August 8, 2013

Back at the Chancery

It has been a week since Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA delegation returned from Belarus after ten days of travels, visits, church services and celebrations surrounding the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’. As always happens, normal life quickly takes over as everyone starts beavering away at the to-do lists and schedules left behind when the trip began (His Beatitude is already on to his next trip, as he participates in the Saint Herman’s pilgrimage in Kodiak).

Fr Sergij Komlick
Final hospitality in Minsk: in the airport before the 5:00 am flight Fr Sergij Komlik slices fresh bread baked by his matushka for Metropolitan Tikhon.

I came back to move house (finally), so there’s a living room full of boxes and more on the way from Canada this Saturday (and our cocker spaniel Achilles, an old man at 13, has not been doing well.) When time permits I hope to look back again at the pilgrimage and the events with the heads of the Orthodox Churches, because it was such a rare occasion for us as the Orthodox Church in America to be side by side with the ancient churches and those who in the past twenty-five years have been emerging from the oppression and persecution of the Soviet period. And the visit was not without controversy. There are many questions about how church and state relate, and how we Orthodox in the new worlds fit in with the patterns and assumptions of the new Orthodox “old world.”

Meanwhile, back at the chancery life goes on. Starting this Fall Father Eric Tosi will be overseeing OCA fieldwork placements for seminarians at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, so he was meeting yesterday with Bishop Michael of New York concerning possible parish assignments (he served Liturgy at Saint Sergius chapel on Transfiguration, his birthday.) Last week Archivist Alex Liberovsky welcomed two scholars from Russia (one of them a hieromonk) who are working on the history of Alaska after its sale to the United States. Treasurer Melanie Ringa is working with officers and departments to prepare a draft 2014 budget in time for the Metropolitan Council meeting in September. And before His Beatitude left for Alaska the officers met with him to go over the tasks ahead of us, including an open-air Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Chancery on Saturday, September 28th to celebrate the 75th anniversaries of Saint Tikhon’s and Saint Vladimir’s Seminaries, and the 40th anniversary of Saint Herman’s Seminary. Metropolitan Tikhon is president of all three schools.