The Dean of New York Archpriest Alexander Belya took a part in the Lenten Retreat for the clergy of Eastern American Diocese
On March 17 of 2015, the Lenten Retreat for the clergy of Eastern American Diocese and for their spouses was opened in the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ. The event has begun with the prayer service.
Over 100 persons took a part in this traditional Lenten Retreat.
Before prayer service Bishop George of Mayfield together with clergy has met the wonderworking and chrismgiving icon of Our Lady «The Softener of Evil Hearts», which was brought from Russia.
After service the greetings of Metropolitan of East America and New York Hilarion was read to the participants of Lenten Retreat.
In his form of address the First Hierarch of ROCOR remained that days of Lent season for every year gathers clergy together for «salvational meeting, deep study of own soul, liturgical fellowship and, what is most importantly, communion near the altar of God», and noted that «Quadragesimal journey for us is not a journey to despair and deep sadness. It is a time of spiritual renewal, when repentance finds forgiveness, begets hope, strengthens our faith and leads us to eternal life».
His Eminence wished renewal of spiritual powers, prayerful mood, inner peace, strength and humility in bearing the exploit of Lent and a joyful meeting of Easter.
In the evening the hierarchs and clergy read an Akathist and Orthron in front of the icon of Our Lady «The Softener of Evil Hearts». Also the Akaluthia before the Holy Communion was read.
After the Orthron the Clergy and Matushkas had a possibility to go for confession in order to be able to have the Holy Communion tomorrow, during the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
On March 18, in St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ, the Lenten Retreat of Clergy and Matushkas of Easter American Diocese had ended. Bishop George of Mayfield led the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts together with Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and clergy – the participants of Lenten Retreat. All the days of meeting were under protection of the icon of Our Lady «The Softener of Evil Hearts» which was in the Cathedral.
After the Liturgy a lot of clergy and believers, who took a part in the grand Lenten service, had the Holy Communion.
The participants of Retreat had adapted the Resolution about the necessity to strengthen the work with the younger generation. «Understanding the vital need to nourish our youth, we call upon pastors, families, and parishes to increase their ardent support of liturgical life, activities, and involvement of young people, ensuring the future health of the Church, – states the Resolution. It is an obvious fact that, if we do not energetically begin making our work with the youth a primary focus, there will be a seriously diminished likelihood of a future Church filled with vitality. This focus must begin in the home with the upbringing of children nourished with prayer, the Word of God and the lives of the saints, as well as the encouragement of parish priests in the establishment of Sunday schools and youth discussion groups. Also of primary importance are activities such as the annual St. Herman Youth Conferences, summer camps, and pilgrimages. These must not be merely declarations from the clergy and parents, but personal and heartfelt interaction and encouragement. This process of the churching of future generations must begin today».