In 2013, we farewelled our longest-serving past rector, hosted priests from Brisbane and Jakarta, participated in parish feastdays and held a Bible survey course; the biggest events of the year had to do with the renovation and expansion of our building.
4-7 January 2013: As it is each year, celebrating the Birth of Christ – i.e. Christmas – is a greatly celebrated feastday at Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church, with a full church and festive spirit dominated the day’s proceedings.
As part of the Russian Orthodox Church, and along with many Orthodox Christians around the world, we celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January each year (though, on the calendar we use, it’s still the 25th of December).
To prepare for this, we had a parish clean-up on Friday 4/Jan – vacuuming and polishing floors, cleaning the candlestands, preparing vestments (for servers and for tables), rearranging items – just to name a few!
This year, as Nativity was on a Monday, we had a continuous stream of services from Saturday 5 January, celebrating the Vigil on the eve of the Sunday before Christmas, and then the Divine Liturgy on the 6th; followed that evening by the Great Vigil for the Nativity itself, and then the Divine Liturgy on 7/Jan.
You can see our photo album here.
A Joyous Feast to all!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
25-27 January 2013: Repose of Fr Ian Bojko, Moleben for Australia Day & Students
The final weekend of January brought two events.
The first was the repose of Fr Ian Bojko (‘Priest Ioann’) on the evening of 25 January. Fr Ian was the longest-serving rector of our parish, and served our parish from his ordination in 1989 to his retirement in 2005. Eternal be his Memory.
Three priests carried the task of dressing Fr Ian for the funeral in his vestments: the Dean of Queensland, Archpriest Michael Klebansky; the Dean of St Nicholas Cathedral, Archpriest Gabriel Makarov; and the current rector of Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church, Priest Alexander Borodin. Later that day, the First Memorial (pannyhida) for Fr Ian was served at 4pm at our parish on 26 January, in the presence of a number of Fr Ian’s parishioners over the years (at very short notice), as well as Fr Gabriel Makarov, and Fr John Weir, previous rector of our parish.
Fr Ian’s funeral was served on Wednesday 30 January at 11am at Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church by Fr Michael Klebansky, Fr Gabriel Makarov, Fr Alexander Borodin, assisted by Rev. Dcn Vasily Konstantinidis (deacon at the Vladimir Icon parish) and Rev. Dcn Andrew Smith (deacon at Holy Annunciation). People from all Brisbane parishes were present, as well as many parishioners, family and friends of Fr Ian. He was then buried in Mt Gravatt Cemetery. A memorial wake was served afterwards at the Little Russian Club, Woolloongabba. Multiple people spoke in his honour, testifying to the love that Fr Ian had for his parishioners, his gentleness, and his eagerness to pray for all.
The second event was on Sunday 27 January. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Fr Alexander served a Moleben with two purposes: the first for Australia Day, praying for our land, its authorities and those who dwell there; and the second for the beginning of the school year, praying for the enlightenment of those who are studying. While the scheduled BBQ had to be postponed to the following weekend (due to inclement weather and Fr Ian’s funeral arrangements), it was nonetheless a prayerful time for our nation and our students.
February 2013, at our parish, was bookended by priests visiting our parish.
Our parish was pleased to welcome Fr John Weir, assistant priest at the Vladimir Icon church in Rocklea, who celebrated the Divine Liturgy with a Moleben for the Sick at our parish on February 3. Many thanks to Fr John, who was willing and able to serve at short notice due to an emergency. After the Divine Liturgy, we held a BBQ (which was postponed from the previous week), with many people staying and enjoying themselves with our community. Special thanks to the visitors who came for Liturgy and for the BBQ. You can see photos of the BBQ by following this link.
Then, in the final weekend of February, we were honoured to welcome Fr Boris, parish priest at St Thomas Orthodox Church in Jakarta, Indonesia – this is a parish in the ‘Gereja Orthodox Indonesia’ (Indonesian Orthodox Church), a Deanery of our Diocese. Fr Boris has been in Australia for the summer, coming to Brisbane for the Diocesan Youth Conference (‘Syezd’), and returning in late February. On 23 & 24 February, he concelebrated Vigil and the Divine Liturgy with Fr Alexander Borodin, our parish priest, and our deacon Fr Andrew Smith. After the Divine Liturgy, he gave a talk on the Indonesian Orthodox Church, including its parishes, its successes and its challenges. We thank Fr Boris for celebrating the Liturgy at our parish, and wish him well in his travels and his return to Jakarta. You can see photos by following this link.
