AUTUMN 2006 YOUNG ADULT RETREAT
In connection with the upcoming 1600th Anniversary of the repose of St. John Chrysostom, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland, the Diocese of Chicago & Detroit hosted a Youth Retreat during the weekend of St. John’s feast. This was an excellent way for the youth of the diocese (and even other dioceses, as several participants from the East Coast came as well) to gather for fellowship. It was also a prime opportunity to prepare for this momentous approaching anniversary. This Youth Retreat was a joint effort of the parishes of The St. Sergius Cathedral in Cleveland, OH and St. Vladimir Church in Ann Arbor, MI.
Friday evening, after the registration at St. Sergius Cathedral in Parma, OH, a moleben was served by Fr. Ilia Marzev, dean of the Cathedral, and Fr. Gregory Joyce, pastor of St. Vladimir’s in Ann Arbor, MI. A film about the life of St. John was then viewed, followed by dinner, and plenty of time to relax & socialize in the hotel.
Bright & early the next morning, all assembled at the Cathedral for morning prayers. After a delicious blini breakfast, an address by the Administrator of the Chicago and Detroit Diocese - Bishop Peter of Cleveland, addressed to the participants, was read. Fr. Gregory then began the lectures with a more in-depth look at the life of St. John and how we can all benefit from his examples of Christian virtues. Fr. Michael Carney, pastor of St. Herman of Alaska in Lake Odessa, MI, spoke about the liturgy of St. John & the profound meanings it has for all of us. Fr. Ilia lectured on the teachings of St. John on marriage & the married life, always an interesting youth topic. The floor was then open to a round table discussion, and a lively discussion ensued on timely issues our youth now face. All then gathered in church to listen to the prayer rule for Holy Communion, and had an opportunity to make their confession to several priests. A festive All Night Vigil with Litia followed, with the choir of conference participants under the direction of reader A. P. Petrovsky singing in both English & Slavonic. After a light supper, all retired to the hotel once more.
At the Divine Liturgy the following morning, several of the participants took an active part in the service by reading & singing, and many more took part by receiving Holy Communion, which St. John preached to partake of often. Following a banquet (which was in effect a second “Thanksgiving dinner”!), all gathered together once more in the Cathedral to give thanks to God for such a spiritually fruitful conference, which ended with the words of St. John Chrysostom – “Glory be to God for all things”.
-Reader Paul Drozdowski,
ADDRESS TO THE RETREAT BY BISHOP PETER OF CLEVELAND
Greeting of Bishop Peter of Cleveland to the Youth Retreat Held at St. Sergius Cathedral, Cleveland, OH, November 2006
Dear in the Lord Participants in the Conference!
I am happy to greet you.
St. John Chrysostom is one of the greatest teachers of the Universal Church and emulator of God. He is the compiler of the Liturgy which is celebrated throughout the entire Orthodox world. As you all know, there is nothing in the world higher and holier than the Divine Liturgy. This is the sacrament of sacraments.
St. John left 25 volumes of his writing and sermons which are incomparable due to the beauty of his speech. Those that desire to learn to preach in the Church should read and read again St. John.
The Holy Chrysostom was Archbishop of Constantinople. In this large and busy city there were other God-pleasers, but there were also many worldly temptations. To the righteous, to the lowly, and to the poor Chrysostom was a true father. To those that lived for their own comfort he was a fearless critic of their misdeeds. For his boldness he was persecuted by the powerful of this world. The holy hierarch reposed in the Lord in exile with the words “Glory be to God for All Things.”
Next year is the 1600th anniversary of the blessed repose of this great hierarch. The goal of this retreat is to begin to prepare our flock for an appropriate celebration of this anniversary. May God help you! I wish you a fruitful and successful retreat!
Bishop of Cleveland
Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago & Detroit
Here are some experiences from the 2006 Retreat:
"What a wonderful and heartwarming weekend! The food and hospitality were superb. The discussions were stimulating and enriching. The lectures were very interesting and informative. The divine services were beautiful and prayerful. Above all, it was the energizing feeling of a community of young Orthodox Christians coming together to support one another. At a time in my own life when I have been struggling to think for myself and develop my own values and beliefs, it’s been so easy to get lost and feel alone in an ever more secular society. Meeting and getting to know many others of the same age that are going through the same struggles has been very encouraging."
"I really liked the lectures. I felt as though this conference we really got to know the saint for whom we were hosting the conference and I was actually very much inspired by that. The lecture about marriage in the words of St. John of Chrysostom was also very inspirational! I feel that throughout all the years that I've been to the conferences, they've been discussing marriage every now and then but never as thoroughly as they did this time and I found it very helpful and touching as well. To look at marriage through the eyes of the church is truly a blessing."