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. Download an English-language copy of our Autumn (March, April and May) 2019 Schedule of Services in PDF format here. A Russian-language copy of the Summer 2019 Schedule of Services can be downloaded here.
At 7.00pm on Wednesday 29 May we will have a moleben and akathist to Saint Panteleimon, the heavenly patron of our parish and an unmercenary healer. This service will be entirely in Church Slavonic. At akathists in our parish all of our parishioners, benefactors and friends are commemorated by name. Others wishing to be commemorated at this service – or who wish to put forward names for commemoration – are welcome to contact us. Our next moleben and akathist to Saint Panteleimon in English will be on Wednesday 31 July, again in Church Slavonic. There will be no English-language akathist in June as our church will be closed from Monday 17 June until Friday 5 July for painting.
Our next services will be All-night Vigil at 6.00pm on Saturday 1 June and Divine Liturgy at 9.00am on Sunday 2 June, the Sixth Sunday of Pascha and the Sunday of the Blind Man. This Sunday is so named because the reading from the Holy Gospel (John 9:1-38) appointed for Divine Liturgy gives an account of the healing by our Lord Jesus Christ of a man blind from birth.
On Tuesday 14 May 2019 we learned with sorrow of the repose of Olga Ivanovna Itsikson, our choir director from 2000-2015. Olga Ivanovna was born in Mukden, China, in 1935, and undertook secondary and further study in the city of Harbin. After coming to Australia in 1957 she graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1965, working as a music teacher in New South Wales secondary schools for over 20 years. Olga Ivanovna also taught music at the parish Russian schools in Cabramatta and Strathfield for over 35 years. In 1980 she became the conductor of the church choir in the parish of Saint Vladimir, Centennial Park, and in 2000 she became the choir conductor in our parish. Olga Ivanovna was a steadfast servant of the Russian Orthodox Church and the wider Russian community for many years. In 1998 she received the Diocesan Jubilee Medal and in August 2015 she received the prestigious Diocesan Cross. After serving our parish faithfully in its formative years she retired due to illness in 2015. Her funeral was served at the Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral on Thursday 23 May 2019 with our parish clergy, Archpriest James Carles and Protodeacon Martin Naef, serving together with Priest Simon Nekipelov (All Saints of Russia parish, Croydon) and cathedral cleric Protodeacon Alexandar Kotlaroff. She was afterwards laid to rest at Rookwaood Cemetery. May God give her rest with the saints!
Our Winter 2019 Schedule of Services - covering June, July and August - is now available in PDF format. Services of note during this period include those for Ascension on Wednesday-Thursday 5-6 June, for Pentecost on Saturday-Sunday 15-16 June, Bishop George’s visit on Sunday 4 August, the commemoration of Saint Panteleimon on Thursday-Friday 8-9 August, and for the Transfiguration of the Lord on Sunday-Monday 18-19 August. A copy of the English-language Winter 2019 Schedule of Services is available here, and a copy of the Russian-language Winter 2019 Schedule of Services is available here. Printed copies in both languages are now available in church.
On Saturday 18 May and Sunday 19 May we had services for the Fourth Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Paralytic. This Sunday is so named because the appointed reading from the Holy Gospel (John 5:1-15) gives an account of the healing of a paralysed man by our Lord Jesus Christ. Following the dismissal, a litia was served for the repose of the newly-departed Olga (Itsikson), our parish choir director from 2000-2015. After the veneration of the Cross by the faithful, the thirty-year marriage of our parishioners Matthew and Vanessa (Xenia) Todd, adult converts to the Orthodox faith, was blessed according to the rite approved for this purpose by the 1983 Pastoral Conference of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
On Saturday 4 May and Sunday 5 May we had services for the second Sunday of Pascha, Thomas Sunday. Thomas Sunday is so named because the appointed reading from the Gospel (John 20:19-31) gives an account of the initial unbelief and subsequent belief of the Apostle Thomas. Following the Prayer before the Amvon new icons of Saints Kuksha and Jonah of Odessa, given to our parish by a recent visitor to Ukraine, were blessed. The prayer at the breaking of the Artos was then read. In place of a sermon, the parish rector read aloud the Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion. At the dismissal, pieces of the blessed Artos were given to the faithful.
