The Thirteenth Biennial Clergy Symposium
The Thirteenth Biennial Clergy Symposium (2004)
The Thirteenth Biennial Clergy Symposium was held the July 18-22. This year’s theme was “A Diversity of Ministries, the Same Lord”- I Corinthians 12:5. Over 200 clergy from across North America assembled at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA, to worship, pray, learn, share fellowship, and break bread together.
The Holy Hierarchs of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (including His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop JOSEPH, and Bishop BASIL) were in attendance celebrating liturgical worship services together with our priests, officiating at meetings, attending lectures, and hearing reports from clergy and department heads.
The conference opened Sunday with the liturgical service of the Blessing of the Water celebrated by Bishop BASIL in Ss. Peter and Paul Chapel. It seemed as if God’s own hand blessed the service by sending a powerful rainstorm to shower water upon the roof of the chapel during the service. Priests’ voices rang in hymns of praise to God amidst the resonance of the spectacular thunder shower just outside the chapel. This opening service commenced the rhythm of worship which continued in the three services a day held during each day of the symposium and was crowned by Divine Liturgy celebrated on the morning of the final day.
The clergy symposium is part of the Antiochian House of Studies program for the continuing education of our priests. Every other year it provides a forum for both theory and praxis in the ministry of the priesthood.
The continuing education of our clergy began with opening comments by Fr. Joseph Allen, Chairman of Theological & Pastoral Education. Immediately after his opening comments Fr. Joseph sent the clergy off to begin working in groups to discuss and formulate practical responses to assigned topics.
Each day clergy attended morning lectures. This year’s lecturers included Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas, Fr. John Breck and The Most Reverend Archbishop PETER .
Each afternoon clergy choose to attend electives from the following ten electives offered this year:
- The Place of Sacred Music in Worship Today
- The Ministry to Marriage and Family
- Christian Education in Today’s Church (Focus on Teaching Tithing)
- Pastor, People, Parish
- The Role of the Internet in Today’s Church
- Compensation and Retirement Planning
- Empowering Lay Leadership for Evangelization
- Christianity and Islam
- Relations of Orthodox with Other Arab Christians
- Ministry of Repentance and Direction Today
On the last night of the symposium His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP held a meeting with clergy. During the meeting clergy reported on their conclusions made in their group topic sessions and elective chairpersons presented brief reports on the major issues taught and discussed during their sessions. His Eminence also presided over the Conferring of Degrees Ceremony in which he presented degrees to graduates of the Masters Degree program in Applied Orthodox Theology and the Doctor of Ministry Program.
 Fr. John Breck was Professor of New Testament and Ethics at St. Vladimir's Seminary, and is presently Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Ethics at St. Sergius Theological Institute, Paris, France. With his wife, Lyn, he is the director of the St. Silouan Retreat Center, Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina.