Clergy continuing ed symposium offers opportunity for spiritual growth, renewal

STOTS Clergy Symposium

SOUTH CANAAN, PA [STOTS Media] – July 2014

From Tuesday, June 17 through Thursday, June 19, 2014, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary here hosted its Second Annual Clergy Continuing Education Symposium. Over 60 participants representing several OCA dioceses participated in the event. Among the participants were clergy and monastics, men, women, seminarians and lay persons. Those attending received up to 18 of the 20 hours now required by the Department of Continuing Education.

On Tuesday, June 17, the Symposium opened with a Molieben in the seminary chapel, after which Dr. Christopher Veniamin, D. Phil. (Oxon.), Professor of Patristics at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, delivered a lecture titled “Spiritual Life in Saint Silouan the Athonite.” A second lecture, “The Greeting of Mary and Elizabeth: The Sanctity of Life,” was delivered by Archpriest John Kowalczyk, Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Practice, Director of Field Education at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary.

Following the Divine Liturgy on Wednesday morning, Archimandrite Sergius, Abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery and Lecturer in Spirituality at the seminary, presented a talk on “Prayer as Communion – Personal and Liturgical Prayer.” During the afternoon session Mary Ford, Ph.D., Associate Professor of New Testament at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, spoke on “Orthodox Insights into the Book of Revelation.” In the evening, a banquet was held at the seminary dining hall. A toast was offered by the Rector of the seminary, His Grace, Bishop Michael, in which he encouraged the visiting clergy to set aside time during the symposium to not only edify themselves by participating in each of the lectures, but to also take a moment to renew and deepen their relationships with one another. “The priesthood is a difficult and unique calling in the life of the Church,” he said. “It can seem like a very solitary responsibility at times. I encourage you to look around you. No one understands this reality better than your brothers sitting next to you.”

On Thursday David Ford, Ph.D., Professor of Church History at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, delivered a lecture titled “Encouraging People to Seek Help from the Saints in Times of Suffering.” The Symposium was brought to a close with a presentation titled “Clergy Health – Achieving the Proper Balance” by Archpriest Steven Voytovich, D.Min., Dean and Associate Professor of Pastoral Arts and Practice at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. Father Steven echoed the words of Bishop Michael and explored pastoral compassion and love as both renewable and precious resources that need to be carefully tended in our own life and within our families, in order that those resources may be available to the persons to whom we are called to minister.

In addition to time spent in sessions, opportunities for worship and fellowship were important parts of the Symposium. On Wednesday and Thursday, Hierarchical Divine Liturgies were celebrated, and each evening Vespers was celebrated at the Monastery Church. Many of those attending the program served and sang during liturgical services. As with all events that occur within the Saint Tikhon’s Community, each session, as well as every meal, began and ended in prayer. On Wednesday evening, time was set aside for fellowship during and after dinner, with many of the attendees staying and talking long into the night following the banquet.

Saint Tikhon’s Seminary would like to thank all of the men and women who worked so hard to put this event together: the administration, faculty, staff, and student volunteers who all worked tirelessly to ensure that this event was a worthwhile and edifying opportunity for pastoral and personal growth. A very special thank you is to be offered to Matushka Larissa Gregory, who with her husband Deacon Theodore and her son Nicholas, prepared, cooked, served, and cleaned up each meal. Thank you as well to everyone who attended the Second Annual Continuing Education Clergy Symposium.