Diocesan Retreats Well Received

JOHNSTOWN, PA [Diocesan Chancery] -- This past weekend, scores of faithful of the Eastern Seaboard and Western Regions of the Diocese retreated from the world to spiritually rejuvinate themselves at the Annual Lenten Retreats sponsored by the National Senior ACRY.  On Saturday April 20, 2013, Holy Ghost Orthodox Church of Phoenixville, PA was the host for the Eastern Regional Retreat.   His Grace, Bishop Gregory of Nyssa was the retreat master and was assisted by Fr Peter Zarynow of  Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church of Potomac Maryland and Mr Theodore (Theo) Nikolakis, Chief Information Officer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

His Grace, Bishop Gregory spoke to both the Adults and teenagers in separate venues on the topic Repentance and Confession.  Integrating quotes from the Fathers of the Church with his pastoral experience as Confessor for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta,  His Grace underscored the necessity for Orthodox Christians to approach the Holy Mystery of Confession often, in a state of humility and with preparation.    Fr. Peter Zarynow, in an age appropriate manner, led an interactive workshop with the younger children on this same topic.  Theo Nikolakis, drawing on his thelogical training and his experience in the digital technology relm, led separate workshops with the adults and teens discussing the ways in which entertainment media and technology, can  on the one hand support and on the other distort the message of the Gospel as  proclaimed by the Orthodox Faith.

All in attendance were grateful for the opportunity to meet and interact with their new Diocesan Hierarch.  His Grace's ability to transmit the essence of the Patristic  Fathers and Monastics of the Church in a manner understandable to all was greatly appreciated, as was the approachable and personable way he interacted with all in attendance and especially the youth.   The kind hospitality of the host parish and  Protopresbyter John and Pani Marge Fedornock, and the diligent preparations by the planning committee under the leadership of Mrs. Tracey Bilanin, made for a very memorable and enjoyable day.

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View Video of Bishop Gregory's Presentation: Repentance and Confession

Later that same day, faithful and friends from the Chicago Deanery parishes gathered at St. Michael's Orthodox Church in Niles, IL where Protopresbyter Sam Sherry is the pastor.

The afternoon began with a Moleben to the Holy Cross. Clergy in attendance were: Father Samuel Sherry, host pastor; Father Lev Holowaty; Father Alexis Miller; and Father William Conjelko.

Subdeacon Jonathan Bannon gave a very informative talk (What is an Icon? Modern and Ancient Responses), which was highlighted by a slide show presentation.

Confessions were heard by Deanery Clergy and the afternoon concluded with a Lenten Fellowship meal. 

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