March 2013: True Cross Relics, Start of Lent
On the 10th of March, another Memorial service was served for Fr Ian – after the Divine Liturgy on the Sunday following the Fortieth Day. This was served by parish clergy, along with the parishioners of Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church.
In mid-March this year, we began Great Lent, which in the Orthodox Church is the time that prepares us for Holy Week.
On 17/Mar, we began Great Lent proper this year as we traditionally do – by asking the forgiveness of our fellow parishioners before beginning the time of fasting. We were especially blessed on this day, thanks to a friend of the parish, by having a small relic of the True Cross with us – reminding us that before the Resurrection was the Crucifixion. See some photos here.
In the week following, from 18-21 Mar, we held the Great Compline service including the Canon of St Andrew of Crete. These services are particularly special, both to start Lent off in the right way, and also because at the end forgiveness is asked of each person who is there.
Though we’re in the midst of Great Lent, we have seen some great things happen at our parish!
On 7/April, we celebrated our patronal feastday – the Annunciation – with many parishioners and friends of the parish, including some that travelled from great distances in Queensland to be with us. Celebrating the Divine Liturgy was Fr Alexander, Fr John Weir (assistant priest at the Vladimir Icon Parish, Rocklea) and Fr Andrew Smith. Immediately after the Liturgy was a Moleben and a Procession around the church, where we were joined by Fr Bill Konstantinidis (deacon at the Vladimir Icon Parish) and many people from other parishes in Brisbane. Fr Alexander delivered a sermon on the Annunciation, noting that this year this great feastday fell on the same day as the Sunday of the Holy Cross and drawing links between these events. After the Moleben, we settled under the marquee in the backyard and shared a bring-a-plate luncheon and each other’s company.
Thanks to all those who came and made our feastday such a special occasion! You can see the photo album here.
After the feastday, work began on expanding and developing the southern side of our church. This work, necessary because of the increased number of people who are worshipping with us, started off as a small alteration, but became a much bigger task than anticipated. Through God’s grace and the generosity of our parishioners and friends, we have been able to rise to this challenge. We anticipate that some of this work will be finished before Holy Week, and some will be completed afterwards. (N.b. our church services are unaffected by this).
We welcome you to come to our parish and see for yourself!
April-May 2013: Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
In 2013, the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ was on the 5th of May; but for Orthodox Christians, we commemorate and celebrate a number of events surrounding this. With Great Lent being, for Orthodox Christians, a preparation for Holy Week, we began our journey to the Resurrection on Lazarus Saturday, when we celebrate when Christ raised St Lazarus after having been dead for four days. On this same day, as has been customary, Fr Alexander baptised a young woman who has converted to Orthodox Christianity. God grant Ksenia, and her sponsor Margarita, many years!
On the next day we celebrated Palm Sunday, commemorating when Jesus entered Jerusalem. We were reminded that while the crowd greeted Jesus as a king, it was only a few days before the crowd would shout for Him to be crucified.
On Holy Tuesday, some members of our parish were to be found at church, securing the new extension to our church. A roof was put up, and temporary walling was also put in place to protect from the elements until work could be restarted in Bright Week (i.e. the week after Easter).
At our parish, our services for the rest of Holy Week began in earnest on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, commemorating the Mystical Supper, when Jesus had the first Eucharist with His disciples. Thankfully, we also received the Mystical Supper icon in time for this Feast; after the Liturgy, we were able to install it above the Royal Doors.
On Thursday night, we served the Matins of the Crucifixion, with the 12 readings about the Passion of Christ. On Friday afternoon, we served the Vespers of the Shroud, remembering when Jesus was buried in a tomb; then on Friday night, we served the Matins of the Lamentations, akin to the funeral service of Christ.
