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International Youth Conference 2007 Day 5

DAILY COMMENTARY - Sunday June 15, 2007

By Jessica Kadlec and Elizabeth Fedornock.

We have been friends for about twenty and when we found out that we had the opportunity to travel together, we were thrilled and a bit nervous at the same time. Our trip has certainly been an adventure, both culturally and spiritually. During our time in Constantinople we have had the opportunity to meet many new people from throughout the world and have made many new friends. Our time here has gone fast, and has been tiring, but we have gained so much spiritually from coming. Today was a very full day. We started out with Liturgy at the Patriarch's Cathedral in the Phanar. The Church was so beautiful and we both started crying when we venerated the many relics of saints that are there that we have heard about at Camp and at Sunday School. It was so wonderful to pray with so many people from throughout the world and to hear the Patriarch's beautiful singing voice. It goes without saying that our private audience with His All-Holiness was a once in a life time experience, his warmth and kindness were so real and the respect he has for our Metropolitan Nicholas and our diocese was obvious. The rest of the day, was also incredible as we visited the beautiful Hagia Sophia and The Chora Church. While we enjoyed the beauty of each church, we felt very sad knowing that they no longer can be used as houses of worship. Words cannot possibly express our feelings about this once in a life-time opportunity to visit the Church of Constantinople and learn more about how we as young Orthodox Christians can better serve the Church. We are most grateful to our parishes and our diocese for making this trip possible.
"Receive the Body of Christ..." Marisa Tobias receives the Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The beautiful mosaic of the Theotokos, who is flanked by the Emperor Saint Justinian,(left) the builder of the Temple and St. Constantine the Great (right)is found in the Narthex of the great Church.
The delegation received a special audience with His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew. They are pictured as they wait in the throne room of the Patriarchal offices.
The delegation from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.
The Patriarchal Cathedral was filled to capacity with an over-flow crowd worshiping from the courtyard.
Our diocesan delegation poses before the magnificant iconostasis in St. George's Parish.
The Reliquary of the Holy Remains of The Holy Great Martyr Euphemia. Her relics are enthroned in many of the altars of our diocese.
The Interior of St. George's Church, where His Eminence, Metropolitan Orestes Chornock was consecrated a Bishop nearly 70 years ago.
Nate Bachofsky prepares to receive Holy Communion.
Icon of the Deisis is found in the second floor balcony.
The Patriarchal Church of St. George the Trophy-Bearer was the site of the Sunday Morning Divine Liturgy which was presided over by His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
The relics of Sts Gregory the Theologian (left) and St. John Chrysostom (right)
A close up view of the beautiful mosaic trim patterns contained throughout the Church
His All-Holiness imparts the final blessing.
The exterior of the Hagia Sophia where a tour took place after Liturgy.
The icon of the Platytera in the Apse of the Sanctuary.