Jordanville Represented at OISM
On the weekend of November 9–11, 2012, four students from Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary participated in the Fall Meeting of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement (OISM), held at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. Third-year students Srdjan Puskar and John Martin (both officers of OISM) and second-year students Stanislav Matveev and Stefan Stoyanov represented the seminary at the meeting.
OISM is a self-organized group of students from Orthodox seminaries in the United States who meet in order to promote Orthodox Christian fellowship and understanding, as well as to build a future pan-Orthodox network of clergy and laymen. OISM has its own constitution and sets its limits of active participation in reference to the member jurisdictions of the new Episcopal Assembly.
Fr. Stephen Vernak of Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Harrisburg, PA gave the first presentation on Friday evening, on “The Work of a 'Pan-Orthodox” Brotherhood”. Fr. Stephen, former president of OISM, first spoke about his experiences as a seminarian and participant of OISM: “We know of the various stereotypes thrown about regarding the different Orthodox seminaries, but participating in OISM disabuses us of these notions.” He spoke about a trip to Alaska, as well as the Fall 2006 OISM meeting at Holy Trinity Seminary, where the OISM members were warmly welcomed by Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory. He then spoke about the cooperation in organizing events and charity work by the Orthodox Christians of the Greater Harrisburg area, including the establishment of the Agia Sophia Coffee House and Bookstore. The non-profit coffee house, now in its second year, caters to a diverse patronage in Pennsylvania’s capital: “There are politicians, clerks, accountants, students, homeless people…We run the gambit.”
The next morning, members of OISM attended the Divine Liturgy at the monastery church followed by breakfast in the seminary refectory. After breakfast, the OISM attendees met with Archimandrite Athanasy (Mastalsky), the guardian of the myrrh-streaming icon of St. Anna. Fr. Athanasy, now in residence at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, spoke on the holy icon and the priestly ministry of spiritual healing.
After lunch the OISM members had an official meeting, and then went to St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, Pennsylvania for a tour of the church and to attend the annual Christmas Bazaar. There, Mitered Archpriest John Sorochka gave them a tour of the church and explained the 120-year history of the parish. Most of the OISM members stayed at the church for Vespers. With that, the Fall Meeting officially ended. The HTS seminarians stayed and helped to sing at the Divine Liturgy.The next meeting of OISM will be held in the Spring of 2013, under the auspices of Christ the Savior Seminary (Carpatho-Russian Diocese) in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.