St. John the Baptist Parish, A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church, Canberra, Australia

Church Life During Coronavirus – 28 March 2020

Dear brothers and sisters,

The pandemic we are currently living through has significantly changed our regular way of live. In what seems to be but a moment, we have gone from a free, prosperous and stable society to enforced isolation, continuous nervousness and daily uncertainty. But in so many ways, what has and is happening parallels our journey through the great and holy Lent and our journey to the cross. These social changes around us dictate that we experience the great and holy Lent in a new way. So let us take the isolation that we are in and use it to focus on our inner spiritual life through prayer, contemplation and silence. While complying fully with all government health directives let us also place our trust in our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Rather than being defeated by uncertainty, let us fix our gaze on the resurrected Lord and ask him to journey with us towards His Kingdom.

Although our churches are no longer open for the services, this time presents a unique chance to enter our own spiritual caves and to meet God and to find true peace, as once did the fathers of the Egyptian desert. Our homes should become small churches in which we offer up prayer and worship each day and in which God dwells. In the Orthodox tradition, this is characterised by an icon corner which becomes the focus in the home for worship. But of course, an icon corner doesn't make a church, it is the practice of prayer and worship!

Please be assured that although the church services have been suspended, we as clergy are here to serve you and are praying for our church and its people. We know that peoples spiritual needs cannot be simply put 'on hold' with the pandemic and we encourage you to speak with us to determine what arrangements can be made. Contact details are as follows:

Fr Alexander
Phone: 0411 165 925

Fr Stephen
Phone: 0415 936 696

There are also a range of online church services, including 'live streamed' liturgies, that you can access from home to help fill the absence of the services.

Below is a list of those services that are currently running online:

We hope to resume services as soon as authorities indicate it is safe to do so. In the meantime, while church services are suspended, it means that our regular sources of income, such as plate collections on Sunday or our Easter Bazaar, which we rely heavily on, has ceased. This is and will continue to put significant financial stress on the church to not only meet our regular expenses but to continue our services such as Faith&Wisdom, Daniel and the Three Youths Ministry and Bible study.

To help us through this period, we ask you to consider a regular monthly financial contribution to our parish. Contributions directly into our parish bank account is the easiest way to make your donation. Our bank account details are as follows:

BSB: 032719
Account: 602930

Setting up a direct debit is a great way to make your financial contribution each month. Just set it up once and your contribution will be automatically made ensuring we can continue our services and to develop more services in the future. Please let us know if you would like assistance to set this up.

We pray that our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ will bless you all during this period, fill your hearts with His peace and strengthen your faith so that we can come to joyously sing with one voice 'Christ is Risen from the dead'.

In Christ.

Fr Stephen
Priest of Cathedral