In order to maximize the opportunity for the clergymen of the diocese to gather for mutual spiritual support and communion, our Mid-American Diocese this year is holding clergy retreats in both the southern and northern parts of the diocese. The Northern Clergy Retreat took place from Monday, March 20 through Wednesday, March 2 at the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Des Plaines, Illinois.
On Monday evening the traditional General Unction service was performed for the gathered clergy and faithful. Hundreds of faithful from throughout the northern half of the diocese participated in this sacrament, with the anointing going on well into the night. Archbishop Peter prayed in the altar during the service. The Kursk Root Icon was present in the temple during the Divine Service for the veneration of the faithful.
Tuesday was the working day of the retreat, with diocesan business of various sorts taking place, as well as two presentations by Archbishop Daniel of the OCA diocese of Chicago and the Midwest on the pastoral issues, struggles, and joys. That evening Great Lenten Vespers and Matins were served in the cathedral by Archpriest Valery Vovkovskii, who celebrates his name’s day of the feast of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste.
Wednesday morning the Great Lenten Hours were served. The clergy participated in a group dicussion of the Presanctified Divine Liturgy rubrics and practices. That evening, Archbishop Peter led the gathered clergy in the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicolae, Metropolitan of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas, prayed in the altar. Virtually all the faithful present partook of the Holy Mysteries. Following the Divine Service a meal was offered by the cathedral sisterhood in honor of the feast of the 40 Martyrs.
After the meal the gathered clergymen and faithful departed to their parishes, and the Kursk Icon was taken to the Michigan Deanery where it will spend the next days.
Chicago Clergy Retreat 2023:
Resolution Having gathered in the divinely protected city of Chicago, Illinois at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, we give thanks to God for the opportunity to join in prayer before the miraculous Kursk Root Icon of the Theotokos. With the blessing of Vladyka Peter, we take this time to pray for our flock and discuss the issues that impact our diocese and the Orthodox world.
As the war in Ukraine continues, our diocese remains vigilant in supporting His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry in his struggle for peace and the safety of the canonical church. Metropolitan Onuphry has directed his flock to follow a simple daily prayer rule consisting of Psalms 45 and 90, 12 prostrations, and the Lord’s Prayer. Vladyka Peter asks that in support of the Ukrainian church, we consider adopting this prayer rule to show solidarity with those suffering in Ukraine. In addition to the prayers we offer for Metropolitan Onuphry and his flock, we continue to offer financial support. Vladyka Peter encourages that we all write to our government representatives, voicing our support for the canonical church in Ukraine and our disagreement the American government’s support for the schismatic church.
Furthermore, modern culture forces the acceptance of gender and sexuality contrary to nature. We believe that the Orthodox Church has a living tradition that positively impacts the lives of those suffering with gender dysphoria and disordered sexual passions. We emphasize that the Orthodox Church is a spiritual hospital open to all that are seeking healing and love that can only be found in Christ. Vladyka Peter encourages all parents to guide and protect their children so they are not deceived by the modern world but instead are brought up in the truth of Christ’s teachings. Vladyka stresses the critical role parents play in the development of young children. They are the first teachers and must set a positive example in their upbringing.
As the wellspring of the truth of Christ’s teaching, the parish needs to consciously support and develop an authentic Christian culture among its parishioners.
Additionally, the diocesan assembly has increased the financial and material support of Vladyka Peter. We appreciate and value the continued love and dedication he shows to his flock. This increase allows Vladyka further ability to tend the parishes in our diocese. The diocesan assembly also laid the foundation for a future vicar bishop to assist with diocesan responsibilities.
The gathered clergy were pleased to hear from Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest (OCA), who discussed the meaning and sacrificial responsibilities of the Holy Priesthood. The clergy actively participated in the discussion.