In commemoration of St Nicholas Parish’s 90th anniversary and through the generous bequest of the late Tatiana Vereschagin (+2 August 2012), the parish was able to embark upon a series of projects to achieve its vision:
Upon entering the Church, the viewer is greeted by a spectacular and intricate array of Icons on the walls and ceilings of the Church. They have been written in the 17th century Russian style by a team of iconographers from St Petersburg. Icons are said to be ‘written’ rather than ‘painted’ because they are akin to the Holy Scripture in the sense that they act as a witness to the Truth and are like scribal copies of the Bible “Scripture in colours” . The iconography was completed in two periods of three months each, by five members of the St Petersburg “Iconography Brotherhood of the Holy Apostle Luke”. The members are as follows:
- Iakov Prokofiev
- Oleg Gorshenkov
- Aleksandr Prokofiev
- Svetlana Kolotova
- Elena Makarevich
The first period was from October to December 2013; and the second was from October to December 2014.
Icons are a vital part of the Orthodox Church, as they depict Christian teachings, saints and events in a way that can be understood by all – even children. In the early days, icons were a means of conveying the Gospel to Christians who were not able to read. They are like windows into Heaven, allowing us to visually comprehend important concepts which enhance our spiritual lives and remind us of things eternal.
The Iconostasis of our Church is quite a prominent feature, replete in splendour and detail. The Icons of the Iconostasis were also ordered from the “Iconography Brotherhood of the Holy Apostle and St. Luke”, and the same iconographers who wrote the iconography, of the walls and ceiling worked on them from February to August of 2014.
The Iconostasis was ordered from Shigrovskoe Bratstvo in the Kursk region, in February 2014 and completed in September 2014. Upon completion, both the Iconostasis and the Icons were transported in a sea container, and arrived at the parish in December 2014. It was then assembled, by a team lead by Fr. Vladimir Bigdan in time for the parish feast day of St. Nicholas on the 19th December 2014.
The Iconostasis is symbolic of the division between Heaven and Earth; the Divine and human. The Holy Icons denote that the Saviour, His Mother and the Saints, whom they represent, abide both in Heaven in among men. In such a way, the Iconostasis does not only divide the Divine world from the human but also unites the two worlds into one whole place.
Just as iconography displayed around the Church helps us to contemplate the significant events depicted within them, so does the Iconostasis act as a visual and spiritual stimulus, aiding us in forsaking earthly things and elevating our prayers to God.
3. BELL TOWER
The beautiful bell tower located in the front courtyard of the Church has been in use since December 2012. The bells were ordered from Pyatkov & Со in August 2012 and then air-freighted to Brisbane in December.
The entire tower was constructed by a team lead by Fr Vladimir Bigdan from November to December, accommodating eight magnificent bells, ranging from 6kg (smallest) to 328 kg.
Vladimir Marianovich Petrovskij, a world-renowned orthodox bell master, came out to Brisbane in December 2012 to install the bells and train the ringers. He was the first Russian Bell Master to give a bell-ringing course in Australia. To the delight of many listeners, a bell ringing concert was then held during the youth Syezd, displaying the spectral unification and harmony of the newly installed bells.
In the Russian Orthodox Church bells symbolise the voice of God and are used in specific moments of the service to announce and celebrate special events.
– Calling the faithful to divine services
The bells are also rung by some of the trained youth in the Church, involving them in the precious experience of bell-ringing – an act of prayer in sound and a sounding icon calling to our souls.
The information is kindly provided by Lyudmila Larkina and taken from her book "The deed of the Russian spirit"