This year our parish was again blessed to have a number of traditional services for Orthodox Holy Week and Pascha. Matins with the singing of "Behold, the Bridegroom comes" ("Се, Жених грядет") and the exapostilarion “Thy Bridal chamber” ("Чертог твой") was served in the evening on Sunday 21 April, Monday 22 April, and Tuesday 23 April. Matins and Divine Liturgy for Great and Holy Thursday were served on the evening of Wednesday 24 April and the morning of Thursday 25 April. As Thursday 25 April was a public holiday in Australia a great many people were present for this Divine Liturgy, almost all of whom received Holy Communion. Vespers with the bringing out of the Shroud of Christ was served at midday on Friday 26 April and Matins with Lamentations before the Tomb of Christ was served that evening. On the morning of Saturday 7 April, Great and Holy Saturday, Vespers with Divine Liturgy was served, with again almost all present receiving Holy Communion. On Saturday evening we had an early Midnight Office and procession followed by Paschal Matins and the blessing of Easter eggs and cakes. The Paschal Hours and Vespers were served on the morning of Sunday 28 April and festive foods were again blessed. Divine Liturgy was served on the morning of Monday 9 April, Bright Monday. After the morning services on Sunday and Monday a small group of the faithful gathered in the church hall for a festive meal.
On Saturday 20 April and Sunday 21 April we had services for the Great Feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, Palm Sunday. All-night vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil, and five loaves was served on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. Pussy willows and palm branches were also blessed on Saturday evening. For both services our small church was beautifully adorned with new green vestments and with palm branches. A great many of the faithful confessed on Saturday evening and Sunday morning so as to receive Holy Communion. Following Divine Liturgy on Sunday a collection was taken up to benefit the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem.
On Wednesday 17 April a smal group of parishioners gathered in church for the final Great Compline of 2019. In the Russian Orthodox tradition this service - composed of various psalms, prayers and hymns - is an important part of the observance of Great Lent.
Our services during the fifth week of Great Lent were Matins with the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete and the reading of the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt on the evening of Wednesday 10 April and the General Service of Anointing on the evening of Sunday 14 April. At Matins on Wednesday 10 April the odes of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete were read alternately in Slavonic and English, and the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt was read in full in English. Known colloquially as “Saint Andrew’s Standing” (“Андреево стояние”), this solemn service commenced at 6.00pm and finished just after 9.30pm. On the evening of Sunday 14 March forty-eight parishioners gathered for the General Service of Anointing. Although this service is ideally served by seven priests together, our distance from other parishes meant that it was served by our rector alone. Both Slavonic and English were used during the service. In addition to these services, on the morning of Saturday 13 April we had a major clean-up of our church and hall in preparation for Holy Week and Pascha.
On Saturday 6 April and Sunday 7 April, the Fourth Sunday in Great Lent, 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 Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy was served on Sunday morning. In his sermon on Sunday morning the parish rector spoke about the willingness of the Mother of God to accept God's will despite her misgivings and her example to all in this regard. Noting that Saint John of the Ladder was customarily commemorated on the Fourth Sunday in Great Lent, he also drew the attention of the faithful to Saint John's advice in The Ladder of Divine Ascent to laymen: "Do all the good you can; do not speak evil of anyone; do not steal from anyone; do not lie to anyone; do not be arrogant towards anyone; do not be absent from divine services; be compassionate to the needy; do not offend anyone; do not wreck another man's domestic happiness, and be content with what your own wives can give you. If you can behave in this way, you will not be far from the Kingdom of Heaven" (Step 1:21).
In addition to All-night Vigil and Divine Liturgy for the Great Feast of the Annunciation on Saturday-Sunday 6-7 April, our services during the fourth week of Great Lent were Great Compline on the evening of Wednesday 3 April and Vespers with the Fourth Passia on the evening of Sunday 7 April. At Vespers with the Fourth Passia on Sunday evening the akathist to the Divine Passion of Christ was read in English and chapters 18 and 19 of Saint John's Gospel were read in Slavonic.
On Saturday 6 April 2019 the parish rector baptised Myron, the infant son of Anton Shcherbakov and Irina Markarova. Myron, who was baptised in honour of Martyr Myron of Cyzicus (+250 AD), had as his godparents Vladimir Prokhorov and Alexandra Shcherbakova. We warmly congratulate Anton, Irina, Vladimir and Alexandra and wish the newly-illumined servant of God Myron many years!
On the morning of Saturday 6 April, the fortieth day of the repose of Reader Paul Douriaguine, family members and a large group of friends gathered at his grave in Point Clare Cemetery. Our parish rector served a pannikhida and kutiya was blessed. May God grant rest to the soul of his departed servant, the Reader Paul!
The April 2019 issue of “Word of the Church” (“Церковное Слово”), the official journal of the Australian-New Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, is now available in our parishes. As usual, it contains a range of interesting articles in both Russian and English. In Russian: Пасхальное Послание Митрополита Илариона; "О призвании общественном служении женщины-христианки"; and more. In English: The Paschal Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia; the Communique of the 2019 Lenten Conference of the Clergy of the Diocese; a brief obituary of Father Seraphim Slade; details of a number of awards given to clergymen of the Diocese; and more. Copies are $5.00.