Canberra Parish Celebrates Patronal Feastday

Sunday 5 July 2009. On a beautiful, crisp, clear Canberra morning, the parishioners of St John the Baptist, led by their rector Archpriest Alexander Morozow, welcomed their beloved hierarch His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand to their Church to celebrate their patronal feastday – the Nativity of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John.

On the preceding evening, His Eminence celebrated the All Night Vigil Service with Litia (Blessing of the Loaves), and earlier that morning according to the traditional practice, a Blessing of the Waters service was conducted by the assistant Priest of the parish Fr Alexander Borodin and Fr Protodeacon Alexander Kotlaroff (from Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral in Strathfield, Sydney), with assistance from Reader Victor Kargin.

A traditional Russian greeting of bread and salt was presented to His Eminence along with a formal greeting from the Church Warden Mr Nicholas Alexandrovich Borodin, after which His Eminence entered the temple to the singing of “It is truly meet” (Достойно Есть), flanked by the concelebrating clergy, Archpriest Alexander Morozow, Priest Alexander Borodin, Priest Seraphim Slade, Protodeacon Alexander Kotlaroff and Deacon Martin Naef, as well as a train of subdeacons and altar servers from Canberra, Sydney, Wollongong and Geelong.

During the reading of the Hours, Christopher Dowling was tonsured reader by Metropolitan Hilarion, to serve in both the Canberra Parish, as well as St Panteleimon’s Parish in Gosford.

At the Small Entrance, Priest Alexander Borodin who was celebrating his anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, gratefully received the award of the Nabedrennik (Shield) from His Eminence.

The Divine Liturgy was celebrated in a tangible spirit of prayerful and peaceful love. It was particularly wonderful to see so many Communicants coming to receive the Holy Gifts.

After the Liturgy, a festal procession (крестный ход) around the Church was performed and the service ended with the traditional singing of Many Years for the Patriarch, Metropolitan and all the clergy and people of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the clergy people of this God-preserved parish.

Immediately after the service, the parishioners and their guests gathered in the parish hall for a sumptuous meal prepared by the Parish Sisterhood, led by the Head Sister Matushka Svetlana Morozow, and ably assisted by many others too numerous to name.

Honoured guest, Alexander Ivanovich Artyukh, Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of the Russian Federation, spoke on behalf of the Russian Ambassador, saying that the Russians in the Diaspora are important to the mission of the Embassy, as they constitute a piece of Russian culture in foreign lands. He warmly congratulated the parish on its Patronal Feastday.

The Rector, Fr Alexander Morozow spoke on the fact that the parish warden, Mr Nicholas Alexandrovich Borodin had been serving the parish for 20 years and that, in recognition of his tireless service, the Parish Sisterhood had donated a carved wooden Cross. Fr Alexander asked His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion to present Mr Borodin with the beautifully carved Cross which he graciously received.

The Parish Council wishes to thank everyone who participated in the day’s events, and especially those who contributed their efforts – the visiting Clergy, Abbess Anna and the nuns from Bungarby and many, many others who came together to make it a very special day for all who attended.