AUSTRALIAN DIOCESE: October 21, 2003


The Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Stratfield

The Greeting of the Harbin Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” and the First Hierarch

Early Friday morning, 17 October, the Harbin Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” and the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, came to the Australian Diocese. The First Hierarch was accompanied by Protodeacon Joseph Jaroschuk and Reader Nicholas Olhovsky. The Miracle-working Icon and the First Hierarch were met at Sydney Airport by Archbishop Hilarion of Australia and New Zealand and the clergy of the region.

Service of Thanksgiving in Croydon

The Harbin Icon and the First Hierarch arrived at the stavropighial church in Croydon by 9 am and immediately performed a service of thanksgiving before the Icon of the Mother of God. The moleben was served by Protopriest Nikita Chemodakov along with Protopriest Ilya Dragosavlievich (Serbian Orthodox Church), Protopriest Michael Boikov, Priest Vladimir Tsukanov and Protodeacon Nicholas Triantafillidis. Metropolitan Laurus and Archbishop Hilarion sang on the kliros. At the end of the service, His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion welcomed Vladyka Metropolitan to the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand. Protodeacon Nicholas intoned “Many Years.”

The First Hierarch at the Cathedral

On Saturday morning, Archbishop Hilarion showed His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and his escorts the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Stratfield, and the Diocesan Russian School of St. Alexander Nevsky. The Cathedral was being prepared for that evening’s solemn service. After venerating the icons of the Cathedral, Vladyka Hilarion escorted his guests to the Russian School, where classes were in session. All the children approached Vladyka Metropolitan for his blessing and some even recited poems for him.

The Sydney Parish Welcomes the Harbin Icon and the First Hierarch

On Saturday, 18 October, the Ruling Bishop, Archbishop Hilarion, arrived at the Cathedral. There were already a great many parishioners and worshipers from various nearby parishes of Sydney and other cities of Australia. Vladyka Hilarion was vested in the mantle and omophorion and entered the church with the other clergy. The students of St. Alexander Nevsky School stood on either side of the narthex with baskets of flowers. Despite the threatening rain, the children patiently awaited the arrival of the Icon and Metropolitan Laurus. The car with the Icon drove up, and the Cathedral clergymen Protopriests John Stukach and George Lapardin brought it to Archbishop Hilarion, who carried the Icon into the Cathedral. The Cathedral choir, under the direction of Nikolai Feodorovich Kulikov then commenced singing the troparion to the Icon. Archbishop Hilarion entered the altar with the Icon, then emerged to the ambo and blessed the worshipers with the Icon.

The clergy again came together at the entrance to greet the Metropolitan. The First Hierarch’s car arrived. Subdeacons assisted the Metropolitan out of the car and escorted him to the Cathedral. Children again threw flowers. The Metropolitan entered the Cathedral and Protopriest John Stukach of the Cathedral welcomed him. After Vladyka Metropolitan venerated the Cathedral’s icons, Protodeacon Boris Evstignev intoned “Eis polla eti despota,” and the First Hierarch blessed the flock.

Pannikhida for All Clergymen, Founders and Parishioners of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul

Before all-night vigil, a commemorative service was held for all reposed clergymen, founders and parishioners of the Cathedral. Vladyka Metropolitan performed the service along with Archbishop Hilarion and the Diocesan clergy: Protopriests John Stukach, Michael Protopopov, Nikita Chemodakov, Michael Li, Gabriel Makarov, Michael Boikov, George Lapardin, Priests Nicolai Bilich (Serbian Orthodox Church), Vladimir Dedukhin, Vladimir Tsukanov, Daniel Metlenko and James Carles along with Protodeacons Joseph Jaroschuk, Boris Evstigneev, Basil Yakimov, German Polorotov, Nicholas Triantafillidis and Deacons Alexander Kotliaroff, Alexander Borodin, Vadim Gan, Gabriel Lapardin and Alexander Korzhenevsky. Protodeacon Basily Hadarin and Deacon Bots. The Cathedral choir sang antiphonally with the clergy. At the end of the pannikhida, not everyone was able to emerge to visit the grave of Archbishop Feodor of blessed memory due to the rain. “Eternal Memory” was sung thrice at the end of the service, by the Cathedral choir, the clergy, and the worshipers together.

Immediately after the pannikhida, vigil began. A male choir under the direction of Protopriest Michael Boikov sang as well. Veneration of the Icon continued until the great doxology.
After the service, the clergy and their families were treated to a cup of tea.


Sunday was a brilliant, sunny day. There were significantly more worshipers than on the previous evening. Because of the abundance of clergymen and altar boys, the altar was filled to capacity. Kulikov’s choir sang magnificently. Holy Communion was offered from two chalices. At the end of liturgy, Bishop Chrysostom (Greek Old Calendar Church) arrived. Metropolitan Laurus’ sermon was translated into English by Protopriest Gabriel Makarov.
After liturgy, a procession of the cross with a service of supplication to the Mother of God, Apostles Peter and Paul and St. Seraphim of Sarov was held. After the end of liturgy, Protodeacon Joseph Jaroschuk read the Synodal Decree (gramata) to the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul, and Protodeacon Boris Evstigneev read special anniversary gramatas to several individuals with many years of service to the Cathedral.

The Anniversary Trapeza Feast

The trapeza feast was held not far from the Cathedral, at the Russian Club. Protodeacon Nicholas Triantafillidis welcomed the First Hierarch on behalf of the Anniversary Committee, presenting him with a gift from the Cathedral Parish–a panagia and a cross. The Parish gave their Rector, Archbishop Hilarion, a panagia, to Protopriest George Lapardin a pectoral cross, and to Protodeacon Boris Evstigneev, a green embroidered velvet orarion. Vladyka Hilarion blessed Protodeacon Nicholas Triantafillidis with an icon of the Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon for his labors in organizing the celebration. Protodeacon Nicholas was the editor of the splendid commemorative album published on the anniversary of the Cathedral. This hard-cover book with numerous photoraphs, both in color and black and white, was published in a limited edition and can be ordered from the Australian Diocese website:

Vladyka Metropolitan gave a speech during the feast. Also giving speeches were Leonid Petrovich Moiseev, the Consul of the Russian Federation, and other esteemed guests, including members of the Australian Parliament and representatives of various government institutions.
Eugenia Nikolaevna Shirinskaya gave a brief overview of the history of the Cathedral, following which the Cathedral choir, under N.F. Kulikov, gave a performance. The daughter of the Rector of the Church of SS Peter and Paul in Perth, Maria Sergeevna Okuneva, gave a solo performance.

At the conclusion of the celebration, Archbishop Hilarion thanked everyone for their labors, and everyone prayed.

Vladyka Metropolitan Laurus departed that day for Brisbaine.

A Participant in the Celebrations




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