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International Youth Conference 2007 Day 4


By Sub-deacon Dave Urban

We started the day with sunshine and beautiful weather once again. The temperatures have not been too high and no rain so far. We have truly been blessed with remarkable weather. Our morning sessions focused on a topic that is key to the spread of Orthodoxy today and in the future, not just with the youth, but with everyone - Technology. Many websites are available to better one’s Spiritual Life with insights from our Holy Fathers just a Google search away. As Bishop Savas from the Greek Archdiocese of America commented, at one time the new technology was writing. Today, the Internet is a form of technology that we need to embrace and use as an educational tool.

Our afternoon was an amazing spiritual journey to the Island of Halki. After taking the hike up the hillside – words cannot describe the feeling of walking through the halls where so many Spiritual Fathers studied and prayed together. Before entering the Chapel, everyone enjoyed the opportunity to venerate icons and light candles with no sense of fear. The sad reality of the government’s restraint on the Orthodox in the area was not felt on this Holy Mountain. The highlight for many of us was singing the hymns Bohorodice Divo and Ti Jesi Boh in this ancient Chapel.

Throughout our evening, a special connection was made that was an important piece to completing Our Journey: discussing and bonding with fellow Orthodox from around the world. From Canada to Boston to the Bahamas, we came together with youth facing the same issues as we see in our local communities – and searching for answers. In a world of turmoil and struggle, this cross-cultural experience united Ukrainians, Koreans, Greeks, Carpatho-Rusyns and many others together. We were able to take steps to finding answers in our Personal Journeys for spiritual growth.

he posted photos below show scenes from Saturday July 14th's trip to the Island of Halki, to the Patriarchal Seminary, which has been closed by the government since the early 1960's. The trip was like stepping back in time as no cars are found on the island, only horse and buggy for transportation up the very steep terrain. It was truly a spiritual experience that will not soon be forgotten.
Our Delegation enroute to Halki.
Upon arriving at the gates of the monastery at the top of the Island of Halki, the pilgrims were greeted by one of the two remaining monastics who have been allowed by the Turkish Government to remain.
Jessica Kadlec and Elizabeth Fedornock pause during their descent from the Halki Seminary to the boat dock for the return trip home.
Our delegation on the grounds of the monastery.
The Island of Halki
The Famed Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) which was built in the 6th Century By Emperor Justinian, as viewed from the shores of the Bosphorus.
The bridge spanning the Bosphorus connects the European and Asian to the right) sections of Istanbul.
The beautiful icon of the Theotokos which adorns the iconostasis.
During a tour of the Seminary building, our delegation visited one of the classrooms, where many of the present hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, including Metropolitan Nicholas, studied.
A view of the Topaki Palace which was built in the 16th Century in the place along the Bosphorus that was the Capital of Byzantium.
The beautiful iconastasis in the Seminary Chapel where our delegation sang several plain chant hymns.
The main classroom/dormitory building at the Halki Seminary.
Ferry boat to the Island of Halki