Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church (Brisbane, Australia)
The Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church in Brisbane, Australia is a parish of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. It currently is the only full time English language Orthodox parish in Queensland. The parish was originally founded as a parish of the Orthodox Church of America.
Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church was founded in 1974 by Archpriest Gregory Malisheff and other Russian immigrants to Australia who had been received into the Orthodox Church of America from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia following a dispute between a group of parishioners and the hierarchy of ROCOR. In 1976, Fr. Gregory, a beloved pastor, reposed in the Lord on Great and Holy Friday from cancer, leaving the parish devastated. After Fr. Gregory's death, the parish was serviced temporarily by a number of priests, including Archimandrite Benjamin (Garshin) and Archpriest Theodore Michaluk, before Igumen Dimitri (Obuhoff) was appointed rector of the Holy Annunciation Church. He served the parish from 1976 until his repose in 1982.
In 1984, Fr. John Jillions arrived from North America to serve as rector of Holy Annunciation parish and conducted his first service on the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos in 1984. It was during Fr. John's pastorate that Holy Annunciation became the first Orthodox parish in Australia to serve all services in the English language. Although a significant number of founding Russian parishioners left the parish due to the change in language, other parishioners, particularly young people from Greek ancestry who had been tending to leave the Orthodox Church under the influence of evangelical protestantism came to join the parish. Fr. John served until his return to Canada in 1987.
Fr. John Jillions' successor was Fr. John Bartholomew who serve as rector at Holy Annunciation for one year. During the year, he emphasized the traditional practices of the Russian Orthodox such as frequent Confession as part of the preparation for Communion. During his short tenure at Holy Annunciation, Fr. John Bartholemew is remembered for his emphasis on traditional practices of exerting ascetic effort as a key vehicle for the acquisition of saving grace.
As the OCA hierarchy found supporting Holy Annunciation and two other Australian parishes difficult, efforts were made after Fr. John Bartholemew returned to North America to transfer jurisdiction over the parishes. After approaches to the Ecumenical Patriarchate were unsuccessful, in 1989, Dcn. Ian Bojko was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gibran, of the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese, at the request of Metropolitan Theodosius. Previously, Dcn. Ian had assisted Igumen Dimitri at his parochial assignments in Geelong and Rocklea. Fr. Ian was assigned as rector of Holy Annunciation parish, a position he held while working a secular job as a railway porter. Fr. Ian served until 2005 when ill-health forced his retirement. Up to the time of his retirement, Fr. Ian's tenure was the longest-serving rector of Holy Annunciation parish, having served there for 16 years.
During the search for a new pastor after Fr. Ian's retirement, the parishioners approached Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand to be accepted under his omophorion as a missionary parish serving in English. After receiving a canonical release, granted for the OCA by Metr. Jonah in May 2009, Fr. John Weir, who originally had been ordained as the English language assistant priest at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Woolloongabba, was appointed rector of Holy Annunciation parish by Metr. Hilarion. However, in early 2010, Fr. John requested to be relieved from the rectorate of the parish for personal reasons. As interim rector, Metr. Hilarion appointed the Dean of Queensland, Archpriest Michael Klebansky to supervise the parish until a permanent rector could be found. Thus, under Fr. Michael's direction, services continued to be served on a regular basis at Holy Annunciation parish by Fr. John Weir, Fr. Alexander Borodin, and Hieromonk John (Macpherson). In July 2010, Fr. Alexander Borodin was appointed rector of Holy Annunciation parish.