Once again, five seminarians (Milos Bozic, Milan Dragisic, George Luimes, Dragan Vujicic, Christian Watts) represented Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (HTOS) at the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement (OISM) hosted by St. Tikhon's Seminary during the weekend of May 11-13. Promoting congeniality and fellowship, this event brings together students from all Orthodox jurisdictions to "commune from a single chalice," as fourth-year HTS seminarian George Luimes describes the spirit of his experience.
Three speakers from St. Tikhon's Seminary community, interspersed with services from Friday Vespers through Saturday Vigil to Sunday Divine Liturgy, inspired our seminarians. Dr. David Ford, Professor of Church History, invoked the life of St. Nina, Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia, and the lives of the saints of Alaska to demonstrate the missionary spirit in ancient Georgia and modern America. Fr. Steven Voytovich, St. Tikhon's Dean, expanded on that theme from a pastoral perspective, explaining that evangelization requires Orthodox faithful who are authentic members of the larger community by engaging in works for the common good to present the world with an image that will draw others into the Church. A subsequent tour of St. Tikhon's Monastery museum dedicated to the history of Orthodoxy in America enhanced the seminarians’ grasp of the dual themes of evangelism and humanitarian service.
Hieromonk Herman (Majkrzak) turned the conversation inward, focusing on the spiritual life from the perspective of the convert's experience entering the Church. Allegorizing the Exodus narrative, he compared the miraculous parting of the Red Sea to the initial rush of joy that accompanies baptism into the truth of Christ's Salvation. As the life in Christ continues to progress, however, the believer will experience the desert phase of the spiritual life, marked by boredom and an impatience for results. Since the only cure for that wandering mind is focus, Fr. Herman stressed the need to minimize the distractions that fill the boredom and facilitate an escapist mentality. He identified the idle use of electronic device as a widespread danger. Instead, we should confront the boredom directly and fill the emptiness with a vital prayer life that engages the living God. For his presentation Fr. Herman drew from the teachings of Elder Sophrony (Sakharov).
The fourth-year HTOS seminarians who participated in planning and staging the event, the only undergraduates OISM leadership roles, were Christian Watts as President and George Luimes as Treasurer. They now bestow their mantles of leadership upon Milan Dragisic, a third-year HTOS seminarian who will serve as OISM Treasurer. He is already planning a fundraising event for next year's OISM gathering.