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International Youth Conference 2007 Day 6


By Fr. Andrew Bartek,
Christ The Savior Seminary

As we embarked to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to attend the 2nd Youth Conference in Istanbul, many thoughts came to my mind. I would be meeting His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and I was also thinking to myself how awesome it would be to walk in the steps of the Apostle Andrew and St. John Chrysostom. I would also be visiting the very Church of St. George, the Great Martyr, where our first Diocesan Bishop, Metropolitan Orestes, was consecrated. Of course, in the back of my mind, there was some fear due to the fact that we were traveling to an unstable part of the world.

The trip started out with a 2 hour delay at JFK airport. It seemed that we would never leave. After traveling many hours, we finally reached our destination. Once we landed in Turkey, we were on the move to our hotel and then to the beginning of the conference. There was no longer time to think of fear. Anticipation and excitement now entered the mind, body, and soul. There were many incredible moments throughout the week’s journey, but what stood out in my mind was the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy. Following that Liturgy, we were to greet the Patriarch privately, but before that, we venerated the relics of St. John Chrysostom. We sang his Tropar and Kondak and the hymn, “You are the God who creates miracles.” Tears rolled down my cheeks and at times couldn’t sing due to the emotion of where we were and what we were doing.

This trip brought what I studied in the classroom to reality. Words cannot describe my thoughts of this historic event in my life. This is all reality and there is truly a God who creates miricales!
Diocesan Delegation arrives safely at JFK Airport in New York, Monday Evening July 16, 2007. They were welcomed by the Very Rev. Protopresbyter Michael Rosco, Dean of the New Jersey Deanery and Very. Rev. Hieromonk Matthias (Moriak) of St. Gregory of Nyssa Church, Seaford, NY