Saturday, October 31, 2009

something in common

our youth conference report

Sitting in the Crows Nest hall listening to the "youth" of NSW making their final presentations, a thought crossed many minds: "...its a good turn out...but is this all the youth of NSW?"
If not in these words and at that moment, the question was whispered to the person sitting close by at some point during the day.

At the 9th State Youth Conference held on 9th -11th October this year, the youth that did attend were a blessing. Firstly, if there was any more who decided to attend, the lunch hall could not have been any more intimate. But most importantly the youth were a blessing to each other. A month has nearly gone by, but that percentile of youth walked away energised (if that is the right word to capture the feeling of the day). So much so that the request for an annual youth conference was raised!

We have fellow Leichhardt parishioners who attended the day, contributed to this blog entry (see below post) with what they had to say about their experience at the conference.

Did you attend the conference? 
What were your feelings from the day? 
Was it your first time? And would you go again? 
Comment with your thoughts.

To quench our curiosity, youth to youth (by no means will any reports be made), we have set up a poll on the right side bar to ask:

What kept you away? 

Please tell us. It will definately be interesting to see the results next month. Until then...

God Bless.


your say...

contributing bloggers

"I have to admit I wasn't quite sure I really wanted to go to the State Youth Conference, even when it came to be a day before the event.
I had never heard of the CYC 12 months ago and never heard of a conference for youth in the Orthodox Church (only Catholic ones from friends).
It was my curiosity more than anything that got me to Crows Nest that Saturday morning. I had reviewed the schedule, but wanted to know what would come from all this?
Cutting a long story short - I am glad I did go. The talks were good (although I did feel a bit too smart for me), so was the organisation and food (talking definitely makes me very hungry!). But it was the people met or met again, that did it for me. The discussion groups were the highlight, when in my preconceptions they were going to be the complete opposite! It was the contributions made from such a variety of feelings, experiences, understandings, journeys and faces...
 I'm still not sure what the intention and intended outcomes of the conference(s) were supposed to be or what they are not supposed to be...and that frustrates me. But if there is another conference next year (as requested by the youth on the day), I will be there. Maybe simply because of the shared enthusiasm, enjoyment of the day, and even more importantly the good ideas put forth and courageous questions - were uplifting above any frustration."
 ~ Valan

"If I were to single out just one moment of the conference, it would have to be when His Grace said how lovely it was that we 'Just spend time with one another'.  That simple statement reminded me of a love of a father to his children and a shining example of all things good in Christ.  These moments are subtle, and pass by quickly, however if noticed much can be gained from them.
Having listened to so many viewpoints, I came away with a sense of "what can I do to make a difference". To suggest that we didn't need to conclude with any answers, in my opinion, was a soft option. If we constantly seek to glorify God in all that we do, and truly love and have a concern for each other, we can help so many people. We cannot do this fairly with some of the questions not answered, as this clearly illustrates the void that so many are trying to fill. Often it is within the awkward questions that so many of the issues lie, to take ourselves out of our comfort zone for one another, is the building block for change and something that is obviously desperately needed.    
The majority of youth want to be loved and accepted and will go to great lengths to achieve this, and if it means not attending church to 'fit in', they'll do it. Lets add in relaxed forums that the youth can freely ask questions about the Liturgy, relationships, life and any other topic on their minds. Lets take the unknown out of it as much as we possibly can and who knows we may just have some fun along the way!!!    
Through this and most importantly by the Grace of God, they may then begin to see the vital importance of the Liturgy within their lives. I think so much can be done in prevention of things BEFORE they go wrong, rather than painfully picking up shattered lives after the event. 
Conferences are vital, however lets not limit this to lipservice, lets dig through and DO SOMETHING."
 ~ Hellen

Friday, October 23, 2009

no one has seen God at any time

(John 1:18)

Admittedly we waited to post this entry so that Rev. Fr Leslie's sermon on St Gerasimos's scroll could be right at the top while we celebrated his feast day last Monday with Vespers and Tuesday (20/10) with Divine Liturgy, with bishop Seraphim in attendance. Xronia Polla!

In a recent sermon on the 7th Ecumenical Council (Sunday 11/10/09), Fr Leslie spoke about icons and one in particular that has always brought a lot of confusion. Even when explained before, it seems to not sink in...just flying overhead.
Can we depict God Th e Father? The answer has always been no. Yet why is there an icon with a throned Jesus Christ and an elderly man beside him? If it isn't God the Father, then who could it be?

His identity is in fact of the Ancient of The Days (Old Testament - Daniel 7). You might ask: what is the 'Ancient of the Days'?
It is in fact Jesus Christ. The Fathers make it clear in the Vespers service of the meeting of the Lord (February 2nd):

"The Ancient of Days, who in times past gave Moses the Law of Sinai, appears this day as a babe. As Maker of the Law He fulfills the Law, and according to the Law He is brought into the temple and given over to the Elder. Simeon the righteous receives Him, and beholding the fulfillment of the divine ordinance now brought to pass, rejoicing he cries aloud: 'Mine eyes have seen the mystery hidden from the ages, made manifest in these latter days, the Light that disperses the dark folly of the Gentiles without faith and the Glory of the newly-chosen Israel. Therefore let Thy servant depart from the bonds of this flesh to the life filled with wonder that knows neither age nor end, O Thou who grantest the world great mercy."
 "The Ancient of Days, a young child in the flesh, was brought to the temple by His Mother the Virgin, fulfilling the ordinance of His own Law. Receiving Him, Simeon said: 'Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, O Lord."

Other proofs are in the comparisons of Old Testament to New Testament as follows:

Daniel says the Ancient of Days is "coming with the clouds."  
Christ says He is "coming on the clouds with great power and glory." (Mt. 24:30)

Daniel says the Ancient of Days comes to "utterly destroy the dominion of the beast who will wear out the saints and prevail against them."  
Christ says He is "cutting short the days and coming for the sake of the elect or no flesh would be saved." (Mt.24:22)

Daniel says the Ancient of Days presides at the judgment.
Christ says, "the Father hath committed all judgment to the Son." (Jn.5:22)

Daniel says, the "wild beast was slain and given to the fire" by the Ancient of Days.
St. Paul says Christ "will slay the lawless one with the breath of His mouth," (2Thes.2:8) and raise him up and the false prophet, and "cast them alive into the lake of fire to be tormented with Satan day and night forever and ever." (Rev.19:20; 20:l0)

Daniel says, "thousands of thousands ministered to Him [Ancient of Days], and ten thousands of myriads attended upon Him."
St. John says (referring to the worship of the lamb, Christ), "and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands saying, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain..." (Rev.5:ll, 12)

Christ Jesus  is depicted in many forms: Pantokrator, Good Shepherd, High Priest, to name a few. Jesus Christ as the Ancient Of The Days is another one to add to this list.

So why is he depicted like this? Daniel saw him this way. The white hair is a traditional symbol of venerability, showing us he is the Lord - the Alpha and Omega, not aged but ageless (Rev 22.13). Fr Stephen Ritter writes: "Alpha because He is from before the ages and before all time, and Omega because His Second Coming will mean the end of the seventh day, the end of time, and the dawning of the eternal Eighth Day.
You will see the same nimbus (halo) and inscription (IC XC) as you would on any image of Christ. This is because the two are one and the same, and should be designated as such. The Ancient of Days, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was the sole divine person to appear to anyone at anytime in the Old Testament, is also the one who is worshiped forever in heaven."

We hope that this helps everyone who has been a bit confused regarding the depiction of this icon...or maybe this has brought forth a new icon that some have yet to see.