100th Anniversary of the Repose of St. John of Kronstadt
The diocesan commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the repose of the great Russian Pastor, St. John of Kronstadt, was held at St. Vladimir parish in Ann Arbor, MI. On the evening of October 31 the celebrations began with a moleben to St. John which provided a spiritually positive alternative to the world’s celebration of Halloween for the parish children and the participants of the college age youth retreat dedicated to the lift of St. John which took place at the parish over the weekend of October 31-November 2. The next morning the youth retreat began in earnest at the Dormition of the Mother of God Romanian convent located in Rives Junction, MI (about 30 miles northwest of St. Vladimir parish). Lectures were presented by Very Rev. Fr. Roman Starr, Rector of St. Innocent parish in Redford, MI and Dean of the Central States Deanery of the Moscow Patriarchate, as well as by Rev. Fr. Daniel Marshall, Rector of the Protection of the Mother of God parish in Goshen, IN. Following the lectures and a delicious meal prepared by the sisters of the convent, a lively discussion of the life of St. John and various other topics important to the young people gathered at the retreat was held. Later in the afternoon one of the sisters of the convent provided a walking tour of the convent interspersed with questions and answers about the monastic life in general and the life of the convent in particular. That evening vigil was held at St. Vladimir Church.
The next morning His Grace, Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America was greeted at St. Vladimir parish by a group of children in traditional Russian costume and the parish Starosta, Mercurius Meyer. Joining Bishop Peter at the Divine Liturgy were Archpriest Vladimir Sedov of the Diocese of Moscow (whose mother is a parishioner of St. Vladimir parish), the parish Rector, Priest Gregory Joyce, Protodeacon Vadim Gan, and Deacon John Feloniuk. The parish choir sang magnificently under the direction of Julia Easson-Meyer. Bishop Peter’s sermon consisted of a comparison of the cities of Ephesus during the time of Apostle Paul and Kronstadt during the time of St. John of Kronstadt and the possibility, with God’s help, of saving our souls no matter what the surroundings are that we find ourselves in.
Following the Divine Liturgy and a memorial photo, the parish Sisterhood, under the guidance of the newly-elected Head Sister Gloria Hovan, presented a festive meal in honor of Bishop Peter’s visit. Following the meal His Grace addressed the young people gathered for the youth retreat as well as entertaining questions of a general nature from the gathered parishioners. After having bid farewell to the St. Vladimir’s parishioners Bishop Peter departed for Chicago, but made a brief visit to the Dormition Convent to thank the Abbess, Mother Gabriella, for her kind hospitality towards the young people of the diocese who gathered at her convent for their retreat.
More pictures of the Weekend’s Activities and Divine Services can be found here>