On Saturday morning, we celebrated the Vesperal Liturgy, commemorating Christ destroying the bonds of hell, and changing the vestments from the black of mourning and Holy Week to the white of the Resurrection. Afterwards, Fr Alexander blessed bread and wine for us to share together. At 10pm that night, we began reading the Acts of the Apostles, followed at 11:30 by the midnight office (taking the shroud into the altar) and, at midnight, the joyful proclamation of the Resurrection with a procession around the church. This was followed by a joyous Matins service and the Divine Liturgy, completing at 3am on Sunday morning.
On Sunday evening, we shared our joy, serving a Paschal Vespers service at the Vladimir Icon parish, Rocklea, with all clergy of the Deanery of Queensland.
On Monday morning, we were invited to the Greek Orthodox Church of St George, South Brisbane, for their patronal feastday, where we were again able to sharing the joy of Pascha with our fellow Orthodox brethren – including clergy from most of the jurisdictions present in Brisbane.
You can see photo galleries for these events by following the respective links:
- Mystical Supper icon (installed Thursday morning)
- Matins of the Crucifixion (Thursday evening)
- Matins of the Lamentations (Friday evening)
- Holy Saturday Vesperal Liturgy
- Pascha 2013
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
June 2016: On the first Sunday of June, we reinvigorated our parish’s tradition of having a Morning Tea after the first Divine Liturgy of the month. It was a great opportunity for fellowship, and enjoyed by all.
Special thanks to Matushka Sarah for organising the morning tea, to Jacob and Ksenia for setting up the bookstore there, and to all who brought refreshments to share!
On 14 September, we held our Annual General Meeting. A number of weighty topics were discussed, including the election of the 2013-14 Parish Council and the making of new rules (under secular law). We also decided to name the new office the Fr Ian Bojko Room in honour of our longest-serving rector. Congratulations to Jenny, who was awarded the annual Rector’s Award in thanks to her great contribution to our parish over the decades; thank you to the parish council of 2012-13, particularly those who have chosen not to return to this service; and congratulations to the new parish council of 2013-14!
Soon after, Fr Alexander, with his Matushka, left Brisbane to join the Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On 28-29 September, Fr Kyril of Holy Ascension Orthodox Mission (Melbourne) visited Brisbane and celebrated Vigil and Divine Liturgy with us. Many thanks to Fr Kyril for making the time to serve with us! Immediately after the Divine Liturgy was a Morning Tea; and then after this, parishioners moved items from the main body of the church into our new office space, in preparation for the new floors being installed in the church. You can see the photo album here.
Our parish’s Bible Overview series, ‘Dusting Off the Good Book’ was held during July and August 2013, led by Fr Andrew. A group of people came together to learn about our Holy Scriptures – its context, its levels of meaning, the books of the Old and New Testaments, and where this fits into our lives today. Thanks to all who attended!
Our new floor has taken some time to lay, sand and finalise, along with returning our church to its rightful appearance as a house of God.
During this time, we were able to enjoy the hospitality of other local parishes. We were welcomed at St Seraphim’s Russian Orthodox Church for three of these weeks, and at St George’s Greek Orthodox Church for the fourth of these. Many thanks to Fr Gabriel Lapardin and Fr Dimitri Tsakas, and the parishioners of St Seraphim’s and St George’s, for welcoming us during this time!
We expect services to recommence at Holy Annunciation in late-November 2013.
We also began an electronic newsletter at this time for parishioners and friends of our parish to be kept up to date. Please subscribe by clicking on this link.
The ROCOR Diocese of Australia and New Zealand held its 17th triennial Diocesan Assembly (on 12-14 Dec) to hear reports on the Diocese, to discuss important matters relating to the Diocese (and its parishes) and to elect a new Diocesan Council to advise Metropolitan Hilarion. Thank you to the delegates who represented our parish at this event.
On 18-19 December, Metropolitan Hilarion visited Brisbane for the Patronal Feastday of St Nicholas Cathedral. Later that day, he visited our parish and saw the vast improvements that had been completed since he last visited. We’re grateful to His Eminence that he was able to visit us in the midst of his busy schedule.
This year, both diocesan youth events – the Diocesan Teen Retreat (in Sydney), and the Russian Orthodox Youth Syezd (in Melbourne) – were held on 19-24 December. A delegate from our parish was at the Teen Retreat.