On the weekend of February 22–24, 2013, four students from Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary attended the Spring General Assembly of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement (OISM) hosted by Christ the Savior Seminary (Carpatho-Russian Diocese) in Mercer, Pennsylvania. OISM is composed of representatives of Orthodox seminaries in the United States who meet twice a year for inter-jurisdictional fellowship and pastoral education. The delegates from Jordanville this semester were third-year students John Martin and Srdjan Puskar and second-year students Stanislav Matveev and Stefan Stoyanov. John Martin and Srdjan Puskar also serve as this year’s OISM Secretary and Vice-President, respectively.
This semester’s meeting was held at Camp Nazareth, which is owned by the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese. The seminarians stayed in the camp’s staff lounge and attended services at the camp chapel. Services were held in English with the traditional Carpatho-Russian style of chant known as prostopinje, which is related to Russian Znamenny chant. Along with services, there were also group workshops held by Fr. Stephen Loposky, the camp director, which helped prepare the seminarians for future priestly activities. The attendees had to discuss the circumstances of a mock parish council, as well as the possible situations involved in a first home visit by a new priest. There was also a presentation on the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (an Orthodox college society) by Fr. Michael Ellis, the North American Chaplain of OCF.
Another welcome presence was His Grace Bishop Gregory (Tatsis) of Nyssa, the ruling hierarch of ACROD. Bishop Gregory was a constant presence throughout the meeting, and since he was a graduate of Holy Cross Seminary, seemed to feel right at home. “Seminaries can be hellish,” he said in a talk, “but they’re beautiful hells, because they make beautiful priests.” Bishop Gregory talked to seminarians individually and also in a special group question-and-answer session on Saturday night.