On Tuesday, October 24, the Pastoral Conference for Clergy & Matushkas of the Eastern American Diocese and the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA began at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.
The day prior, Monday October 23, was a travel day for Conference participants. Those who were able to be in attendance were treated to a talk by Protodeacon Patrick Mitchell (cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC), entitled, "Deaconesses Past, Present & Future." Dinner was served for all in the monastery refectory, followed by Compline in Holy Trinity Cathedral.
The following morning, Midnight Office and Divine Liturgy were served in the cathedral, followed by breakfast. At 9:00 AM, Conference participants greeted His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, and Priest Matthew Williams (rector of St. Tikhon Church in Bristol, VA) served the Moleben before the Beginning of any Good Work. Upon completion of the moleben, Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the gathered clergy and matushkas, saying, in part:
"I welcome everyone with the beginning of our Pastoral Conference. Every year, we try to hold two such conferences or retreats, preferably one each in the north and south, thus hoping to embrace as much of our vast diocesan territory as possible, so that the clergy will be able to gather for brotherly interaction, mutual prayer, the exchange of pastoral experiences, and fellowship in the Divine Liturgy. We have in our presence here a newly commissioned icon of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, which includes within it a piece of her omophorion. This is a great blessing for us as we gather together.
"We are very grateful to Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), the abbot of this holy monastery, for providing the venue for our Conference. We likewise thank Holy Trinity Seminary, which has made it possible for the seminarians to participate, to listen in to the talks taking place here in the coming days, and to pray together at the divine services. May God bless us all, and may this Pastoral Conference be a success."
All of the participants then came up to receive His Eminence’s blessing and be sprinkled with holy water, and then proceeded to the Seminary Hall, where the first talk, "The Significance of the New Martyrs for the 21st Century" by Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen), was delivered.
The second lecture of the day was delivered by Archpriest Alexander Belya (dean of New York City and rector of St. John the Forerunner Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY), who spoke on the "Carpathian Rus’ and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the early 20th Century" and ties between this wonderful, longsuffering country and the spiritual legacy of ROCOR’s hierarchs in general and Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville in particular.
After a bountiful luncheon, participants enjoyed some free time to walk the monastery grounds.
The third lecture was delivered by Archpriest Victor Potapov (dean of the Capital Region and rector of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC) on "The First Ten Years" of the Reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church, including an overview of the labors and martyrdom of Brother Jose Muñoz-Cortes and the myrrh-streaming Iveron-Montreal Icon of the Mother of God, as well as the significance of the appearance of the myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Icon of the Mother of God.
All of the lectures were presented with simultaneous translation into either Russian or English, as required.
The seminary faculty was then empaneled to speak with Conference participants about recent developments, under the header, "Holy Trinity Seminary – Today & Tomorrow." Among those who spoke were the seminary’s new dean, COO, and professor of Moral Theology Archpriest Alexander Webster (formerly rector of St. Herman of Alaska Church in Stafford, VA); professor of Liturgical Theology Reader Vitaly Permiakov; professor of Church History Deacon Andrei Psarev; professor of the New Testament Archpriest Peter Heers; professor of Music Reader Nicholas Kotar; professor of Practical Liturgics Deacon Peter Markevich; professor of English Literature, Composition, and Philosophy Edward Novis.
In his opening remarks, Fr. Alexander spoke about the major projects being undertaken by the seminary faculty, foremost among which is the process of accreditation of a Master of Divinity program (this announcement was met with enthusiastic applause). Fr. Alexander likewise introduced Deacon Michael Pavuk as the seminary’s newly hired First Director of Development.
Vespers and Matins were then served in Holy Trinity Cathedral, followed by free time, dinner in the monastery refectory, and Compline.
Clergy enjoyed brotherly interaction with one another, spending time sharing their thoughts and impressions late into the night, and looking forward to the second day of the Conference.