In New York’s Catskill Mountains, the 56th annual summer youth camp of the Association of Russian Explorers (NORR) is being held July 3-23. More than 150 campers, troops leaders, counselors, and helpers ‒ all volunteers ‒ have come from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida, as well as from Russia, in order to spend these three weeks together.
On Monday, July 11, the eve of the camp’s patronal feast (the day of the Holy Preeminent Apostles Peter & Paul), the camp joyously greeted Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan. His Grace was joined at the feast Vigil by the camp’s spiritual counselor Archpriest Constantine Semyanko, Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of New York City), Priest George Temidis (rector of Nativity of the Theotokos Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY), Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), and Deacon Alexey Pnev (cleric of the New Kursk Root Hermitage). At Liturgy on July 12, virtual the entire camp received Holy Communion.
In his sermon, Bishop Nicholas called on everyone, on the days of the Church feasts, to leave behind all the things of the world and this life and come to church, since Confession and Communion are a grace from God, a great gift for us, and that is how we show our love for God. His Grace said, in part:
"Yesterday evening, we heard in the Gospel according to St. John the Theologian. He describes a conversation between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Peter. Christ asks him, ‘Lovest thou me?’ How did the Apostle Peter answer? ‘Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.’ So must we do likewise ‒ both adults and children ‒ we must love God, love Jesus Christ, with all our heart, with all our soul, and so also answer Him in our prayers, showing our love for Him."
During his three-day visit to camp, Bishop Nicholas led classes on the Law of God with the campers, spoke with the youth and adults, attended the flag-raising in the morning and lowering in the evening, partook in camp life, and was even able to get some rest.