: Resolution of the 47th Youth Syezd of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the forty-seventh annual Youth Conference of the Australian and New Zealand (A&NZ) Diocese was held at Wisemans Ferry, a historic village on the Hawkesbury River just to the north of Sydney, from the afternoon of Tuesday December 27 until the morning of Saturday December 31. The theme of the conference was ‘Against the Tide: Maintaining our Orthodoxy in Challenging Times’

Speakers at the conference included Dr Nadia Crittenden, a well-known psychologist within the Russian Community; Professor Dimitri Conomos form Oxford University; Mitred Archpriest Michael Protopopov, the Vicar-General of the A&NZ Diocese; Rev Dr Peter Hill, the rector of Saint Patrick Mission, Adelaide; Andrei Laptev, the choir conductor at the Intercession of the Holy Virgin parish in Cabramatta; and Protodeacon Alexander Kotlaroff, a cleric of the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Strathfield.  An interesting presentation on the “Concord of Orthodox Youth” (“Содружества православной молодежи”) conference was given by one of the youth attendees, Paul Proszenko.

On the second evening of the conference, all the clergy in attendance, together with a number of the youth, gathered to serve a pannikhida for the newly-reposed Adrian Rostislavovich Gan.

Divine Liturgy was served at the conference venue on Friday 30 December, the day of commemoration of the Prophet Daniel.  Concelebrating were Mitred Archpriest Michael Protopopov, Archpriests Vladimir Boikov and Boris Ignatievsky, Hieromonk Joachim (Ross), Priests Daniel Metlenko, Michael Lunev, James Carles, Irenaios Wiwit Budi Priyono, Aleksander Kobesi, and Simon Nekipelov, Protodeacon Alexander Abramoff and Deacon Samouil Vishnevskii.  An edifying sermon was given by Father Joachim during the communion of the clergy.  After the dismissal, Many Years was sung for Priest Daniel Metlenko, who was celebrating his name-day that day.

On the final evening, Syezd participants broke into groups and competed against each other in a series of activities and team challenges.  A great deal of fun was had by all.  Many friendships were forged during this Syezd with participants from across the Diocese and from as far away as the United Kingdom and the United States.  All Syezd participants are looking forward to returning next year.  Glory be to God!

The following resolution was endorsed unanimously at the plenary session on the final morning of the Syezd:

We, the participants of this forty-seventh Youth Syezd of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, have gathered from many lands and diverse backgrounds.  In addition to delegates from Australia and New Zealand, there have been participants from Indonesia, Ukraine, the United States, and the United Kingdom; some born in Orthodox lands and others abroad; those reared in the Orthodox faith and those who have embraced it later in life; and observers of both the new and old liturgical rites of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Different as we are, we have nevertheless been aware of the profound unity that is ours as Orthodox Christians. Truly, we have experienced that we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3: 28).

The theme of this year’s Syezd was “Against the Tide: Maintaining our Orthodoxy in Challenging Times”. Although the program of this Syezd has focused our attention on challenges to Orthodox faith and life in the twenty-first century, it has also inspired us to respond.  This, we have come to understand, is not only a matter for each of us individually, but something that we must approach together.  To this end, we rejoice in the friendships that we have formed and strengthened this past week, and return to our families and parishes uplifted and encouraged.

Giving thanks to God for the pioneering work of our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in translating liturgical texts into English and in making available the fullness of the rich liturgical inheritance of our Holy Orthodox Church, we call on the Diocesan authorities to consider approving uniform English-language texts for use across the Diocese.  In this way, our unity will be better expressed in our common worship whenever English is used.

For the first time in many years it has not been possible for our beloved Metropolitan Hilarion to be with us at this time.  We send warm greetings to him, as from loving children to their father.  We ask for his holy prayers, and assure him of ours for him as he undertakes the podvig of leading our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

Enjoying great comfort and ease this week, we have nevertheless been reminded that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are less fortunate than ourselves.  Particularly mindful of the material struggles of the Orthodox Christian faithful on our doorstep in Indonesia and of the destruction wrought by earthquakes in New Zealand, we resolve to share the material abundance with which our Lord has blessed us, thereby further manifesting our unity.

We have also come to understand in these times of heightened environmental awareness that care for God’s creation is not a matter of ideology or of politics, but our solemn responsibility as Christians.

Wiseman’s Ferry
27 -31 December 2011