On Sunday the 10th of June, the Feast of All Saints was celebrated at the old monastery Church of All Saints, Kentlyn, NSW by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion. A part of the original monastery building erected in the 1960’s at Our Lady of Kazan Monastery, All Saints Church is well known to the older generations of Sydney’s Russian community. With the blessing of the late Abbess Evpraxia, and her successor Abbess Maria, this modest church has, since Thomas Sunday 1999, been the home of a small, but dedicated congregation which uses English in their worship, the only ROCOR congregation in Sydney to do so. Around 80 parishioners and visitors, representing many cultural traditions: Russian, Serbian, Greek, Cypriot, Austrian, Palestinian, Irish, Lebanese, Romanian, Syrian, British, Filipino and Australian, were joined by Abbess Maria and the monastery sisterhood at the feast day service.
Serving with His Eminence were Hieromonk Joachim, Protodeacon Christopher Henderson, Protodeacon Constantine Tzortzis, Deacon Stephen McKay and Sub-deacon Nicholas Martinov. The choir, under the direction of Julianne Martinov, had prepared diligently for the day and the quiet beauty of their singing added immeasurably to the morning’s worship. Before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy the Metropolitan ordained Reader Petros Markou and Reader Elias Ghanem as sub-deacons, and tonsured John Tzortzis as a Reader. During the Small Entrance, Protodeacon Christopher was awarded the right to wear a purple kamilavka in recognition of his zealous service to the church. Hieromonk Joachim was raised to the rank of Igumen (Abbot). A molieben and Cross Procession in honour of All the Saints was held at the conclusion of the Liturgy. After the singing of ‘Memory Eternal…’ and ‘Many Years…’ the Metropolitan gave an edifying and encouraging homily on the importance of the Feast and our need to emulate the Saints of God. He then presented Father Joachim with an abbot’s staff.
A festive trapeza, prepared by members of the congregation, was held in the Community Hall in the neighbouring Kentlyn Gardens Retirement Village for the clergy, the monastery sisterhood and visitors. Special thanks are due to Melanie Natrass, manager of Kentlyn Gardens Aged Care, for allowing the use of the hall and assistance with the catering. Likewise Matushka Anna McKay for a great labour of love, who finally completed a hand-embroidered orletz for use by the Metropolitan on the day. The rug features a faithful copy of a stylized eagle from the ancient 8th century Irish illuminated Gospel book, the “Book of Kells” above representations of Australia and New Zealand, with two of Sydney’s world famous landmarks, a visual reminder of the territorial designation of our diocese: Sydney, Australia and New Zealand.