The 55th season of the diocesan summer camp, ORPR, began on Saturday, July 4th, 2015. Participants include over 75 youngsters as well as volunteers and instructors from within the diocese, beyond its borders and as far away as Belarus and Russia. This year's camp is named in honor of St. Vladimir, marking the 1000th anniversary of his repose.
Seeking God's blessing for a spiritually beneficial and safe camp session, His Grace Bishop Peter presided over the opening ceremonies, which began with a moleben served by the camp Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Tarasiy Maximtsev.The campers then marched to the peninsula on the lake for the ceremonial reading of the opening orders of camp.
Bishop Peter elevated Alena Ignatiev to the highest rank within the camp hierarchy, Senior Instructor.
The campers spent the rest of the day meeting their cabin members and being introduced to time-honored camp traditions, such as marching and how to stand at attention and form ranks. A choir of campers sung the evening service under the guidance of camp choir director, Fr. Deacon Dimitri Kulp. After dinner, the campers joined in songs and skits around the campfire. The evening concluded with fireworks over the lake, in honor of Independence Day.
Campers sang the liturgy on Sunday morning, served by Archpriest John Sykaluk, rector of the St. Vladimir parish located at ORPR and priest Daniel Marshall, rector of St. George parish in Cincinnati, Ohio. Two seminarians from Seretensky Monastery Theological Seminary participated in the services. Evgeniy Kolodnyy, read the epistle and Arseniy Pisarev rang the church bells. These seminarians will spend two weeks at ORPR helping camp clergy with the teaching of Orthodoxy and the Law of God to the campers.
Later on Sunday, campers hiked 4 miles through the corn and soybean fields near camp, returning for an evening snack before turning in. Monday morning campers returned to Church for the annual blessing of camp. Carrying the Cross, banners and icons while singing, "O Lord, save Thy people..." all the cabins and camp buildings were blessed with holy water. The Lord Himself added to the blessing, by sending a rain storm.
ORPR camp is located in a rural section of northern Illinois and provides Orthodox youth with a month of instruction in the Orthodox religion, Russian history and culture, and scouting skills. The summer session runs the entire month of July and also includes activities such as swimming, hiking, scavenger hunts, campfires, sports and arts & crafts. Every year campers make new friendships, improve their leadership abilities and deepen their Orthodox Christian faith.