Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Concelebration with Bishop Photios

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On the day of the Three Holy Hierarchs, St Basil the Great, St John Chrysostom and St Gregory the Theologian, Metropolitan Photios of Marathon (Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece) and Bishop John of Melbourne (ROCA) concelebrated at the Greek Orthodox church of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Beaumaris, VIC. The bishops were assisted by Protopriest Stylianos and Deacon Anastasios.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Nativity Epistle of Bishop John of Melbourne


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Nativity Epistle
Bishop John of Melbourne

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

“Today the Virgin giveth birth to him Who is transcendent in essence; and the earth offereth a cave to Him Who is unapproachable. Angels with shepherds give glory; with a star, the Magi do journey; for our sakes a young Child is born, Who is pre-eternal God.” (Kontakion of the Feast of the Nativity)

They, observing the obedience of the star, understood the dignity of the King.
(St John Chrysostom, Homily 2 I:208-209).

The Magi did not see before them either sceptre or throne, only utter poverty. What was it then that moved them to undertake the toil of a journey without reward? ….it was the star and the light that God had placed in their hearts that led them step by step to more perfect knowledge.
(St John Chrysostom, Sermon, The Epiphany and the Flight into Egypt, P.G.57:81)

The star mysteriously calls the Magi from afar. This is an image of our conscience, which mystically calls us to the true Church, where we will find Christ, the Truth, the Saviour of mankind. The Kings followed the star faithfully for more than two years. Leaving their palaces behind, they dedicated themselves to this mysterious call. They took with them the best of their riches as gifts for the newborn King. This is equivalent to us leaving our homes, our jobs and families, sacrificing time and exertion, visiting holy places and monasteries, making donations, and dedicating our life to prayer and the Church. Each one of us has been called by that mysterious light of faith, which at some point in our life has begun to shine in our soul. The kings are an image of us Gentiles, the Church of the nations, the New Testament Church.

Now we must respond, and if not leave our homes, at least offer our gifts – faith, love and good works. “Faith instead of gold, love instead of myrrh, and good works instead of frankincense let us bring to the Creator Who cometh unto His own”. (Aposticha stihera, Matins, 23 December, Forefeast of the Nativity). We offer our faith in abiding by Orthodox doctrine, practicing the commandments, and keeping the Canons of the Church. We offer our love by prayer and diligent attendance at the Church services every Sunday and feast day, participating in the Mysteries. We offer good works when beautifying the temples of God and the services, by our hands, by our voices, and also by our monetary donations. According to the Holy Fathers, alms-giving is the most powerful means for receiving mercy from God and a direct path to God. This is especially true for us people in the West, who live in a material abundance unheard of even by the three ancient Kings. We are called to glorify Him, in obedience, prayer and works of mercy.

Exhausted by years of wandering, the three Kings finally arrived at Jerusalem, guided by the mysterious call. Then the unthinkable happened. For a moment they lost the star - the light of clear faith. This may happen to us also. But let us not be disheartened! At that point, even without seeing the star, the Magi headed towards Bethlehem, now guided by Scripture, the Old Testament prophesies. In the same way, in moments of hesitation, we must refer to Scripture, especially the Revelation of St John concerning the last days of the world. None of the confusion of present modern life should be a surprise to us. Let us hold fast to the teachings of Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers of the Church! The Church always taught that in the end times these two stars would be our only true spiritual guides.

The Church teaches us not to be guided by emotions, feelings and earthly thoughts, which so easily express disillusionment, distortions, and untruth. A gross mistake is to accept these as the voice of our conscience. Our conscience is the voice of God in our heart, and calling human feelings the conscience is in essence a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Our feelings easily deceive us, make us susceptible to the power of evil, and gullible followers of false teachers, based on irrational, emotional trust. We should never forget that the spiritual deception of our modern apocalyptic world is the work of false churches and false pastors, wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Having put their trust in Scripture itself, rather than in the authority of the Jewish priests and scribes who told them what the prophets said, the three Kings made their way to Bethlehem. They never returned to the false teachers. On the way, the star re-appeared, and their faith was re-ignited. They reached their goal of seeing God by trusting the Scriptures and Old Testament prophets. The Lord Himself says: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: (…) And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself”. (Lk 24:25, 27).

