Kentlyn Kazan Convent of the Mother of God

kentlyn1On 4 November 2014 the “New-Shamordino” Kazan Convent of the Mother of God in Kentlyn, NSW, celebrated its patronal feast.  On the evening of Monday 3 November, All-night Vigil with the blessing of wheat, wine, oil and five loaves was served.  To the great joy of the sisters and of the faithful, His Grace Archbishop Gabriel (Chemodakov) of Montreal and Canada, a son of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese, was present, presiding at both the Litia and the Polyeleos.  Also participating were Mitred Archpriest Nikita Chemodakov, Dean of New South Wales and the monastery’s spiritual father (Saint Nicholas Parish, Fairfield), Archpriest George Lapardin (Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral, Strathfield), Archpriest Boris Ignatievsky (Intercession of the Holy Virgin Parish, Cabramatta), Hieromonk Dorofey  (Urusau) (monastery cleric), Priest James Carles (St Panteleimon Parish, Gosford, and St Nicholas Parish, Wallsend), Priest Alexander Korjenevski (St George Parish, Carlton), Priest Dionysios Halim (St John the Baptist Skete, Kentlyn), Priest Seraphim Slade (Australian Orthodox Indigenous Mission) and Protodeacon Ivan Bots (Cabramatta).  The choir sang solemnly and beautifully under the direction of Abbess Maria (Miros), the convent superior.  Joining the choir was Abbess Anna (Karipoff), the superior of the Presentation Convent in Bungarby, NSW, who had travelled with some of her sisters to celebrate the feast.  Of particular note at the evening service was the antiphonal singing of the Polyeleos by the clergy and choir.

On Tuesday morning the day began with the blessing of water in the convent chapel, served by Archpriest Boris Ignatievsky and Protodeacon Ivan Bots. Later, Vladyka Gabriel was met with the ringing of bells.  At Divine Liturgy, joining the clergy who served on the preceding evening were Archpriests Miodrag Peric and Nikola Bilic, clerics of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Priest Alexander Filchakov (MP Holy Protection parish, Blacktown), and Priest Constantine Tzortzis (Diocesan cleric).  In addition to the many clergy, a great multitude of the faithful from Sydney, Wollongong and Gosford were present, all the parishes in the Greater Sydney region having set aside their own services so as to support the convent.

At the end of the service Vladyka Gabriel gave an edifying sermon on the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in which he mentioned both feast-days of the icon – the first on July 8/21 that commemorates the finding of the icon by a little girl in 1579, and the second on October 22/November 4 which commemorates the deliverance of Moscow from the Poles in 1612 after the faithful of that city had fasted and prayed before the icon for three days.  He noted that after the terrible events of the twentieth century Orthodoxy was again being established in Russia, whereas the western world was abandoning Christian faith.  In concluding he encouraged all to look to the marvellous history of the Russian Church and people for inspiration in order that Russia might again one day be “Holy Russia”, renowned for its faith and righteousness.

Following Divine Liturgy there was a moleben to the Mother of God and a Cross procession around the church in the warm sunshine  After the singing of Many Years to the ecclesiastical authorities, Abbess Maria and her sisters, and the monastery clergy, all gathered in the large hall in the convent grounds to enjoy a wonderful festive banquet.  Abbess Maria later remarked that it was one of the most edifying days in the life of the convent over the past 30 years.  Glory be to God for all things!