Thanksgiving Moleben to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

At 5.30pm on Thursday evening the 7th of June, a public Thanksgiving Moleben to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was celebrated at the Archbishop’s Chapel, dedicated to All Saints of Russia, Croydon.  In the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the Moleben was served by Mitred Archpriest the Very Revd. Dr Michael Protopopov, Archpriest George Lapardin, Priest Peter Hill and Protodeacon Alexander Kotlaroff.  Singing was provided by clergy from around the diocese.  The Moleben was attended by clergy, monastics and parish representatives from Sydney and interstate who gave thanks to God for the past 60 years of dedication and dutiful witness of our nation’s monarch.

The Australian and New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad covers two of Her Majesty’s realms – the Commonwealth of Australia and the Dominion of New Zealand.  In addition, our ruling Archbishop, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, was born in another of Her Majesty’s realms, the Dominion of Canada.  We can be thankful that the system of constitutional monarchy that has underpinned the stability and prosperity of our nations is above politics, and is a unifying focus for the diversity of peoples who make up these realms.

Earlier this year in February on the occasion of the anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the thrones of the of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other realms, the Vicar General of the Diocese, Archpriest Michael Protopopov, sent the following congratulatory message to Buckingham Palace:

             Today upon Your Majesty’s Jubilee, as always, the Russian Orthodox Church raises up its prayers to Almighty God for Your health and wellbeing; that Your reign may be long and to the glory of God. That “…in the peace and tranquillity of Your reign, the Holy Church may grow and prosper for the salvation of its people.” (Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.)

              Many are quick to comment on, and through ignorance, even criticise the Monarchy, I don’t know whether many are quick to give thanks for the enormously beneficial work which Your Majesty and the Royal Family does. 

             Please accept the sincere gratitude of the Russian Orthodox Church and community in Australia for whom You are the embodiment of a truly Christian monarch.”

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has always taken seriously its responsibility to pray for the civil authorities in whatever country their people reside.  In 1954, the then ruling bishop of the diocese, His Grace, Archbishop Sava, issued an ukase, never rescinded, directing that the Sovereign’s name be mentioned at the Great Entrance in the Divine Liturgy.  This petition, or similar wording, is still used by parishes throughout the realms covered by the diocese:

“Our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth II of Australia/New Zealand and all Her Royal Household, Her Parliament(s) and all those in civil authority under Her, and the armed forces, may the Lord God remember in His Kingdom, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.”

This was reaffirmed in 1977 by His Grace, Archbishop Theodosy on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee.

Approval has also recently been given by His Eminence the Metropolitan for Her Majesty to be commemorated at the appropriate places of the Divine Services when the civil authorities are prayed for.

The clergy and people of our diocese, with our Metropolitan, join the millions of peoples of our two nations, the other realms, the Commonwealth of Nations, and indeed throughout the world, in celebrating the remarkable achievement of the Queen. 

The recent series of events in London celebrating the Diamond Jubilee, and which included participation by our Governors-General, political leaders and community representatives from both sides of the Tasman, and members of the Australian and New Zealand armed forces, showed the affection in which the Queen is held.  Of particular importance, and indeed central to the celebrations, was the public confirmation, in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, of the Christian faith which has strengthened and guided Her Majesty’s entire life of selfless dedication to her people.

May God grant many years to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories.

 A Prayer for Her Majesty

 “O God of time and eternity, Whose Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, has been pleased to reign as servant, and not master; We give thanks and praise that You have blessed this Nation, the Realms and Territories with Our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth, our beloved and glorious Queen.

In this year of Jubilee, grant Her Majesty Your gifts of love and joy and peace as she continues in faithful obedience to You, her Lord and God and in devoted service to her lands and peoples, and those of the Commonwealth of Australia, now and all the days of her life; through Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord. Amen.”