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The History of the Russian Church in Australia: From Siberia to Sydney


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The history of the Russian Orthodox Church in Australia is diligently chronicled within the context of a modern culturally diverse society, drawing on extensive archival sources and the author's own life experience. First published in 2006 this new edition includes a substantive new chapter recounting the ongoing story from 2000 through to the end of 2020.

Format: Paperback

Pages: 536

— About the Book —

In this comprehensive work, the history of the Russian Orthodox Church in Australia is diligently chronicled within the wider context of the place of Russians in the dominantly anglophone society of what was at first a British colony and then an independent state. The study begins with the first contact of Russian naval ships with the Australian continent in the early nineteenth century and progresses through to the establishment of the first parish of Orthodox believers in Melbourne in the 1890s and ultimately the creation of a diocese. The catalyst for this was the arrival of thousands of Russians fleeing their homeland via Siberia after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. For these dispossessed refugees Australia was a haven of safety and the Russian Orthodox Church a symbol of the Motherland they had lost. They were later joined by successive waves of fellow Russians after World War II and the fall of communism. Together they created a unified organism, retaining a sense of heritage and purpose and taking their rightful place in Australia’s multi-cultural society.

In writing this work the author has drawn on extensive archival sources spread over several continents together with his own life experience, having arrived as a small boy in Australia over six decades ago. First published in 2006 this new edition includes an added chapter recounting the ongoing story from the beginning of the twenty-first century through to the end of 2020, covering the effects on the Church in Australia of major world events as diverse as the reunification of the Russian Church Abroad with the Patriarchate of Moscow in 2007 and the global coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

— Author Biography —

Mitred Archpriest Michael Protopopov is chancellor of the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Australian Catholic University. In addition to his pastoral duties, he currently lectures in History and Theology at the Sts Cyril and Methodius Orthodox Theological Institute. He is the author of a number of books, including biographies of past bishops of the Australian Diocese. For his years of service to the Russian community, he was awarded the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1991.

— Contents —


A Russian Presence 

Revolution: Agitators, Imposters, and Refugees 

Settlement Brisbane 

Settlement Sydney 

Settlement Melbourne 

Ecclesiological Perspectives on the Church in the Russian Migrant Experience 

A Diocese is Born: Archbishop Theodore Rafalsky 

A Time of Growth: Archbishop Sava Raevsky Turmoil and Revolt: Archbishop Athanasy Martos 

The Need for Healing: Archbishop Theodosy Putilin

Some Thoughts on the State of Russian Monasticism in Australia

Consolidation and Stability: Archbishop Paul Pavlov

Coarse and Wicked Times: Bishop Daniel Alexandrov

Into the Twenty-First Century: Archbishop Hilarion Kapral 

A Positive Direction: Metropolitan Laurus and Metropolitan Hilarion

Appendix: Explanation of Ecclesiastical Awards Notes 



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