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NEW YORK: May 4, 2009 
A "Telebridge" Is Held between Youth in St Petersburg and New York

On May 2, 2009, youth from Pokrovsky Student Council of the higher educational institutions of St Petersburg at the Institute of International Educational Programs of St Petersburg State Polytechnical University and from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia participated in a “telebridge” conference.

Leading the New York contingent was the Vice Chairman of the Synodal Youth Department of ROCOR, Protopriest Andrei Sommer, while heading the Russian end was Dmitry Baranov, Director of the Information Department of “Pokrov” Inter-University Association.

Of particular interest in this event was the joint singing of prayers by the youth groups separated by an ocean, eight hours and thousands of miles. They began by singing the troparion to the Resurrection of Christ, after which Hieromonk Ioann greeted his brothers and sisters in America, telling them about education in St Petersburg’s Orthodox academies. Fr Andrei, a graduate of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, told the St Petersburg youth about this spiritual center of the Russian diaspora.

Maria Wolkow talked about Russian parish schools in the USA, where children undergo a ten-year course of studies, held on Saturdays, learning Russian language, history, geography, and singing Russian songs. Alexander Stepanov shared his experiences as a teacher of Russian history at one of these parish schools. Harvard student Dmitry Dukhovskoy is a Russian teacher who visited Moscow and St Petersburg several times; he is interested in contemporary life in Russia and participates in ROCOR youth programs. The young people from New York told of their pilgrimages to Egypt and Jerusalem, recounted how youth help churches and monasteries in the Russian diaspora, organize formal balls and summer camps at NORR (the Association of Russian Explorers Outside of Russia), and attend youth conferences. The young people of St Petersburg learned from Fr Andrei that Youth Day in the Russian Church Abroad is celebrated on the feast day of All Saints.

A member of Pokrov, Liubov Nemchikova described the celebration of the Day of Russian Students, which falls on the feast day of St Tatyana the Martyr. On this day, St Isaac’s Cathedral in St Petersburg hosts the awarding of the Order of St Tatyana to students and teachers. The New York contingent was invited to attend next year’s event.

The youth at the St Petersburg studio shared their experiences in launching programs on spiritual education at Pokrov. They talked about the areas they concentrate in, which are similar to the work the youth in New York do: they reported on student events at Valaam Island; the renewal of the tradition of holding formal balls such as Tatyana Ball in the winter, Pokrovsky Ball in the fall and the springtime Ball of Victory; they told of the help the youth provided in rebuilding the church in the village of Kamenniki in Ivanovsk oblast that burned down, and other programs.

Seminarian Ivan Zuev congratulated everyone on the approaching feast day of the Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women, the Orthodox Christian “Women’s Day,” after which Many Years was jointly sung.

Also discussed during the teleconference were other joint events planned for the future:

  • A meeting in St Petersburg in July, 2009, during the visit of ROCOR youth to Russia;
  • More telebridge conferences in the near future for more detailed study of youth ministry;
  • The organization of a winter camp near St Petersburg in the winter of 2010.

The organizers of this telebridge hope that this is the first such “meeting” of young people in Russia and the diaspora, and will serve to draw together Russian Orthodox youth in the Fatherland and abroad.

Press Service “Pokrovsky telemost”/Patriarchia.ru.