JORDANVILLE, NY: June 5, 2009
Memorial Day Youth Retreat at Holy Trinity Monastery
Memorial Day Weekend, Holy Trinity Monastery hosted a retreat for young Orthodox adults. Many came from as far away as Florida and California. The greater number of participants came from the young adult community of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, but all were welcome and some came from other jurisdictions.
The retreat officially began on Saturday, May 23, following the morning seminarian Michael Perekrestov welcomed the participants to Holy Trinity Liturgy and breakfast in the monastery refectory, which was attended even by those who arrived late in the evening before. Retreat organizer and Monastery. Graduating seminarian Vladimir Davydov gave a lecture based on his bachelor’s thesis, which focuses on the cemeteries of Holy Trinity Monastery. After the lecture, all took part in a litya for Metropolitan Laurus and the reposed mentioned in the lecture.
Then the group broke up into three randomly chosen groups who helped to beautify the monastery. One cleaned the cemetery church dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God. Another helped to clean, paint, and prepare the garage building to be a nice dining hall for the pilgrims who will be coming for the monastery’s feast day, on Pentecost. The third helped to beautify the monastery grounds by weeding, trimming, and spreading decorative mulch.
After lunch in the refectory and a break, the group gathered in the Holy Trinity Seminary hall for a lecture and slide presentation on Metropolitan Laurus, which was given by the Metropolitan’s former secretary, and devoted helper, Protodeacon Victor Lochmatov. Father Victor answered questions and gave a vivid picture of Metropolitan Laurus’ life and personality, which he witnessed from the time of his early youth. All were grateful for the opportunity to get to know Metropolitan Laurus a little better.
After a short break, Archimandrite Luke (Murianka) gave a tour of some of the buildings on the Monastery grounds, including Holy Trinity Cathedral, the baptistery, and the monastery print shop. He spoke about the meaning of the church icons, the history of Holy Trinity Monastery, and shared his thoughts on its historical and current mission. Afterward, the group went to the cemetery church to read the rule for Holy Communion, which was done partly in Slavonic and partly in English. The group enjoyed supper in the Monastery refectory with the monks, and then attended the all-night vigil. Some of the participants sang in the choir with the monks and seminarians, while others stood and prayed for the entire service.
The following morning, on the Sunday of the Blind Man, the group attended the Divine Liturgy and many approached the Chalice. After lunch, many attended an optional presentation by a representative of the Eastern American Diocese Youth Association, Katherine Rimakis. Katherine gave some recommendations and guidelines for better organization of church youth events and communication between parish youth groups.
Afterward, all went to Glimmerglass Park on Lake Otsego for a barbecue. By God’s Providence, the clouds cleared and the weather was beautiful. There was a soccer game, Frisbee, swimming, and singing songs. All were very grateful to God for this time together. The group returned to Holy Trinity Monastery in time to attend small compline. After the service, all attended a bonfire on the Monastery property. Many talented individuals played guitar and sang songs, including traditional Russian and Cossack songs, Irish ballads, American spirituals, and popular music. All enjoyed listening and eating S’mores.
The next morning after Liturgy and breakfast, the group attended a spiritual talk on Orthodox spirituality with comments on monasticism and marriage by Hieromonk Cyprian (Alexandrou), the Holy Trinity Seminary Dean of Students and also Instructor of New Testament Greek. After the talk, the participants went on a tour of the icon studio given by iconographer and monk Theophan. Then they toured the museum, guided by Michael Perekrestov. This officially concluded the Memorial Day Weekend retreat. Many voiced the hope that this will become an annual event.