: Nativity of our Lord – St John the Baptist Skete, Kentlyn

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

The Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ was well attended at Sydney’s only ROCOR congregation that worships in English. Just over 70 adults and children filled the old monastery Church of All Saints at Kentlyn to celebrate the Feast, with some travelling from as far as Bowral, in the Southern Highlands, Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains, Penrith in Sydney’s west, inner city St Peters and the Sutherland Shire to the east.

The Liturgy was celebrated by Hieromonk Joachim, superior of St John the Baptist Skete, Kentlyn, who was joined in the altar by visiting priest from the Indonesian Orthodox Church (GOI), Father Dionysios Surya Halim, Protodeacon Christopher Henderson and Protodeacon Constantine Tzortzis.

Father Dionysios preached the Christmas sermon, whilst his compatriot and fellow priest from the GOI, Father Panteleimon Lake, joined the choir and sang the Nativity Troparion in Indonesian. In honour of the guests from Indonesia, the choir, under the direction of Julianne Martinov, had practiced singing the ‘Lord have mercy’ in Indonesian: ‘Tuhan kasihanila’ which was sung during various litanies with confidence and clarity to the delight of the Indonesian Fathers.

Following the Divine Liturgy, all present received a small gift from under the Christmas tree, courtesy of members of the congregation.

Then, led by Angelina Skinner, a group of the younger children walked next door to the Kentlyn Gardens Aged Care Hostel, operated by the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross, where they sang Christmas carols for the residents and handed out small gifts.

Then for most of the congregation it was off to Casula where the Nativity Fast was broken and the Feast well and truly celebrated at a family barbeque hosted at the home of sub-deacon Nicholas and Anne Martinov, with everyone bringing food and drink to share to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.