The Parishes of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand Mark the
10th Anniversary of the Death of Archbishop Paul (Pavlov, +1995)
The touching words of the prayer of the holy elder Simeon, "Now
lettest Thou Thy servant departÉ" assumed for Archbishop Paul
of blessed memory a special meaning: he died during the days of
the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple, a day after the death of
his long-time secretary and friend, Protopriest Nicholas Grant,
who died on February 14th, that is, on the eve of the holiday. The
parishes of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand marked these
days with commemorative services for Archbishop Paul and Protopriest
Nicholas. One imagines that the two had a profound spiritual connection,
and that for this reason, the Lord summoned them together.
Archbishop Paul of blessed memory headed the enormous Diocese of
Australia and New Zealand for 10 years. He arrived in Australia
on January 17/30, 1981, and was joyfully greeted at the airport
by the clergy and flock. This was his third trip to Australia.
Vladyka Paul's first visit was in 1976, when he came to Sydney to
replace Archbishop Feodosii (Putilin, +1980), who went to the city
of Perth for rest. His second visit was under sorrowful circumstances;
Vladyka Paul went to the funeral and burial of Archbishop Feodosii.
Paul consecrates the Church of Our Lady's Dormition in Dandenong
along with a Serbian Orthodox bishop and clergy of the Diocese of
Australia and New Zealand of the ROCOR in 1986.
Vladyka Paul was a remarkable person, a man of profound faith, strict,
energetic, intelligent and a wonderful administrator. He was able
to find and attract people, he made the clergy of the diocese younger,
ordaining many young men who graduated Holy Trinity Seminary in
Under Archbishop Paul, the diocese saw an intensive effort in church-building.
The Church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God at the convent,
and the residences for the nuns in Kentlyn, near Sydney, were built.
In order to complete this project, Archbishop Paul created a building
committee which began with very little money, but, thanks to the
efforts of the faithful, the church was built in a very short period
of time and now a small, comfortable church in the Pskov architectural
style stands 65 km from Sydney; this is a part of Holy Russia outside
of Dormition Church in Dandenong, whose rector is Dean of Victoria,
Protopriest Michael Protopopov.
With the blessing of Archbishop Paul, a men's monastery dedicated
to the Transfiguration of the Lord began construction, located in
the Snowy Mountains near Bombala, New South Wales.
Under Archbishop Paul also, the construction of St John the Forerunner
Church in the Australian capital was finished, as were the Church
of Our Lady's Dormition in Dandenong, near Melbourne, and the Church
of SS Peter and Paul in Perth.
view of St John the Forerunner in Canberra, the capital of Australia.
Archbishop Paul devoted a great deal of effort to the work of Russian
parish schools, himself holding the position of Director of the
School of St Alexander Nevsky at the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul
in Sydney, and with his blessing, a new school building was erected
on the church grounds. Archbishop Paul significantly expanded the
special committee formed by his predecessor, aimed at organizing
the Sydney celebrations of the 1000th anniversary of the baptism
of Russia. All the celebrations were accompanied by great spiritual
elevation. The main moment of the celebration of the 1000th anniversary
of the baptism of Russia, in the view of Archbishop Paul, was the
consecration of the Church of St John the Forerunner in Canberra.
John the Forerunner Church in Canberra, whose rector is Protopriest
On June 8, 1991, His Eminence Archbishop Paul fell ill, and his
sickness gradually worsened. The Diocese of Australia and New Zealand
was orphaned. In November 1992, Vladyka left Australia and moved
to Novo Diveevo Convent near New York in order to live out his days
under medical attention at the convent's nursing home.
The funeral and burial of Archbishop Paul was led by Bishop Hilarion
of Manhattan (now Archbishop of Sydney and the Diocese of Australia
and New Zealand), along with Bishop John (Legky, +1995) of Rockland,
and the clergy of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York.
With the death of Archbishop Paul, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
of Russia lost a wonderful archpastor, a man who was always even-keeled,
kind, earnestly devoted to God, the Church and the suffering Russian
Fr Nicholas Grant was born in 1934 in Rabata, Morocco, from the
venerable Somov family. His father, N.N. Somov, traveled the difficult
path of an officer of the White Army: he saw Crimea, Constantinople,
Czechoslovakia, France, Africa, Germany, and finally, Australia,
where he lived with his son for the last 30 years of his life. In
1942, as an 8-year-old, Nicholas went to Paris alone to study at
the Russian Cadet Corps. As many Russian people during the war,
N.N. Somov changed his name to escape persecution by Soviet agents.
Nicholas' mother, I.D. Somova, died on January 6, 1945.
Fr Nicholas served as an acolyte from his childhood days, serving
in 1949 under Metropolitan Seraphim (Liade), and received his blessing
to wear the vestments. In 1974, he was ordained to the deaconate,
and a year later into the priesthood. In 1981, Archbishop Paul invited
Fr Nicholas to become the Secretary of the Diocesan Administration.
Fr Nicholas' devotion to Archbishop Paul, his love for the Church,
his patience and ability to make peace with everyone helped him
carry out his numerous and difficult duties. During Archbishop Paul's
illness, Protopriest Nicholas exhibited a great deal of attention,
sensitivity and care for his archpastor. Fr Nicholas was a trustee
of the Russian Charitable Society in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta,
taught the Law of God at St Alexander Nevsky Russian Parish School,
helped educate children and youth as one of the spiritual fathers
of the Russian Vitiaz scout groups. News of the death of Fr Nicholas
deeply affected everyone. His funeral at the Sydney Cathedral was
solemn and moving. Twelve priests of the diocese participated in
the service, along with two protodeacons and two deacons. In his
eulogy, the Dean of Victoria, Protopriest Michael Protopopov remarked
upon the lofty qualities of the reposed priest, and stressed his
kindness, patience and nobility of spirit.
At the beginning of the month, Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia
and New Zealand, issued an ukase to all the clergymen of the Diocese
to honor the repose of Archbishop Paul and Protopriest Nicholas
by conducting commemorative services and to read sermons in their
May the Lord grant eternal memory and the Kingdom of Heaven to Archbishop
Paul and Protopriest Nicholas.