Great Lenten Conference for 2002 of the Eastern American Diocese
WASHINGTON: Clergy Conference and Lenten Retreat
Clergy Conference and Lenten Retreat [Govenie] of the Eastern-American
Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
The annual lenten retreat [govenie] of the clergy of the Eastern-American
Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was
held March 27-29 at the parish of St. John the Baptist in
Washington, D.C. Coming from distant points throughout the
diocese ranging from Canada, Maine, Buffalo, NY, to Miami
FL, fifty-two clergymen assembled in the nations capital
for fellowship and prayer. The conference/retreat opened with
the moleben [service of supplication] before commencing
any good work. At the conclusion of the moleben, Vladyka
Metropolitan Laurus reminded the clergy that the primary goal
of the conference was to cleanse the pastors souls of
sin, so that the pastors might be able to help the members
of their flock prepare to offer sincere repentance, and thus
make it possible for them to greet the Resurrection of Our
Lord with a clear conscience.
Following introductory remarks, both our Vladyka-First Hierarch
and Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan reported to the assembled
clergy on the state of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
of Russia since the 2001 Council of Bishops, and responded
to numerous questions.
The Council of Bishops held in October 2000 had adopted a
resolution calling for the holding of a scholarly conference,
with participation by independent historians and by clergy,
both from the Moscow Patriarchate Russian Orthodox Church
and from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, on
questions of history of the Russian Church in the 20th Century.
That conference took place November 13th-16th, 2001 in Sentendre,
Hungary, at the residence of the Serbian Orthodox Churchs
Buda Diocese. With the hospitable participation of its honorary
chairman, His Grace Daniel (Krstic), Bishop of Buda, papers
on the history of the Russian Church during the period 1917
1933 were presented and discussed. Among the speakers
was Archpriest Victor Potapov, rector of the Cathedral Church
of St. John the Baptist, in Washington, DC. At the first post-luncheon
session of the govenie/conference he provided a detailed account
of the conference held in Hungary and acquainted the diocesan
clergy with the summary document adopted at that conference.
There was a very lively round-table discussion of repentance,
confession, and spiritual direction. For several hours, priests
shared their pastoral knowledge, experiences and accomplishments,
and responded to questions.
Of course, the focal points of the conference were the Lenten
Divine Services held in the Church of St. John the Baptist,
a Temple patterned on the Muscovite/Yaroslavl style of the
17th Century. During the Services, the rite of Confession
was taking place in various parts of the Cathedral.
On Friday, March 29th, His Eminence the Very Most Reverend
Metropolitan Laurus, assisted by His Grace the Most Reverend
Bishop Gabriel, led the celebration of the Liturgy of the
Pre-sanctified Gifts. All of the clergy, and many laypeople,
received Holy Communion at that Divine Liturgy. At the conclusion
of the Liturgy, and on behalf of his parish clergy and parishioners,
Archpriest Victor Potapov, parish rector, presented His Eminence
the First-hierarch with a new arch-pastoral staff. After lunch,
the following resolution was discussed and adopted:
We, the clergy gathered together in the capital city
of Washington, in the church of St. John the Baptist, heard
the speech in which our Father, the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan
Laurus, First-hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
of Russia, called upon us to prepare properly for the Holy
Mysteries of Confession and Communion of the Must-pure Body
and Blood of our High-priest and Lord Jesus Christ."
The Most-Reverend Gabriel, Bishop of Manhattan and Secretary
of the Synod of Bishops, spoke in considerable detail about
the life of our church since the Council of Bishops held in
The conferees heard Archpriest Victor Potapovs report
on a conference, held last October in Hungary, which was the
first conference to deal with the subject of Russian Church
history during the tragic period 1917 1933, a period
in which parts of the Russian Church became separated from
The participants in the Washington conference expressed their
wishes as to the urgent necessity of developing sincere dialogue
between our Committee on the Unity of the Russian Church and
the Moscow Patriarchate, in order to elucidate the true history
of the Russian Orthodox Church and to affirm a healthy ecclesiology.
We are grieved that hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate continue
to participate in the ecumenical movement, especially in the
activities of the so-called World Council of Churches.
We are firmly resolved to follow the path of old shown us
by the Bishops Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside of Russia, and by the testaments of our churchs
past First-hierarchs and of such pillars as Holy-hierarch
St. John Maximovitch and [Archbishop] Vitaly Maximenko.
We call upon the faithful children of our Church to pray fervently
for the healing and resolution of the discords present in
our Church, and to worthily prepare to greet the Glorious
Feast of Christs Resurrection.
Simultaneous translation into English was provided at all
of the talks and ensuing discussions.
The wish was expressed that the next conference/govenie once
again be held in Washington.