On the Great Feast of Theophany, 19 January 2016, His Grace Bishop Irinej celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Anglophonic parish of the Holy Archangel Michael in Homebush, New South Wales. Concelebrating with him was the Reverend Veselin Svorcan, Parish Priest, assisted by Deacons Aleksandar Ivanovic and Miladin Tripic.

Presently, a parish of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church, this unique parish initially consisted of faithful from the Russian tradition who desired liturgical services in the English language for the sake of their future generations. Today, its parishioners herald from a wide array of Orthodox backgrounds, as well as those from non-Orthodox backgrounds, who have embraced Holy Orthodoxy.

As such many diverse Orthodox customs are incorporated into the worship services of this growing parish. One, in addition to the traditional blessing of water on Theophany, is the blessing of an ice cross in accordance to a Russian custom. This decorated ice cross, originally used to bless large bodies of living waters, in the hot summer sun of Australia melts into the Holy Water and serves to sanctify the grounds of the church.

At the conclusion of the Divine Services, joy exchanges of festal greetings could be heard not only in the English language, but also in the Serbian, Russian and Greek languages amongst others! Truly, Christ is manifest!

Photos: Alexandra Tripic

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