Jordanville, NY - December 24, 2010 was the first day of the annual St. Herman's Youth Conference, which is being held at Holy Trinity Monastery until December 28. The St. Herman's Conference was started more than three decades ago at Holy Trinity Monastery so that the youth of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad could strengthen their faith and make new friends. It was named in honor of St. Herman of Alaska (feast day December 12/25), one of the first Russian Orthodox missionaries to North America. From that time, the St. Herman's Conference has been held at various venues around the Eastern American Diocese, as well as Canada. This year is the first time the St. Herman's Conference has been held at Holy Trinity Monastery since 1988. In addition to attendees from ROCOR, a delegation from Moscow belonging to the Union of Orthodox Youth Organizations is also attending.
On Friday the 24th, after check-in at the Radisson Hotel in Utica, conference participants, aged 16 and up, arrived at the Monastery by bus, where they had a quick dinner prepared by the brotherhood. After dinner, His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada served Matins for St. Herman with the brotherhood and Conference Clergy. The service was sung by two choirs, in both Church Slavonic and English. After the service, participants returned to the hotel for refreshments and rest for the coming activities of the conference.
On December 25, 2010, the second day of the St. Herman's Youth Conference began with a hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the feast of St. Herman of Alaska. His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada served the liturgy with the Brotherhood and Conference Clergy. The Monastery Choir, as well as a Youth Choir composed of conference attendees, sang the service. After the liturgy, Bishop Gabriel gave a welcome address, with additional information from Fr. Peter Jackson.
After lunch, Fr. Seraphim Gan gave a lecture on the symbolism of the wedding ceremony, using two volunteers to literally walk through the order of the service. After the lecture, a youth delegation from Moscow representing the Union of Orthodox Youth Organizations presented slides and videos on their activities. Next, Fr. Serge Arlevsky gave an interesting and informative presentation on the meaning of the liturgical cycle.
After the lectures, the conference participants split into eleven discussion groups, and rotated around the seminary hall. Eleven moderators spent time discussing with the groups various topics including the practical aspects of fasting, the secular media, and prayer. The discussions were very lively and lasted well into the afternoon, when it was time for the Youth Choir to rehearse.
At five in the evening, the participants gathered in the St. Job of Pochaev chapel for the Communion Rule in English, and then had dinner. At 6:30 pm, the Youth and Monastery Choirs sang the Sunday Vigil served by His Grace Bishop Gabriel and clergy.