NEW YORK: July 13, 2009
Orthodox Women's Conference "Liturgy and Prayer"
On Saturday, June 27, with the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, about 60 members of the clergy and laity gathered in prayer for a day of spiritual education, edification, and idea-sharing at a conference for Orthodox women of all ages entitled: “Liturgy and Prayer.” this conference was organized by the parish of the Intercession in Glen Cove, NY a follow-up to the successful women’s conference held there during the summer of 2008.
Professor Xenia Endres-Nenchin of Molloy College’s Graduate Program of the Division of Education opened the day’s conference with a presentation entitled “The Life of Saint John Chrysostom: The Man Behind the Liturgy,” which focused on the life of this great saint, one of the great Three Hierarchs and father of the Liturgy that bears his name. The presentation explored who St. John was, what he wrote, his many contributions to the Church, and how he died.
Archpriest Serafim Gan of St. Seraphim of Sarov Church in Sea Cliff, NY and Archpriest George Lardas of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Stratford, CT collaborated on a three-part presentation entitled: “An Explanation of the Proskomedia,” which gave the attendees, particularly the women, a unique look at the proskomedia through a demonstration, and an explanation of the priest’s vestments, actions, and various holy objects on the altar table.
His Grace, Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, gave a thorough, two-part lecture called: “Liturgy 101: A Review of the Structure & Symbolism of the Liturgy,” in which Vladyka addressed the meaning of the term “Liturgy,” the forms of the Liturgy, and the ways in which we relate to the Liturgy.
A lecture entitled “Praying with Icons” was given by Tatiana Penkrat , who recently graduated from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity degree in General Theology with an emphasis on Iconology and Scripture. This presentation provided an outline of the history and language of icons, and how one “reads” them. Mrs. Penkrat discussed how icons work as a liturgical language based on scripture and liturgy, conveying the faith and theology of Orthodoxy, as well as the tradition of prayer and meditation. A particular discussion on icons of the Mother of God and related prayer was also included.
Matushka Valerie Zahirsky, whose husband Father Michael is a priest of the OCA, is also a graduate of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity). In her lecture entitled “Worship, Bible, Children, Teens,” Matushka discussed ways in which young people can be helped to incorporate Orthodoxy into their daily lives. Themes in the Liturgy, prayers, and Church teachings that are based in the Bible were reviewed, and interesting ways to help children and teens relate to these were suggested.
The afternoon session concluded with a discussion by Mother Macrina (Makres) of the Dormition Monastery in Michigan, under the omophorion of Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America. In her talk, entitled “Living a Prayerful Life,” Mother Macrina elaborated on the desire and benefits of living a prayerful life, and offered suggestions for implementing a plan in order to achieve this. Listeners were notably inspired by her discussion on how the Church, Holy Scripture, and the Holy Fathers help us in this never-ending but continuously enlightening and rewarding process.
This fruitful day concluded with an All-Night Vigil served by His Grace, Bishop Jerome, Hegumen John (Magramm), parish rector Father Alexandre Antchoutine and Deacon Dimitri Temidis. The diocesan Holy Myrrhbearers Women’s Choir, under the direction of Eugenia Temidis, was invited to sing the service, which coincidentally commemorated St. Jerome the blessed of Stridon, the heavenly patron of Bishop Jerome. At the end of the First Hour, Fr. Alexandre presented Vladyka with the gift of a new “Chinovnik” or Archieratikon (bishop’s liturgical book) from the parish of the Intercession to mark His Grace’s first namesday as Bishop.
Gratitude is owed to Father Alexandre, the congregation of the Intercession Church and especially to the dedicated organizer Katya Mickle, whose efforts resulted in a second immensely valuable and successful conference for Orthodox women.
Eastern American Diocese