2004 Lenten Clergy Retreat of the Diocese of Chicago and Detroit
The 2004 Lenten Clergy Retreat of the Diocese of Chicago and Detroit.
(ROCOR) was held, in the presence of the miraculous Protectress,
the Kursk Icon of the Mother of God, under the leadership of Archbishop
Alypy and Bishop Peter, at the cathedral in Des Plaines, IL, from
Wednesday, March 4/17 through Friday, March 6/19.
On Tuesday afternoon, March 3/16, there was a meeting of the Diocesan
Council, and supper in the parish hall of the cathedral.
On Wednesday, March 4/17, the conference began with the pre-sanctified
liturgy at 7:30 a.m., celebrated by Fr. John R. Shaw and Fr. Valery
Vovkovsky, with singing by the cathedral chanters and the assembled
clergy, followed by breakfast and the morning and afternoon discussions
of church affairs.
The clergy prepared and adopted a statement of support for Metropolitan
Laurus' initiatives on overcoming the divisions in the Russian Church,
and expressed prayerful hope that agreement and full concelebration
may soon be achieved. A statement of support for the suffering Serbian
Church, in response to the news of the burning of the monastery,
seminary and bishop's house in Prizren, was also addressed to Metropolitan
Christofor of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The cathedral sisterhood prepared simple but excellent Lenten meals
for the clergy. On Wednesday evening, there was an unction service
in the cathedral, attended by a huge crowd of worshippers.
On Thursday, the morning's keynote speaker was Fr. Constantine Botsis
of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago (EP), concerning the need
for pastoral counseling of couples preparing for holy matrimony
in the Orthodox Church, and he shared his experience and the programs
that are now being tried in the Greek Church to prepare couples
for marriage. Fr. Constantine also attended a moleben before the
Kursk Icon in the Cathedral.
The afternoon presentation on the same day was by a Greek Orthodox
layman, Dr. Ari Christoforides, who is a psychiatrist specializing
in marriage counseling, for couples who are experiencing matrimonial
problems. Dr. Christoforides gave his insights on how divorces might
These presentations were well received by all, and it was felt that
the day's talks had been quite helpful and positive.
The day's activities concluded with a Lenten evening service in
the Cathedral and an akathist before the Kursk-Root Icon, celebrated
by Bishop Peter with eight of the diocesan priests.
On Friday morning, the services began at 7:30 with matins celebrated
by Fr. Valery Vovkovsky, and the pre-sanctified liturgy was celebrated
by Bishop Peter with all of the assembled clergy: fifteen priests,
the Cathedralís deacon, Fr. Julian, and numerous servers. During
the minor entrance, Fr. Martin Swanson was awarded the gold pectoral
cross, and Fr. Thomas Kulp was awarded the nabedrennik. Following
lunch, the Kursk Icon continued with visitations of parish churches
as the conference concluded.
After pre-sanctified liturgy and trapeza on Friday, March 19, Bishop
Peter, Fr. Martin Swanson and Fr. Jeremiah Loch went with the Kursk
Root Icon to St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines,
Vladyka Peter had offered to bring the icon to visit that church,
with approximately one hour's notice.
As the icon arrived, the church bells began to ring, and two vested
priests with censers waited at the entrance to the church. Inside
the church there were some 200-250 parishioners.
The Greek parish priests celebrated a Paraklesis to the Mother of
God, and Vladyka Peter spoke about the icon.
All the adults and many children in attendance venerated the icon
and were anointed. An hour and a half later, the bells again rang
and the icon was censed by the clergy of the Greek Church as it