St Nicholas Cathedral Hosts the Great Lenten Pastoral Conference and Retreat of the Eastern Canadian Diocese 

The annual Great Lenten Pastoral Conference and Retreat of the Diocese of Eastern Canada was held in Montreal on April 3-4, 2008. Concurrent working meetings of the Diocesan Council and the Brotherhood of St Job of Pochaev were held. His Grace Bishop Gabriel, Administrator of the Eastern Canadian Diocese, led the Great Lenten gathering of clergymen, which have continued uninterrupted since 2002. His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus had attended these meetings almost every year. He had intended on participating this year as well, but the Lord had other plans, calling his good and faithful servant to the council of saints on the first Sunday of Great Lent. In his keynote address, Bishop Gabriel told the participants of the last days of the earthly life of our dear abba, concentrating on the recent visit of the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to Moscow. By Divine Providence, it was some decade and a half ago that Bishop Gabriel accompanied the late Vladyka Laurus on his first trip to Russia.

In addition to ongoing diocesan affairs, the gathering in the cathedral city of the Canadian Diocese discussed liturgical and pastoral matters, and also current church affairs. At this conference, the Rector of Holy Veil of the Holy Mother Church, Priest Michael Luboschinsky, shared his observations regarding some differences in the translations of the Rules of St Basil the Great into English and the Russian versions.  

On Friday, Pre-sanctified Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the episcopal rite at St Nicholas Cathedral. An expanded choir sang under the direction of George Skok of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toronto, ON.  

On April 2, the eve of the Conference, a meeting was held between the committees of the Russian Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate on the matter of the Holy Virgin Protection Church in Ottawa, ON, where years of litigation have not yet ended.  

The committees include, on behalf of the Russian Church Abroad: Bishop Gabriel, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Administrator of the Eastern Canadian Diocese, co-chairman; Priest Michael Metni of St Nicholas Cathedral in Montreal, Treasurer of the Canadian Diocese; Reader Yuri Miloslavsky, Administrator of the Chancery of the Eastern Canadian Diocese, secretary; and on the part of the Moscow Patriarchate:  His Grace Bishop Job of Kashir, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada, co-chairman; Protopriest Alexander Abramov, Secretary of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA; and Professor AA Donskov. 

The committees shared their preliminary opinions on ways to resolve the issues.