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SAN FRANCISCO: July 8, 2014
The 13 th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference Comes to a Close

The last two days of the 13 th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference were particularly busy. Archimandrite Irinei (Steenberg) gave a lecture, followed by speeches by Alena Plavsic, Development Manager of the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and by Niko Petrogeorg, North American Project Coordinator of FOCUS—the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve North America.

On the evening of July 2, 2014, the Russian Center of San Francisco hosted a concert attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, newly-consecrated Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, other hierarchs, clergymen and members of the diaspora in San Francisco, as well as the youth conferees. A literary-musical work based on the life of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco was performed by a youth choir under the direction of Nicholas Kotar.

After a buffet, an improvised concert was given by the youth and clergymen from the participating countries which included Russian folk and military songs, as well as folk and contemporary dance.

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In the first half of July 3, the 13 different groups which had developed individual social-service projects presented them to the conference, in Russian and English. Serving as judges were His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada, His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, His Grace Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuevsk, and His Grace Bishop Iona of Obukhov. Among the more noteworthy were a database of social assistance, an Orthodox youth camp, an Orthodox theater, an Orthodox tutorial center, an Orthodox youth festival, a youth club dedicated to St John of Shanghai, a center for moral and informational support, an Orthodox cafe, an aid program for sick children in orphanages and prison ministry.

Later that day on a cruise, the participants admitted that they could not choose a winner among the entries. His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America suggested drawing lots, which resulted in Vladyka Panteleimon congratulating three winning groups, with another three receiving honorable mention.

The young conference participants then spent the rest of the cruise socializing and enjoying the beautiful evening environs of San Francisco.

The youth forum concluded with a moleben at the reliquary of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco performed by Vladyka Panteleimon. His Grace then anointed all the participants with oil from the lampada of the saint.

The main conclusion the conferees came away with was the need to unite youth as the most mobile and creative part of the Body of Christ around charity and works of mercy.

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