2020 Virtual Conference On December 29th and 30th, 2020, we held our first virtual St. Herman’s Conference. While we all missed the opportunity for fellowship in person, we are grateful that we could come together using the Zoom platform for inspiring talks and conversation.
We were joined by two excellent speakers, who spoke with the youth gathered from across and beyond the diocese: Abbot Tryphon and Deacon Nicholas Kotar.
Abbot Tryphon is a well-known Orthodox blogger, writer, and abbot of All Merciful Savior Monastery on Vashon Island in Washington. In two separate talks, speaking to younger youth and older youth, Abbot Tryphon addressed many questions that affect and concern the youth today. Answering questions on keeping true to the Orthodox faith as well as sharing our faith with peers, he encouraged the youth to live the Christian faith despite adversity. He explained further, with many interesting personal recollections, that our own Christian life is the greatest witness and testament of our faith. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."(Mathew 5:16)
Our virtual conference was also greatly enhanced by the presentations to each group of youth by Deacon Nicholas Kotar, who is the author and translator of over 20 books; choir director at Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary in Jordanville, NY; and podcaster with Ancient Faith Radio. Fr Deacon Nicholas’s talk was entitled, “How to Use Heroes from Classic Literature as Guides to a Virtuous Life.” He focused mainly on authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, and encouraged the conference participants to choose literature that highlights characters who struggle against evil and seek out beauty and truth. Fr Nicholas reminded the participants that what we read and watch and listen to greatly affects our hearts, souls, and minds. The lively question-and-answer periods that followed each evening’s talk included discussions about such things as modern literature, music, and social media; lives of saints and how we can relate to them; how to navigate the turbulent waters of modern young adult life; discernment in selecting hobbies and entertainment; and much more.
Abbot Tryphon recording link
Dn. Nicholas Kotar recording ink