MOSCOW: April 22, 2013
The Russian Church Abroad Participates in a Project of the Publishing Arm of the Russian Orthodox Church
In 2013, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will participate in the annual charitable project of the Publishing Arm of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. As part of the celebration of the Days of Orthodox Literature, every diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church will be provided with a free copy of the book by the Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Protopriest Andrei Sommer, entitled Ot Zapada do Vostoka: opyt molodyozhnogo sluzheniya v Russkoj Zarubezhnoj Tserkvi [From West to East: the Experience of Youth Ministry in the Russian Church Abroad].
The presentation of this publication was organized by the Publishing Arm on November 6, 2012, as part of the exhibition “Pravoslavnaya Rus’” [Orthodox Russia].
“Working with young people is a special type of ministry,” says Protopriest Andrei. “Imagine finding yourself in a different land, with the language is foreign, the culture is alien to you, and the spirit is different. It is the same with young people, they form a nation unto themselves, with their own language, their own subculture, their own world view.”
The book includes chapters revealing the history of the youth missionary movement from the early 20th century to the present day, on five continents, where Russians found themselves after the October Revolution, united under the leadership of the Russian Church Abroad.
Youth ministry became a special project for the bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, who exerted extra efforts to help young people preserve the Orthodox faith and their native culture. The book offers unique recollections which the author received from people who participated in youth circles, high schools, children’s camps, scouting organizations and other gatherings of the Russian diaspora.
The new book is not only an excursion into history, but a textbook on methodology, where the reader will find abundant material devoted to the various forms and means of youth ministry in the Russian diaspora: Orthodox youth groups, the scout movement, summer children’s camps, symposia, diocesan and All-Diaspora youth conferences, and recommendations on organizing youth projects and events. The author opines that the most valuable part of the book is the invaluable experience of youth ministry collected over decades which the Church Abroad preserved and hopes to share with her compatriots in the Homeland.
The final section of the book is comprised of the writing of young people themselves. These include essays written before pilgrimages and international youth forums and after their conclusion. Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Moscow, St Petersburg… The culmination of many joint meetings of youth from various countries of the Russian diaspora, Russia and the former CIS to holy sites was the 12th All-Diaspora Youth Conference held in 2011.
The book contains many illustrations which give visual impressions corresponding to the text. These historical photographs were collected from personal archives and archives of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, as well as contemporary photos—a chronicle of recent youth ministry events of the now-united Russian Orthodox Church.