Hundreds participate in Pre-Council Vespers, Workshops

Nearly 500 faithful from parishes across North America attended Great Vespers at the Renaissance Orlando Resort here Saturday evening, July 20, in preparation for the 13th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America.

While the Council formally opens on Monday morning, July 22, hierarchs, clergy and lay delegates, observers and guests began arriving early in order to participate in pre-Council events.

Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, celebrated the Vesper service, at which His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and members of the Holy Synod of Bishops worshipped. A choir of 50 voices sang the responses.

On Saturday afternoon, three workshops were held. The first, led by Dr Constance Tarasar, surveyed the OCA’s FOCUS Curriculum, an internet-based program offering over 2000 pages of educational materials, lesson plans, and background materials for use in parish religious education courses. A second workshop focused on liturgical music, celebrating the music of V Rev Sergei Glagolev, while a third workshop explored principles of Christian leadership, under the direction of Ray Boyd.

Following the Vesper service, His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South, in whose diocese the Council is being held, hosted the hierarchs to dinner.

On Sunday morning, July 21, Metropolitan Theodosius and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy at the hotel. A congregation of 1000 faithful from across North America and parishes throughout the region is expected to join the hierarchs for worship.

Formal registration for the Council, which runs through Friday, July 26, will open at the hotel on Sunday afternoon.

For the latest updates on and photos of Council proceedings, log on to the OCA web site at