On October 30-31, a regular Southern Missions' Conference was held
for the communities of the Southern Deanery of the Eastern American
Diocese was held at the Church of St John of Shanghai in Mobile,
AL, organized by its parishioners, who are celebrating the church's
ten-year anniversary. Some seventy people, including clergymen and
the laity, participated in the Conference.
The Parish Rector, Priest Alexander Logunov, opened the Conference
with a brief address, followed by Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, who
told of recent events in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside of Russia.
Priest Anastassy Yastrelis, Rector of the Church of SS Cyril and
Methodius in South Carolina, gave the first speech on the topic:
"Superstition and Orthodoxy." The second speech was on
"Halloween," which Americans were to celebrate the following
day, and was read by Priest John Moses. N.A. Lukianov, the brother
of Bishop Peter of Cleveland, shares his recollections of St John
of Shanghai and San Francisco, in connection with the tenth anniversary
of his glorification and the founding of the parish dedicated to
his memory. Additionally, Protopriest Gregory Williams gave an informative
presentation on the Orthodox Mission in Haiti. It was encouraging
to see that the mission is steadily progressing in spite of the
country’s dire poverty and unstable political situation—not to mention
the terrible devastation recently caused by Hurricane Ivan.
Bishop Gabriel presided at the Saturday evening vigil service and
also at the divine liturgy on Sunday. He was assisted by seven priests
and one deacon from the Southern Deanery of the Eastern American
After divine liturgy, a banquet was held which featured a number
of Southern culinary specialties. During the banquet, a local orchestra
entertained everyone with a delightful concert of folk music from
One of the chief characteristics of the South is its tradition of
warm hospitality, which was certainly in abundant evidence at this
Conference. Although the parish is small in its membership, it did
an excellent job of organizing the Conference and the divine services.
Father Alexander and his parishioners are to be thanked most heartily
for all their efforts in making the Conference a success.