On Tuesday 6 May and Wednesday 7 May the clergy and faithful of the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Strathfield, together with clergy of the Sydney Deanery, celebrated the feasts of Mid-Pentecost and of the Great-Martyr and Trophy-Bearer George. The feast of Saint George was observed with a special joy this year as it was the name-day of our newly-inducted Diocesan Administrator, His Grace Bishop George of Canberra, as well as that of long-serving cathedral cleric Archpriest George Lapardin.
All-night vigil was served on Tuesday evening with Bishop George and Father George being joined by Priest James Carles (rector of the Gosford and Newcastle parishes), cathedral clerics Protodeacons Alexander Kotlaroff and Constantine Moshegov, and Deacon Edward Waters (Archangel Michael parish, Blacktown).
On Wednesday morning Bishop George presided at Divine Liturgy and at the moleben with blessing of water that followed. Concelebrating were Father George, Abbot Joachim (Ross) (Saint John the Baptist Skete, Kentyln), Father James, Protodeacon Alexander and Deacon Edward. At the end of the service Father George warmly congratulated Bishop George on his name-day, wishing him spiritual and physical strength for the undertaking of his archpastoral labours in the Diocese. Bishop George in turn congratulated Father George, presenting him with a framed postcard written by Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco to another Father George on the day of the Great-Martyr’s commemoration in 1954. Many years was then intoned for all those celebrating their name-day.
Afterwards, the clergy and faithful gathered in the church hall for a festive meal. Arriving after services in their own parishes were Mitred Archpriest Nikita Chemodakov, Dean of Sydney and New South Wales; Abbess Maria (Miros), Superior of the Convent of Our Lady of Kazan in Kentlyn, NSW; and Priest Simon Nekipelov, rector of the All Saints of Russia parish in Croydon, NSW.
Over lunch Father Nikita warmly greeted Bishop George, likening him to the Patriarch Abraham, called by God to leave his own country and kindred and go into a distant land. On behalf of the cathedral altar servers, Andrew Wheat presented Vladyka George with a gift, a new suitcase for use in his travels around the Diocese.
The day was one of great joy and cordiality, a testament to the warmth with which our new vicar bishop has been received. Glory be to God for all things!