Holy Virgin Protection parish youth group pilgrimage to Jordanville
Bright Week, 2010

    The youth of Holy Virgin Protection Orthodox Church in Goshen, Indiana have long hoped to take a pilgrimage. After working and giving Russian folk dancing performances at various locations (for which they were paid), sufficient funds had been raised by this year. Local school vacations coincided with Bright Week, during which the Great Feast of Annunciation fell this year. “We never expected that this idea would become reality,” said Ana Chapman (15).
   
    After a ten-hour car ride, five members of the parish youth group, parish rector Rev. Daniel Marshall, his family, and chaperone Alexander Mintairov, found themselves at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. “It has a sincerely calm atmosphere,” said Valentina Protasenko (16). “We got to see first hand the life of the monastics; that’s something to remember.”

    “I loved the candles and the smell of the incense. It was very uplifting,” said Kiersten Friesner (12). “I liked it,” added Sasha Chapman (11).

    The monastery was founded by a brotherhood of monks and Orthodox men who decided to name it in honor of the Holy Trinity. Many years later and after a whole lot of hard work, it has been built up to a place that offers an exhilarating view of the Orthodox religion. The monastery has a history dating back decades. People from around the world are a part of the community.

    The youth group was privileged to be able to stay three days there. The group slept in the guesthouse near the monastery and attended services for Annunciation and daily liturgy. “The iconography was absolutely stunning. The whole church told a story,” said Ana Chapman.

    The group was given a pleasant and insightful tour of the monastery, the brotherhood cemetery and the print shop. “I learned so much about the saints,” said Kiersten Friesner. “I never knew there were so many!” The group ate at the monastery.

    Fr. Theophan, an iconographer, gave the group a tour of the icon studio and explained how icons are made. “After that we went to help clean the Church,” said Ilia Glazman (12).

    The group visited Nina Michaelevna Solovieva, a former neighbor of Fr. Daniel and Matushka Anya  from the time when Fr. Daniel was attending Holy Trinity Seminary. She prepared a delicious meal and shared moving stories from her life. Everyone left both satisfied and edified.

    Since it was Bright Week, the group had the chance to ring the bells in the monastery bell tower. They took a hike around the monastery, starting at the cemetery, stopping by the apiary and ending up at the tall cross on the hill that looks over the entire monastery.

    The group was warmly received by Archimandrite Luke, abbot of the monastery. The girls in the group visited the nuns at the neighboring Skete of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr for liturgy and a festal meal. The monastics were incredibly nice and polite. The days flew by and too soon, it came time to go. We encourage everyone to take similar pilgrimages, the benefits of which include religious enlightenment, friendship bonding and good food.

    While staying at Jordanville, the group made a side trip to Cooperstown and visited the Baseball Hall of Fame. On the drive back, another detour was made to see Niagara Falls.

written by the participants
photos by Valentina Protasenko, Sasha Chapman and other participants

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