More on the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Episcopacy of Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney and the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand

From the Editors: In connection with the recent birthday of His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion, the Editors offer the readers of the official website of the Synod of Bishops an article with further information on the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the episcopacy of Vladyka, published in the Nativity issue of Tserkovnoye slovo [Church Word], the official monthly publication of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, which one bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia once called the "pearl" of the Russian diaspora. His Eminence marked his birthday with the celebration of divine liturgy on the eve of the Nativity; many of his clergymen and parishioners of his diocese congratulated him on the days of the Nativity. Thus ended the 20th anniversary celebrations of the service as bishop of Archbishop Hilarion. The Editors congratulate His Eminence Vladyka on his recent birthday and wish him good health and God's help in his difficult archpastoral laborsÉOn November 7, 2004, the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand celebrated the 20th anniversary of the episcopal service of Vladyka Hilarion. Divine liturgy was performed with particular solemnity on this day. Vladyka was joined in the service by Protopriest John Stukacz; Dean of Victoria Protopriest Michael Protopopov; Dean of Queensland Protopriest Michael Klebansky; Protopriest Michael Boikov; Protopriest Michael Li and Hieromonk John, along with Protodeacon Boris Evstigneev, Deacon Alexander Kotliaroff, Deacon Vadim Gan, Deacon Ivan Bots and Deacon Alexander Abramoff. The Cathedral Choir, which is growing in its expertise, sang magnificently, heightening the prayerful mood of the worshipers.

At the conclusion of divine liturgy, a festive trapeza was offered at the Russian Club, attended by 250 people. Upon Vladyka Hilarion's arrival, everyone rose to their feet and sang "Eis polla eti despota."

After the trapeza, Protopriest Michael Protopopov gave a small lecture in which he outlined Vladyka's biography. A screen was erected on stage onto which slides from Vladyka's past were projected. Those in attendance were given brochures with explanations of the images, containing also the life's history of our Ruling Bishop, beginning from his early years as a child and ending with the Paschal celebrations of last year. It was so pleasing to see how the future Archbishop's life unfolded! The key moments of his life and of Church history were recorded in these photographs. The slides acquainted us with the life of our Vladyka Hilarion and his family. His Eminence's life progressed before our eyes and everyone was happy at his many achievements, which the humble Vladyka never mentionsÉ

After Fr Michael's presentation, representatives of various social organizations spoke. First to speak was the Russian Consul L.P. Moiseev. Then the Director of the Diocesan School, M.A. Arutyunyan spoke, T.V. Chernyshev of the Russian Club, a congratulatory message was read from the President of Pravoslavnoye delo-Sydney [Orthodox Work—Sydney], I.P. Konstantinova; one from the President of the Russian Sporting Association, K.M. Tonkikh; from K.P. Tatarinov of the Russian Historical Society; from I.S. Migunova of the magazine Avstraliada; from Z.N. Kozhevnikov of the Russian Ethnic Representation, and on behalf of the first Russian Orthodox parish in Sydney, Priest Alexander Korjenewski, who presented Vladyka with a gift of a beautiful staff and a large icon of the Three Holy Hierarch.

All the greetings were filled with earnest good wishes to our dear honoree. We all know that Vladyka Hilarion will always respond to all our pleas, and he is always accessible to all. This helps those of us in society who are often met with difficulties, for we always find moral support and attention from Vladyka Hilarion. Everyone in attendance was happy to be here, and the hall was filled with a special--I would say "grace-filled"--atmosphere, which one often finds in a familial setting. We all felt that we are united by a common love for our Ruling Archpastor, who in 1996 introduced to our orphaned diocese peace, calmness and love. This filled our thoughts and hearts, and it was joyful to celebrate together the remarkable 20th anniversary of the archpastoral service of our Diocesan Bishop. This was a holiday for the entire diocese, which lives its Russian life in peace and amity amid other nationalities and religionsÉ

His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion then gave some words of gratitude. He shared with us his thoughts and explained how God's help is invisibly sensed in the life of an archpastor. Then Vladyka reminded us of the importance of humility and prayerÉ

The festive trapeza and wondrous celebration came to an end, but the program included a concert of church music in honor of Vladyka. The concert consisted of two parts; the first was dedicated to the life of Vladyka Hilarion in Jordanville. A men's choir performed music from the rite of monastic tonsure and various Jordanville chants under the direction of Protopriest Michael Boikov. The second half of the program was devoted to the Synodal period of His Eminence's life, during which he assumed the duties of the Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. The choir was led by Deacon Vadim Gan. Following this was a beautiful moment, when the choir sang "Eternal Memory" to Vladyka's parents—Alexei and Evfrosinia. This was a touching act of acknowledgement of the memory and profound respect for the parents of our archpastor. And so this unforgettable day ended, which will remain in the memories of all the children of this diocese for a long while.

Many years to our dear Vladyka Hilarion!

E. Shirinskaya
Tserkovnoye slovo, January 2005