokos, Joanna, Salome, Mary the wife of Cleopas, Susanna, Mary and Martha of Bethany, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Matins was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. At Divine Liturgy the commemoration books of all our parishioners were read and the Prayer in time of Devastasting Epidemic was offered. Following Divine Liturgy a moleben to Saint Panteleimon was served at which our parishioners and their families were again commemorated.
The April 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. As usual, it contains a number of interesting articles in both Russian and English. This issue includes the Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion in Russian and English; “Домашнее Богослужение Воскресного Дня”; “How Saint Valentina of Minsk helped during the Great Patriotic War”; the text of episcopal statements, letters and decrees; materials relating to the coronavirus pandemic; and a directory of Diocesan parishes and clergy. Copies are $5.00. During the period in which our church is closed, we will post a copy to any of our parishioners who would like one.