Orthodoxy in the Land of the Kiwi
NEW ZEALAND OF MY HEART
An interview with the dean of parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in New Zealand, Archpriest Vladimir Boikov
We imagine New Zealand as a distant, fairy tale land at the end of the earth. Its landscapes have become known only recently through their depiction in the movies.
Nevertheless, few know that Orthodox parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad have existed here for a half century now. Other local Orthodox churches also serve the spiritual needs of their flocks in New Zealand. Today we are speaking with Fr. Vladimir Boikov, a recent guest of Sretensky Monastery, about the Orthodox Church today, the Russian diaspora, and the spiritual problems of New Zealand society.
—Fr. Vladimir, what is the Russian Church like in New Zealand; how is it administratively organized in that distant, seemingly exotic land?
—We are part of the diocese of Australia and New Zealand of the Russian Church Abroad. The majority of the Russian flock in our diocese lives in Australia. There are especially many people from Russia and the former USSR in Sydney.
There have always been fewer Russians in New Zealand. The main wave of Russian immigrants came after the Second World War. These were people resettling from Europe and China. Russians came from China in the 1950’s–1960’s, first to Australia, and then some families reached New Zealand. Nevertheless, with time the majority of them returned to Australia, influenced by familial ties and the particularities of life in New Zealand.
—In other words, we can say that the Russian diaspora in New Zealand appeared during the period after the Second World War?
—Yes. Especially many Russians appeared in Australia, and as I said, significantly fewer in New Zealand. The first Russians who came to that country founded three of our parishes. The problem is that there have never been sufficient resources to cover New Zealand in our diocesan center; and, as I think, also because the question of support for parishes and missionary Continue reading