Southern Missions’ Conference

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 Diocese.

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 the South.

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.