On Tuesday, December 25, the feast of Venerable Herman of Alaska, clergy and participants of the annual St. Herman Youth Conference gathered in Nativity of the Mother of God Church in Albany, NY to commemorate the feast of the Enlightener of Alaska.
Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by:
- Archpriest Alexis Duncan (parish rector)
- Archpriest David Straut (rector of St. Elizabeth Church in Rocky Hill, NJ)
- Archpriest George Lagodich (cleric of the Canadian Diocese)
- Archpriest Andrei Sommer (senior priest of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City)
- Archpriest Victor Boldewskul (rector of Holy Epiphany Church in Boston, MA)
- Archpriest Constantine Semyanko (rector of Presentation of the Lord Church in Stratford, CT)
- Archpriest Michael Fritz (parish cleric)
- Archpriest Paul Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn, NY)
- Archpriest Leonid Goferman (rector of Holy Protection Church in New Brunswick, NJ)
- Archpriest Michael Metni (cleric of the Canadian Diocese)
- Archpriest John Johnson (cleric of St John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC)
- Priest Seraphim Wing (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Edinboro, PA)
- Priest Gennady Titov (cleric of the Diocese of Tikhvin)
- Priest George Temidis (rector of the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY)
- Priest Eugene Antonov (rector of Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Atlanta, GA)
- Priest Daniel Franzen (cleric of the Mid-American Diocese)
- Protodeacon Joseph Jarostchuk (cleric of St. John of Kronstadt Memorial Church in Utica, NY)
- Protodeacon Michael Soloviev (parish cleric)
- Protodeacon Alexander Jarostchuk (cleric of Holy Epiphany Church)
- Deacon Andrei Psarev (cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY)
- Deacon Michael Pavuk (cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA)
- Deacon Alexey Pnev (cleric of cleric of Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage)
Singing at Divine Liturgy was a combined choir of conference participants, under the direction of Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY).
Prior to Holy Communion, Fr. Dimitri Jakimowicz (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stratford, CT) delivered a sermon expounding on the life of Venerable Herman of Alaska.
Following a group photograph of conference participants, a bountiful lenten luncheon was served in the parish hall, where interaction between clergy and youth continued.
Later in the afternoon, conference goers were given the opportunity to ask questions of interest to them. A panel of clergy led by Archbishop Gabriel answered the various questions, ranging from finding a spiritual father to preparing for marriage, and regarding current ecclesiastical issues in the Orthodox world.
In addition to spiritually edifying discussion, the youth also had an opportunity to interact in a more informal social atmosphere in choir, photography, floristry, and sports workshops.
On Wednesday morning, Dr. Nicholas Ganson, professor of History at Hellenic College in Massachusetts, delivered a prolific lecture, entitled "Orthodox Christian Survival in an Atheistic Society: Lessons from the Soviet Past." Conference participants listened with much enthusiasm, learning more about the New Martyrs of Russia and other key figures in preserving Orthodoxy in Russia.
In the second half of the day, Fr. Dimitri Jakimowicz presented a lecture on his travels to the holy sites of Alaska, including the relics of St. Herman. Afterward, Fr. Gennady Titov presented on the life of the Abbess Thaisia (Solopova; +1915), renowned abbess of the Leushino St. John the Baptist Monastery on the Volga.
Later that night, conference participants competed in the longstanding St. Herman Conference traditional talent show.
Early in the morning, December 27, the youth departed to their home parishes.