We could reasonably expect the rich Kings to be dismayed when they reached their destination – a poor and dirty cave, full of animals, hay, manure, stench, and a few poor shepherds attending to some homeless people. But they were not disheartened! Similarly, let us also not be discouraged by the poverty of Church life in our last times. Indeed, it is difficult, because our feelings cry out for more familiar, physical comforts - rather than the elevated, spiritual gifts of God. Brothers and sisters, let us resist our this-worldly emotional thirst for luxury, comfort, ease, grandiose churches, radiant vestments and magnificent choirs in large cathedrals. Even more important for many are the sumptuous banquets, gorgeous clothes, beautiful houses, and gifts to be given to us rather than from us - all accompanied by fuzzy feelings of ‘love’, directed toward ourselves rather than toward God and our neighbour. Many, even among those who call themselves Orthodox, and especially in the West, have decided that food, gifts, family and fuzzy feelings constitute the very meaning of the feast. Such people have lost the true understanding and significance of Church feasts and church life. In the correct context and proportion, these comforts are not evil in themselves. Nevertheless, as Orthodox Christians, we must know all this is of the fallen world. If we become excessively attached to the world, we will not reach our destination of spiritual salvation.

Anything to which we attach more importance than Christ – be it even our family, children, or career – becomes an idol. In our times, especially among us in the West, families are seldom united in Christ. The Lord sternly warns us: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mt. 10:37). Today, some find it necessary to take their children to heretical and schismatic churches to celebrate the birth of Christ, ostensibly for the sake of their children’s happiness. They do not see that it is not the children who have led the parents out of the True Church, but rather, it is the parents who have led the children astray. But Christ says: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mk. 10:14). We hear continually in the Divine Services: “let us commit ourselves, one another and all our life unto Christ our God.” If we heed this call, “all these things shall be added” to us (small litany; Mt 6:33)!

Everything depends on our discernment – a choice between the physical and the spiritual; between the earthly and the Heavenly. Our reward is not limited to the next life only – for when we set God first in our lives, we receive peace of heart even here and now, during our short sojourn on earth. He will give us true life and happiness, which will most certainly last forever. Let us love Him, our God, rather than ourselves and our fallen world! We are all invited to receive this joy and peace of the true God in His true Church! We will not find this joy and peace anywhere else.

Brothers and sisters, do not hesitate! The doors are open to us all – now, come, and join the spiritual feast!
Christ is born! Glorify Him!

+ Bishop John

Nativity of Christ, 2017/18

Feast of St John of Kronstadt in Sydney

The parish of St John of Kronstadt celebrated its feast day in Sydney in the summer month of January in a mild 35 degrees celcius. The following week it was 45 degrees!

The Divine Liturgy was followed by the rite of the Serbian Slava. Bishop John concelebrated with priest Nebojsa Mirkovic. Everyone present received Holy Communion. After the Liturgy, there was a lunch and parish meeting.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The White Church and the Red Church

Documentary from the Holy Land, 1988, impressions by a Dutch crew just before “perestroika”.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Bishop Ambrose ordains a deacon at Cheltenham

Pictures from the Divine Liturgy on November 13/26 in honour of St John Chrysostom. Bishop Ambrose of Methone visited his parish of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Cheltenham, VIC. A new deacon Anastasios was ordained for the parish. Bishop John of Melbourne (ROCA) attended.

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Pilgrimage to Romania

Please see: Internet Sobor article for full view of photos.

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Bishop John, bishop Glicherie (Abbott of Slatioara monastery), bishop Anfim.

