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Our Lady Of Vladimir rocklea

Our Lady of Vladimir church building and gardens in Rocklea

In the first half of the 20th century a smattering of Russian orthodox churches sprung up around the Brisbane region to cater for immigrants who settled here after fleeing the USSR’s Communist regime. One of these was the parish created here in the unlikely outer reaches of Rocklea by Russian refugee Evphimiy Shishkoff.

Evphimiy was a double escapee (first from Russia to Persia and then after the Iranian revolution to Australia) who had an epiphany when praying to an old Orthodox icon known as Vladimir for help to escape the extremist regime. As a thank you to the Mother of God icon for assisting his safe arrival in Australia he and his son hand built in 1956 the original little church that stands on the parish grounds.

The parish grew incrementally in the 1960’s as more Russians fled persecution and by the 1980’s it was too large for the existing church. Funds were raised for a new one, and in the 1990’s the church whose gold onion domes peak incongruously from above the factories and workers cottages was built.

On Sunday mornings the scene at the church is a little piece of old Russia, with scarf-headed women and bearded men communing outside and in the nearby church offices for a traditional morning tea.

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