Source: Orthodox Church in America
Over 300 college students gathered at Antiochian Village here December 28-31, 2015 for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s annual east coast college conference—“Modern Martyrs: Witnesses of the World.” Concurrently, over 60 students from the west coast explored the same theme at OCF’s west coast conference, held at Saint Nicholas Ranch, Dunlap, CA.
The conference programs combined worship, fellowship, and discussions and presentations on how to become witnesses to Christ on campus and in the secular world.
College Conference East’s 320 participants listened attentively to the keynote address delivered by Sister Vassa [Larin], a nun of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia [ROCOR] from the University of Vienna, Austria. Workshops were conducted by Archpriests Timothy Hojnicki [Orthodox Church in America-OCA] and Stephen Loposky [American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese]; Priest Alexandros and Presvytera Stephanie Petrides [Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America-GOA]; Dr. Tim Patitsas from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA; Louis Zagami, Development Officer for International Orthodox Christian Charities; and Steven Christoforou, Director of the GOA’s Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. His Grace, Bishop Gregory of Nyssa [ACROD], Episcopal Liaison for OCF to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA, and Priest Joel Gillam [Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America-AOCA], Spiritual Advisor for Conference East, also were present.
“There is something so beautiful about over 300 Orthodox students gathering together in prayer and fellowship to grow closer to Christ,” said Anna Valliant, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh and a conference student leader. “The conference gave us an opportunity to broaden our knowledge about being witnesses for our Faith, while allowing us to create and strengthen our friendships with those at the conference.”
Keynote speaker and Spiritual Advisor at the west coast conference was Priest Apostolos Hill of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Phoenix, AZ. Among the workshop leaders were Abbot Tryphon of the All Merciful Saviour Monastery and author/podcaster of “The Morning Offering” [ROCOR]; Mother Melania of Holy Assumption Monastery [OCA]; Priest Michael Gillis, author/podcaster of “Praying in the Rain” [AOCA]; and Christina Andresen, OCF Chapter Relations Manager and her husband Daniel.
“The conference experience this year was unparalleled in that the love of Christ flourished through the union and companionship of all who attended,” said Nora Haddad, a junior at Sacramento City College and a west coast conference leader. “Glory to God—through prayer, education on martyrdom and saintliness, the sharing of our hearts with one another, and allowing love to conquer over all that arose in any given circumstance, we were able to witness transformation together from beginning to end. Everyone left the conference with their hearts elated and eyes glimmering with inspiration!”