After several email correspondences over the past few years between the St. Tikhon’s Student Government and local OCF chapters, on Saturday, October 14th, St. Tikhon’s Seminary received the blessing of hosting five Orthodox Christian college students of the local Orthodox Christian Fellowship to gather for a day of fellowship and pilgrimage. Scranton University senior and OCF area president Alaina N. Dimitriou and Wilkes University senior and OCF area secretary Eleni Moustardas were joined by Orthodox college students Gregory Yannes, Andrea Boosalis, and Alexandra Pavuk.
The sunny Fall day began at Ritter’s Cider Mill. Dimitriou, Moustardas, Boosalis, and Yannes were joined by St. Tikhon’s second-year Isaac Lampart and first-year Ephraim Tauck, the latter of whom was accompanied by his wife Athanasia Tauck, and their little Lucia and baby Nikolai. The friends shared Ritter’s fresh cider donuts and enjoyed petting the farm animals with Lucia, after which all took part in a hayride through the farm and forest, crowning the morning with cold apple cider.
The students and seminarians convened at the Monastery Bookstore for coffee, where they were joined by Father Timothy Cremeens of Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre, PA, who accompanied the group to the Seminary Dining Hall for a generous brunch specially prepared by STOTS cook, Zena Hatez. During lunch, Director of Student Affairs Father Ignatius Gauvain welcomed the OCF students to St. Tikhon’s Seminary, and offered a pointed word on the seminary’s unique role in the formation of servant leaders of the Orthodox Church in America, after which second-year Subdeacon Timothy Kolb of Wasilla, AK offered a thought-provoking and poignant thirty-minute presentation on his personal experiences of Orthodox Christianity in Alaska.
After lunch, Subdeacon Timothy Kolband and Seminarian Isaac Lampart escorted the students to the Monastery Refectory. St. Tikhon’s Monastery Abbot, Father Sergius, offered a word on the life of the monastery for the Church, and lovingly encouraged the OCF students to endure in the Orthodox Christian life, even in college. Fr. Sergius stated: "Never be afraid to be an Orthodox Christian. You will never regret it.”
Following Father Sergius’ presentation, Monastery Igumen Father Gabriel kindly conveyed the group into St. Theodosios’ Chapel to venerate the Miracle Working Icon of St. Anna. Afterwards, Father Gabriel offered a tour of the Monastery Museum, accompanied the group on a walk to the Monastery’s fresh-water spring, and invited all into the Monastery Church to venerate the holy icons and relics of the saints of St. Tikhon’s and North America.
The students departed with smiles and thanksgiving. “Thank you very much for hosting us, St. Tikhon's!” remarked Moustardas. “It was such a blessing to receive your warm welcome and tour of the Monastery grounds.”
St. Tikhon’s Seminary Student Government looks joyfully forward to continued friendships with the local OCF chapter over the years to come.
(Story and photos by Seminarian Isaac lampart)