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SOUTH AMERICAN DIOCESE: November 20, 2009
A Priest of the Russian Church Abroad Meets With Youth In Buenos Aires 

On Sunday, November 15, 2009, a picnic was organized to celebrate Russia’s Day of Youth in the town of Ezeiza, west of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Over 150 young people gathered, some born in Russia, others of the second or third generation, some with only one Russian parent. This was the first such event planned by six Russian clubs in which Russian youth learn the Russian language and culture.

At the picnic (asado in Argentina), after opening speeches by the organizers, Consul Igor Romanenko spoke about the importance of remembering the Russian language and great culture. During Soviet times, these centers were actively supported by the Soviet Union, whereas now they are aided by the Russian Federation. For this reason, the youth involved had never met with an Orthodox priest.

This meeting was attended by Protopriest Yaroslav Belikov of the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. He was sent to Argentina at the request of His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America, and was then given the floor. Fr Yaroslav said that the Lord must be remembered not only when things are bad, and that we have churches throughout the suburbs of Buenos Aires. He invited the young people to attend divine services and establish a relationship with clergymen. After the picnic, many approached him with both general and personal questions, and in this informal atmosphere, many of the youth were given their first opportunity to meet an Orthodox priest.