(SVOTS) - Centered on the theme “The Christian Missionary Call: Local, National, and International,” the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement (OISM) Conference met on St. Vladimir’s campus for a weekend of fellowship and activities. The gathering brought together students from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America), Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown, PA (American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Archdiocese of the USA), and Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) to St. Vladimir’s Yonkers campus.
On Friday, October 11, the Seminarians visited St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, with whom St Vladimir’s Seminary has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship. Senior seminarian Saro Kalayjian led a tour of the grounds and facilities, while explaining the Armenian liturgical cycle to the visitors. After refreshments, St. Nersess Dean The Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, presented each guest with a beautiful bound copy of The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church, containing the Liturgy in both classical and modern Armenian.
Later that day, St. Vladimir’s seminarian Monk James (Stevens) escorted the group to the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) Chancery in Syosset, where Archivist Alexis Liberovsky hosted a fascinating tour of the grounds and archives. “We had the opportunity to meet and get to know seminarians from different theological schools in a setting of true Christian fellowship,” noted St. Vladimir’s Student Council President Sandro Margheritino.
On Saturday, seminarians listened to several presentations. Chief Chapel Ecclesiarch The Very Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel offered an overview of St. Vladimir’s history, structure, and mission. He noted the importance of OISM events: “All of us are called out by God for a particular purpose: service to God and service to one another. The relationships we form through the bond of fellowship are how God enters into our lives, forming us and challenging us. We have to have companions we can trust and depend on for support. If we truly seek to overcome the divisions that plague Orthodoxy in North America, this is how we do it.”
The wife of Middler Seminarian Burke Vair, Mrs. Vasi Jankovich, then gave a talk on International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). She highlighted the opportunities available to students in the upcoming year to participate in IOCC Action Teams in New Orleans, New Jersey, Oklahoma City, and Minneapolis, and noted that domestic and international internship programs are open for Summer 2014.
Finally, The Rev. Martin Kraus (Alumnus ‘02), rector of Holy Trinity Church in East Meadow, NY, spoke about his ministry in New York City through a program called the “Christian Kitchen,” a ministry dedicated to fulfilling Matthew 25 by serving meals and donating food and clothing to the poor of Manhattan and Long Island. “It’s not just about feeding people – it’s about creating relationships with people and serving Christ,” Fr. Martin said.
After lunch, visiting seminarians toured the seminary grounds and shopped in the bookstore before the official business meeting of OISM took place. Seminarian William Bennett of Christ the Saviour was elected President, and Seminarian John Martin of Holy Trinity is continuing as Secretary. Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville will host the next OISM event in the Spring.