Bishop Irinej presides at Paschal Vespers at the Russian Orthodox Church in Dandenong

His Grace Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand, accompanied by Archimandrite Lazar (Caran) of the St. Sava Monastery in Elaine, participated in the celebration of Paschal Vespers on the Great Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord at the Russian Orthodox Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos in Dandenong, Victoria The services were led by the Very Rev. Mitred Archpriest Dr. Michael Protapopov, Dean of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, joined by other local hieromonks and deacons.

Responses to the magnificent festal celebration were sung by the outstanding parish choir. Also attending that afternoon were the many Russian and Serbian senior citizens from the local St. John of Kronstadt Russian Orthodox Aged Care Facility. The bishop addressed those assembled in Russian, Serbian and English prayerfully wishing everyone a blessed Pascha and many years of health and happiness. The Bishop highlighted the fact the his own father confessor and professor, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, had imbued his soul with the beauty of Russian Paschal worship as a student of Theology at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, from which he earned his Master of Divinity degree.

He also touched upon the traditional friendship of the Russian and Serbian communities here and abroad, while thanking His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and Fr. Michael, who as a Russian émigré child lived in Belgrade, for their kind invitation and liturgical hospitality. CHRIST IS RISEN!