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The bishops travelled to Niamets to venerate the relics of the venerable Paisius Velichkovsky (n.s. church)

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Visit to Varatec monastery (n.s.), where there live 700 sisters:

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In the old calendar monastery Dobru, 100 sisters struggle under the guidance of Abbess Barbara:

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In the Annunciation monastery at Moisa live Abbess Alexandra and 35 sisters:

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Further travel to the skete of the Holy Mhyrrbearing Women, where Abbess Tatiana leads about 30 sisters:

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Thereafter we travelled to bishop Sofronie, to the monastery of St Glicherie the Confessor:

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Bishop Sofronie, bishop John, bishop Anfim, bishop Glicherie

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Further on to bishop Demosfen and the monastery Bratitel Suceava. Here lives Abbess Ierusalima and 300 sisters:

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Source

Monday, October 30, 2017

Appeal to the faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church

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Having gathered in the God-saved city of Odessa, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad appeals to all Orthodox Christians whose conscience does not accept the modern heresies and innovations. These heresies are actively cultivated in our time by apostates and supporters of globalism.
In our sorrowful days, all the signs of the end times are painfully intensifying. They range from massive natural disasters and wars to the spread of apostasy and wickedness. We are experiencing the period of “casting away stones” [Eccl. 3:5. Russian: “Scattering”, transl. note]. Splits and divisions arise without any substantial motives. People who call themselves Christians unite, not around Christ, but around their personal, miniscule interests. Alternatively, people unite over “political super-tasks” which are distant from the Gospel, as is happening in so-called world Orthodoxy. In the Russian Federation, the official church has become an inseparable part of the ruling class and political elite, irrevocably entrenched in heresy, and spiritually fallen lower than in Soviet times. The Ukraine is given the goal to escape as far as possible from the Russian Federation, as well as, unfortunately, from historical Russia. Therefore, here the emphasis is primarily on Uniatism. We see how the heresies of ecumenism, syncretism (primarily in the form of the introduction of Latinism), Sergianism and modernism increasingly capture so-called world orthodoxy. There is no longer any hope for its recovery from this deadly disease. The more this illness grows in official orthodoxy, the greater the gap will be between it and those who seek to live by the Gospel and the teachings of the Holy Fathers. Both in Russia, the Ukraine, and, especially in Belarus, our Church finds itself in a very unfavourable position, if not in direct persecutions, then in mediated ones. In the West the old emigres have all but departed for the other world. People from the post-Soviet republics have come to take the place of the old emigration, radically changing its spirit. The Church Abroad has become completely different in spirit from what She was under Metropolitan Philaret, and even under Metropolitan Vitaly. A part of the ROCA, having joined with the Moscow Patriarchate, has long ago and irretrievably lost its identity with the former, historic Church Abroad. It has instead become infected with the ecumenical, Sergianist, and latin spirit introduced into the MP.

Thus, today we find ourselves in a new situation. It is the result of changes in the position of the Church that took place in the 20th century and the beginning of the current century. The true Church, which seeks to preserve the patristic traditions, has been significantly reduced in numbers. She has been completely isolated from any influence over political and social processes. In part, this frees the Church of direct responsibility for the massive, global apostasy of modern society. Indeed, we cannot fight mass apostasy, except by prayers and by protecting ourselves and our flock from this apostasy.

However, at the same time there is wavering and lack of unity within the Church itself, as well as in many groups close to it, which generally adhere to identical ecclesiological views. If we leave off consideration of personal factors such as pride and lust for power, this is largely explained by a recently-emerging variant of the destructive ecumenical heresy. It claims that in the last times the Church will lose its unity and will consist of separate groups that do not have prayerful and eucharistic communion with each other. This heresy enables the active fragmentation of the Church and the rapid extinction of individual microscopic “churches,” dioceses and communities resulting from such fragmentation (as a consequence of these divisions, today we see individual communities independent of everyone, which consist of only a few people). These groups do not possess the capability to maintain their own activities, not to mention transmitting their faith to the next generation. Such an ecclesiological position, dictated by this new heresy, is more akin to the sin of suicide than to a confession of faith. Today, madmen and apostates, instead of gathering together the flock of Christ, deliberately destroy the Church, organizing strife and division in Her. They even consider this their own special “podvig”. May Christ, who appeared to St. Peter of Alexandria in a torn robe, edify them. He answered St Peter’s question: “Who, o Creator, tore Thy tunic?” with the words: “Arius the madman tore Me apart, for he separated from Me the people whom I acquired by My blood.” The same is now being perpetrated by all sorts of insane schismatics who do not think about the Church, but only see themselves and their own interests.

