Orthodox Christian young adults from the New York City area gathered at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church here September 28, 2003 to celebrate of the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of SYNDESMOS, the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth.
Organized by a planning committee representing the Orthodox Church in America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, and students from St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY, the celebration also attracted students of St. Tikhon and St. Vladimir seminaries and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and representatives of each jurisdiction’s youth movements, all of which are members of SYNDESMOS. His Grace, Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, Secretary of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas and former SYNDESMOS president, was also present, together with many clergy.
The celebration provided an opportunity for people to learn about the history and current activities and the mission of SYNDESMOS in the world and particularly the US. The regional representative for the American Region, Mr. Pantelis Kostoulas, offered a PowerPoint presentation on the fellowship’s history. Bishop Dimitrios spoke on his experiences in the 1970s and 1980s as the first North American to represent and accept SYNDESMOS membership on behalf of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. He also encouraged discussion regarding the future of SYNDESMOS in North America, emphasizing its tremendous potential for enhancing cooperation and fellowship among Orthodox Christian young adults in North America and throughout the world.
The evening concluded with the celebration of Compline, celebrated by the Rev. James Moskovites, host pastor. A festive meal followed.
SYNDESMOS, the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth, was founded in 1953 in Paris, France by a group of young Orthodox theologians who sought to strengthen the witness and unity of the Orthodox Church. Among SYNDESMOS’ founders were the late Protopresbyters Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff and His Beatitude, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania. SYNDESMOS works with the blessing and support of the heads of all Orthodox Churches to encourage deeper reflection, renewal and witness of Orthodox Christianity.
In its 50 years of service, SYNDESMOS has grown into an internationally recognised fellowship of 126 youth movements and theological schools in 42 countries.