On Friday November 9 through Sunday November 11, 2012 representatives from the various Orthodox seminaries joined together to participate in the annual gathering of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement (OISM). It proved to be more than an occasion for meeting other seminarians from different jurisdictions and seminaries; it was a time of visible unity and true fellowship amongst brethren. Seminarians representing the St. Sophia's Ukrianian Seminary, Christ the Saviour Carpatho-Rusyn Seminary, Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church Abroad Seminary, and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox seminary joined those at St. Tikhon's for the gathering.
This year, there were two speakers: Fr. Stephen Vernak (STOTS 2007) and Fr. Athanasy (Matalsky). On Friday evening after welcoming those that were gathered, Father Alexander Atty, dean of St. Tikhon's, presented the first speaker, Fr. Stephen. Fr. Stephen shared some of the history of OISM. He presented slide show of the OISM trip to Alaska, hosted by St. Herman's Seminary, several years ago. He stoked the fires of brotherhood, speaking about his own experience in OISM and how that spirit of unity continues even today in the Harrisburg, PA area. He shared about his involvement in the Pan-Orthodox Brotherhood in that area and one of it's crowning achievements: Agia Sophia Coffee House in Harrisburg. The following day, Fr. Athanasy,keeper of the Myrrh-weeping Icon of St. Anna, which he brought for veneration, shared his experiences in the area of the Pastoral Ministry of Healing of the Sick. This important aspect of the priestly ministry piqued the interest of many seminarians present.
One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the historic parish of St. John's Cathedral in Mayfield, PA. Fr. John Sorochka graciously gave us a tour of the church and spoke about the spiritual legacy that the living and thriving community of St. John has spread all across the area. We were all treated by Father John and the community of St. John's to the tasty foods and offerings at the annual Christmas bazaar that was being held in the parish hall.
This gathering was a great blessing, both for us of St. Tikhon's seminary who hosted and for all those who travelled from the various seminaries to be present. Though all of us were sad that the gathering ended by Sunday after Liturgy, we were left with a renewed sense of brotherhood and fellowship. Good it is indeed, when brothers dwell in unity.
(Reflection written by Seminarian Alexis Baldwin)