For the first time in several decades, the seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Bound Brook, NJ) participated in a meeting of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement (OISM) hosted by Christ the Savior Seminary of the American Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Diocese of the USA. From Friday, September 24 until Sunday, September 26, 2010 our seminarians participated in the working sessions of the student gathering with the representatives from the following Orthodox seminaries:
Christ the Savior Seminary, Johnstown, PA
Holy Cross Seminary, Brookline, MA
St. Sophia's Seminary, South Bound Brook, NJ
Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, NY
St. Tikhon's Seminary, South Canaan, PA
St. Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, NY
In all, there were 30 participants in this encounter.
Seminarians Subdeacons Vasyl Pasakas, Andriy Matlak, Vasyl Dovgan, Philip Harendza and Ioan Mazur arrived to Johnstown, PAon Friday evening, September 24, 2010. Late in the evening, the meeting opened—and, for most, a long day of travel ended—with the celebration of a Moleben to the Holy Spirit Before Beginning Any Good Work.
On Saturday, Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the seminary chapel, with all representatives in attendance. Following breakfast, the keynote lecture of the weekend was given by Deacon Gregory Roeber. Deacon Gregory, the current president of the Orthodox Theological Society of America, chaired the history department at Penn State for over a decade. He shared his research and observations on the current state of higher education in America, and his perspectives on what role the Orthodox Church should play therein.
In the afternoon, the seminarians visited Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA. Providentially, the OISM meeting coincided with the annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage at Antiochian Village. In addition to touring the facilities, grounds, library and museum, the seminarians were able to participate in the Mystery of Holy Unction, which was served in the afternoon as part of the pilgrimage. A number of seminarians also took the opportunity to visit the grave of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, who is buried on the grounds.
In the evening, Great Vespers was celebrated at Christ the Savior Cathedral. Dinner was served at the diocesan chancery, followed by the OISM General Assembly meeting. To close the evening, Deacon Pawel Mucha of the St. John the Compassionate Mission and the Lived Theology School in Toronto gave a stirring presentation on the multi-faceted ministry of the mission.
On Sunday, the seminarians participated in Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral. After refreshments at the seminary, the gathering concluded.
The entire weekend was marked by a feeling of camaraderie amongst all involved. Many remarked at the close, almost familial atmosphere for the weekend, which was enhanced by the hospitality they received from our seminarians.
The next meeting of OISM will be held in the spring at St. Vladimir's Seminary.
Additional photos, posted here>