DIOCESE OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND: August 9, 2013
Bishop Nikolai of Salavat and Kumertau Visits the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand
His Grace Bishop Nikolai of Salavat and Kumertau is visiting the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand of the Russian Church Abroad from July 30 to August 10, 2013 , as part of the twenty-year search for the "Tabyn" Icon of the Mother of God (c. 1597), with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. He was invited by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, and by request of His Eminence Metropolitan Nikon of Ufa and Sterlitamak.
On Saturday, August 3, the eve of the 6th Sunday after Pentecost, Bishop Nikolai performed all-night vigil in the Church of All Russian Saints in Croydon, NSW, along with Protopriest Michael Li, Priest David Lloyd and Deacon Konstantin Moshegov.
Before the service, Vladyka Nikolai visited the local Diocesan headquarters.
On Sunday, August 4, Bishop Nikolai celebrated Divine Liturgy in SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in Strathfield, along with its Senior Priest, Protopriest George Lapardin, and Protodeacon Alexander Kotliaroff.
Afterwards, Bishop Nikolai gave Fr George and the cathedral a gift of a copy of one of the most mysterious and renowned icons in Russia, the Tabyn Icon of the Mother of God. Last year was the 415th anniversary of the discovery of this miracle-working icon. Fr George in return gave Vladyka Nikolai a commemorative album on the cathedral in Sydney, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
After the service, a pannikhida was performed at the grave of Sydney's first ruling bishop, Archbishop Theodore (Rafalsky) of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand, who died in 1955 and was buried on the cathedral grounds.
Vladyka Nikolai is being accompanied on this visit by Abbess Ioanna (Smolina) of the Convent of the Tabyn Icon of the Mother of God in Kurort, in the Gafuria region of Ufa Diocese. Bishop Nikolai's delegation visited Sydney until August 8, after which it departed for Melbourne.