On Sunday, July 28th, the 1025th anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus was commemorated at St. Vladimir's Church on the grounds of the diocesan ORPR summer camp. Celebrating the festal Divine Liturgy was His Grace, Bishop Peter, together with V. Rev. John Sykaluk, rector of St. Vladimir's; Hieromonk Innokenty, rector of SS Sergius and Herman church in Atlantic Mine, MI; V. Rev. Jeremiah Loch and Rev. Tarasiy Maximstev from St. Innocent's in Carol Stream, IL; V. Rev. Victor Trotskyy from Dormition Cathedral in Detroit; and Rev. Leontiy Naidzions from the Chicago cathedral, along with Protodeacons Vadim Gan and Alexander Kichakov also from the Chicago cathedral. The youth camp choir, led by the director of the Pontifical choir in Chicago, Dr. Michael Gill, adorned the service with its simple but prayerful chanting.
The service was attended by many visitors from the greater Chicago and Wisconsin area as well as parents and former campers who were visiting that weekend. All of the campers and many of the visitors partook of the Holy Mysteries that day. The service concluded with a procession around the church. In his sermon, Bishop Peter noted that while we are celebrating the 1025th anniversay, it is the last 25 years that are perhaps the most important for us. It was first in 1988 on the 1000th anniversary that the intial cracks in communist Russia became evident. Since that time, literally hundreds of churches, monasteries and church schools have risen up once again in Holy Russia and for this we thank God. However, we now are witness to the beginnings of a terrible spiritual decay here in this country. However, he exhorted all to not despair but think upon the example of the hospitality of Abraham. The Lord God went down to see what had become of Sodom and Gomorrha but stopped to visit Abraham at the Oak of Mamre where he explained that He desired not the destruction of the city would that there had only been ten righetous people left. Using this as an example, Bishop Peter urged us to focus on working on our own spiritual salvation by leading a Chrisitan life and trying to live according to the commandments of God, for each of us could be the "tenth righetous person" that would spare the destruction of the world we currently live in.
Following the Divine Services and a meal served to the guests by the Sisterhood of the parish, the campers put on a presentation of traditional Russian folk music and dances and then gave a demonstration of the skills they had learned during their camp experiences which included knot tying, building a lean-to shelter, and starting a campfire from scratch. Guests were then invited to tour the camp grounds to catch a glimpse of the youngsters' camp life experience.