St Herman Conference 2023

This year’s Midwest Diocese St. Herman Conference was held from December 26-30, 2023 in Ingleside, IL, where 65 young people ages 14-19 gathered with ten chaperones for an inspiring week of activities under the leadership of the Diocesan Youth Committee chairman, Fr. Nicholas Park. 

The conference was hosted by the diocesan cathedral in Des Plaines, IL, with lodging and most activities at YMCA Camp Duncan, and was made possible by the generous support of both the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the St. John Kochurov Society.

The gathered youth heard talks from Fr. Christopher Stanton, Maria Maximtsev and Fr. Micah Chisom, as well as participating in a question and answer session with His Eminence Archbishop Peter. Small group break-out sessions, choir rehearsals, dancing, archery and free time for the youth to interact rounded out the schedule.

A highlight of this year’s conference was joint time with the Winter Retreat of the Serbian Diocese of New Gracanica. The youth from both conferences participated in a few icebreakers, then had Vespers and dinner together at the New Gracanica monastery.

The climax of the conference was the hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Friday morning, the day of the commemoration of the Prophet Haggai, led by Archbishop Peter together with the conference clergy. The Divine Liturgy was sung entirely by the assembled youth directed by Larissa Sander.  At the completion of the Liturgy, Archbishop Peter recognized the years of dedicated service by Larissa in leading all the St. Herman's conference participants in singing the services and presented her with a gift.  After this, the participants volunteered for 2 hours at “Feed My Starving Children,” assembling meal packets. The conference closed with a bonfire, talent show and a late evening of conversation and recreation before the final moleben on Saturday morning.

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