With the blessing of our Pastor and Spiritual Father, Very Rev. Theodoros Daoud, the Ladies Society of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church , Hunt Valley, MD, sponsored the First Annual Pan-Orthodox Nativity Lent Retreat for Women on November 22, 2009. Twelve parishes were represented by the 55 women who attended the day that began at 10 am and ended with Great Vespers at 5 pm. The retreat leader was the Very Rev. Michael Dahulich, Ph.D., Dean of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA.
This day of reflection was titled: “What It Means To Be An Orthodox Christian Woman In The 21st Century.” Father Michael’s lecture style is interactive and welcoming of questions, comments, and exchange of ideas. In his addresses, Father Michael encouraged the women to name the challenges that face them in the 21st century such as: a fast-paced lifestyle, media, technology, working outside the home, single parenthood, the relativity of truth, the breakdown of moral principles, and materialism.
Having listened to these, he encouraged each of us to be faithful to her calling as an Orthodox Christian woman: to be obedient to God, her spiritual father, and her husband; to bring her immediate family to Christ; to be responsible for helping her husband and children to live an Orthodox lifestyle and keep the traditions; to exemplify Christian virtues; to be faithful in personal prayer and Scripture reading; to give of her time, talent, and treasure to the Church; and to persevere in the struggle to live in Christ. Her daily spiritual life is to consist of: prayer (personal, liturgical, family); fasting; almsgiving; other works; reading Scripture and spiritual books; following the Commandments; frequent Confession and reception of Communion.
To aid in the development of a spiritual life, Orthodox books and icons were available for purchase. Men of the parish prepared and served a delicious lunch during which everyone enjoyed time to meet and know those from different parishes. We look forward to coming together again for the second annual retreat in 2009!