One should never forget that the Orthodox Church is a Catholic Church. According to the definition of Alexei Khomiakov: “The church is called one, holy, catholic [catholic and universal] and apostolic, because she is one, and holy; because she belongs to the whole world, and not to any particular locality; because by her all mankind and all the earth, and not any particular nation or country, are sanctified; because her very essence consists in the agreement and unity of the spirit and life of all the members who acknowledge her, throughout the world; lastly, because in the writings and doctrines of the Apostles is contained all the fulness of her faith, her hope, and her love.” Of course, because of our small number, we cannot completely realize this in life, but according to Her spirit, the Church should be exactly like this. The opposite of catholicity is individualism, isolation and self-isolation on the one hand, and on the other – self-will and dictatorship. We must distance ourselves both from dictatorship, which is usually manifested in the form of “guruism” - an authoritarian pseudo-spiritual leadership and pseudo-eldership of the leaders of such groups – as well as from the self-isolation and false self-sufficiency which is peculiar to small sects.

Many continue to justify their divisions today with Decree No. 362. But its action, as well as the fact of its ever having been written, are conditioned solely by external circumstances that occurred during a certain historical period when there was a break in communication between the parts of the Church, both within and outside of the Soviet Union. However, today we see the exact opposite situation. Instead of the isolation found in the USSR, technical development makes it possible to communicate with people from all corners of the earth without interference, even without knowing each other’s language. Therefore, this Decree no longer applies to parts of the Russian Church isolated from communication, parts which no longer exist. Instead, this Decree extends to the entire Church, and is mandatory for all without exception.
Today, the following paragraphs of this Decree remain relevant:

2) (…) the diocesan bishop immediately enters into relations with the bishops of neighbouring dioceses for the purpose of organizing a higher instance of ecclesiastical authority for several dioceses in similar conditions (in the form either of a temporary Supreme Church government or a Metropolitan district, or anything else) [i.e. all bishops who have the same confession of faith must unite and organize for themselves the highest organ of ecclesiastical authority].

3) Care for the organization of a Supreme Church Authority is the objective of the entire group of dioceses which find themselves in the position indicated in paragraph 2, is the indispensable obligation of the senior bishop of such a group.

9) In case of the extreme disorganization of ecclesiastical life, when certain persons and parishes cease to recognize the authority of the diocesan bishop, the latter, finding himself in the position indicated in paragraphs 2 and 6, does not relinquish his episcopal powers, but forms deaneries and a diocese; he permits, where necessary, that the divine services be celebrated even in private homes and other places suited therefore, and severs ecclesiastical communion with the disobedient.
[i.e. those unwilling to fulfill paragraph 2 are disobedient to the Church and are the dissenters].

10) All measures taken in places in accordance with the present instruction, afterwards, in the event of the restoration of the central ecclesiastical authority, must be subject to the confirmation of the latter.

These are paragraphs of Decree No. 362 that we must fulfill if we consider ourselves Orthodox Christians.

Guided by this Decree, our Council of Bishops once again appeals to all scattered and fragmented Orthodox Christians with the plea to stop mutual hostility and, in accordance with paragraph 2 of Decree No. 362 (“the diocesan bishop immediately enters into relations with the bishops of neighbouring dioceses for the purpose of organizing a higher instance of ecclesiastical authority”), start discussions with one another. We must pray and make efforts that the present time of “scattering” is changed to a time of formation and gathering.

Now we are living through a period on which the continued existence of the Orthodox Russian Church depends. On the one hand, She is faced with the very imminent threat of union with the Latins, and a complete and final falling away from Holy Orthodoxy, similar to what happened in the 11th century with the Orthodox Roman Church. On the other hand, She is in danger of fragmentation and transformation into small sects that are at war with each other, all of which being threatened with imminent extinction in the near future. It is within our power to stop opposing God, Who acquired the Church through His own sufferings.

“That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me” (John 17:21). Let us not forget that these are not mere words. They are the prayer of the God-man.

Odessa, 13/26 October, 2017
Iveron Icon of the Mother of God


The President of the Council

Metropolitan Agafangel

Members of the Council

Archbishop George, Bishop Athanasius, Bishop Gregory, Bishop Roman, Bishop Kirill, Bishop Nikon, Bishop Nicholas, Bishop Anastassy, Bishop Anfim, Bishop John

Bishop Athanasius signed in proxy of Archbishop John

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Orthodox Christians should be ready for self-sacrifice and even martyrdom

…In order to pray one had to be ready at any minute for a martyr’s death. And we were ready for it…

…everyone who entered [the one remaining church that did not accept the Declaration of 1927 by Metropolitan Sergius] was registered and later arrested. This was the time when the atheist Soviet power demanded of believers that they go to the Churches of the official Church.

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I, too, was arrested and banished for five years. At Solovki I encountered many hierarchs of the true Church. And there we already had our Catacomb church.

In the concentration camps the persecution against faith was completely open: priests were shorn and shaved, forbidden to wear cassocks and crosses. For making the sign of the Cross a new term of imprisonment was given. Of course there was no question of any open services. (…) In order to pray one had to be ready at any minute for a martyr’s death. And we were ready for it, always carrying with us, like the first Christians, a Particle of the Holy Gifts. I brought such a Particle abroad and gave it to Metropolitan Anastassy.

what terror overwhelmed me when, fairly recently, I managed to come abroad and found that some people here ’spiritually’ recognize the Soviet Church. Spiritually!

And not only were we ready to die, but many did die, confident that somewhere there, outside the reach of the Soviet authorities, where there is freedom - there the Truth was shining in all its purity. There people were living by it and submitting to it. There people did not bow down to Antichrist. And what terror overwhelmed me when, fairly recently, I managed to come abroad and found that some people here ’spiritually’ recognize the Soviet Church. Spiritually! Many of us there fell, ‘for fear of the Jews’, or giving in to the temptation of outward cooperation with the authorities. I knew priests of the official Church who, at home, tore their hair out, who smashed their heads making prostrations, begging forgiveness for their apostasy, calling themselves Cain - but nonetheless they did not have the strength to decide upon martyrdom. But even they spiritually did not recognize the Red Church. But these others abroad - it is precisely spiritually that they submit to it. What good fortune that our priest-martyrs, in dying, did not find out about this betrayal!

…even they spiritually did not recognize the Red Church. But these others abroad - it is precisely spiritually that they submit to it. What good fortune that our priest-martyrs, in dying, did not find out about this betrayal!

I. M. Andreyev: Russia’s Catacomb Saints

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The old Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Melbourne

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The old Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Melbourne is for sale again. First it was lent by ROCOR(MP) to the use of the New Calendar parish of the MP. It was later sold, the buyers remodelled, and now it is advertised as a ‘great party house’.


Source

The cathedral that was:

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Being listed as a heritage building, the architects are not allowed to change the basic structure of the building. The old Altar area appears to have been removed.

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The ROCOR(MP) parish has moved to their new Pokrov cathedral:

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Metropolitan Agafangel
First Hierarch of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad

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Bishop John of Melbourne
Vicar bishop of Australia

Church calendar for today

Divine Services - Archangel Michael Sobor in Odessa

Divine services channel is updated every Church feast day

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Parishes

Melbourne, VIC
Contact: Bishop John
Telephone: 0422556968

Sydney, NSW
Parish of St John of Kronstadt.

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  • Serving priest: Father Nebojsa Mirkovic
  • Address:
  • Service times:
    Sundays and feast days: Matins 730 am
    Divine Liturgy: 9 am.
    Please contact us to confirm what time Liturgy is served.
  • Saturdays and eves of feasts: Vespers 530 pm
    or All-night Vigil 6 pm

Dandenong, VIC
Community of the Tabinsk Mother of God Icon

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  • Services once a month
  • Visits by Bishop John

Western Victoria
Annunciation of the Mother of God Women’s Monastic Community

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  • Spiritual Father: Bishop John.
  • Address: 266 Nowhere Creek Rd, Nowhere Creek, 3469
  • Service times:
  • Sundays and feast days: Divine Liturgy: 9 am
  • All-night Vigils (including Divine Liturgy) on select occasions.
    Please contact us to confirm what time Liturgy is served.

[b]Brisbane, QLD

Canberra, ACT

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