STOTS hosts Orthodox Inter-Seminary gathering

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OISMSource: Orthodox Church in America

SOUTH CANAAN, PA [STOTS Communications] Thirty students representing five Orthodox seminaries were hosted by their peers at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary here October 23-25, 2015 for the bi-annual gathering of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement [OISM].  Participating schools included Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY; Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology/Hellenic College, Brookline MA; Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, NY; Christ the Saviour Seminary, Johnstown, PA; and Saint Herman’s Seminary, Kodiak, AK.

Founded in the 1960s and revived in 2003, OISM fosters fellowship and cooperation among Orthodox seminary and theology students.  “The recent weekend seemed to do exactly that, as students were encouraged by learning about and from each other through praying together, sharing meals, discussing pertinent issues, and experiencing the life at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary and Monastery,” said Archpriest Dr. Steven Voytovich, STOTS Dean.

The gathering, which focused on the theme of “Expanding the Mission of the Orthodox Church,” opened with the celebration a Service of Thanksgiving in the presence of icons brought from the seminarians’ respective school chapels.  Archimandrite Sergius, Abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, addressed the seminarians on the spiritual life that necessarily forms the core of Church growth on every level.

Saturday opened with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.  Two discussion sessions followed, during which the seminarians shared ideas, insights, and questions regarding parish growth, mission, and evangelism.  One session was facilitated by Dr. David Ford from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, while the second was led by Archpriest John Reeves of State College, PA.  Discussions and sharing continued informally during meals and around a Saturday evening bonfir.  Many students remained for the celebration of the Saturday Vigil and Sunday Divine Liturgy in the monastery church.

“It was encouraging to have such a large gathering, with representation from so many schools, and to see new friendships made and relationships grow over the course of the two days,” added Father Steven.  “Students came from a wide variety of backgrounds and even countries – Australia, India, Russia, Serbian, Uganda, Canada and the US – and found that they have common concerns and desires for the health and growth of Christ’s Church.  This common ground gives hope for continued dialogue, collaboration, and spiritual fellowship.”

Father Steven thanked Timothy Winegar, current OISM President, and Megan Haak, OISM Secretary, both from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, for their many hours of work and preparation for the gathering, along with their helpers.

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