Great Lent Clergy Retreat in Canadian Diocese

4 April 2011

March 15/28 through 17/30, 2011, at the Protection Memorial of the Millennium of the Baptism of Russia Church (Ottawa, Ontario), was the time of the annual Great Lent clergy meeting of the Canadian Diocese. His Grace, Gabriel, Bishop of Montreal and Canada, presided over the divine services and meetings. A meeting of the Diocesan Council took place during the second day of the retreat. On Wednesday, March 17/30, on the day of the commemoration of St. Alexis the Man of God, Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts was served hierarchically and was followed by a farewell brotherly meal. With the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Gabriel, participants in the retreat in Ottawa adopted the following resolution:

Resolution of the Clergy of the Canadian Diocese

We the clergy of the Canadian Diocese, having gathered for the annual Great Lent retreat and meeting at the Protection memorial church in the divinely protected city of Ottawa, under the presidency of His Grace, Gabriel, Bishop of Montreal and Canada, prayerfully wish His Eminence, the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and His Eminence the Very Most Reverend Kirill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, a speedy recovery.

In his opening remarks, His Grace, Bishop Gabriel, having reminded all of the devastating natural disasters that the Japanese people – among them are our orthodox brethren, children of the Orthodox Church of Japan – are experiencing now, told everyone about the benefit concert, which took place at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Montreal, and called upon all the parishes of our Diocese to take part, as much as possible, in the work of helping the suffering, which is pleasing to God.

We were informed that two significant events are expected to take place in our Diocese this year: ROCM and St. Herman’s conferences. We hope that Canadian youth will take active part in them.

This year, the parish of St. John of Sochava, in Lachine (Quebec), marks its centennial anniversary. The founding of this parish is connected with the ministry of His Holiness, Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, the Confessor, on the American continent. We hope that His Eminence, the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, will come to the celebration, to which end, he has already given his agreement.

With spiritual joy, from the report of His Grace, Bishop Gabriel, we learned that our diocese will soon be visited by the wonderworking myrrh-streaming copy of the wondrous icon of the Montreal Iveron Mother of God, which manifested itself in Hawaii. We also hope, that by the mercy of God, Orthodox Canada may be visited also by the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God “Softening of the Evil Hearts,” which was present at the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in the year 2009, when His Holiness, Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia was called to his current ministry.

Mitred Protopriest Vladimir Malchenko, rector of the Holy Trinity cathedral in Toronto, Ontario – the largest parish in the Russian Orthodox Diaspora – shared his impressions about a pilgrimage to the holy places of Moscow with his young parishioners, children, and teenagers. It was with heartfelt tenderness, that Fr. Vladimir spoke about the meeting of the young pilgrims with His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill.

All present listened with special interest to the report of Protopriest Vladimir Morin, rector of the church of the Icon of the Savior Not Made with Hands in London, Ontario, dedicated to the results and decisions of the council of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, which took place in Moscow, in February of this year.

As a result of this, the gathering decided to petition the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR to create in our Church Abroad also the Highest Church Council, in accordance with the decisions of the above mentioned Council of Bishops.

Following the decisions of the Council regarding the education standards for clergy, it was decided to recommend two young priests for studies at the Moscow Spiritual Academy.

Concluding the discussion of education, His Grace, Bishop Gabriel called upon all the rectors of the parishes of the Canadian Diocese to pay careful attention to their young parishioners, especially, those, drawn to the service in the Holy Altar and at the kliros. It is among them, that we must look for the future students of our Holy Trinity Seminary – the only school for the preparation of shepherds in the fold of the Russian Church Abroad. Our Seminary is officially recognized and is a part of the University of the State of New York (USA); those graduating it receive a bachelor’s diploma.

Our brotherly meeting in Ottawa was primarily dedicated to discussion of Church and divine services questions, yet at the same time we tried to pay enough attention to the current affairs of our diocese. In particular, it was decided to establish a youth committee that will be charged with the task of organizing various youth events in the diocese, working in coordination with the Committee of the Russian Orthodox Youth at the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR.

This decision, among others adopted during the meeting in Ottawa, appears to us, perhaps, the most important. In the specific conditions of the diaspora, and above that in current difficult times, the work of raising Russian Orthodox youth and children, as well as the preparation of the worthy and educated replacement of clergy, is an essential necessity for all of our dioceses. Beyond that, we are speaking about the task, the successful completion of which is the foundation for the future existence and ministry of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. “I shall die, but live, and I shall tell of the works of the Lord” (Psalm 117).

We offer the photos from the event for your viewing.