Representatives of the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry and the Orthodox Youth Association of Finland [ONL] met at the Finnish Orthodox Seminary here on June 7, 2017 to discuss plans for future shared projects and events. The meeting was made possible in part by the 2016 agreement signed by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland for greater cooperation and shared work between their Churches.
“Indeed, our Churches share a great past, and our mission is to ensure that we will share even greater future together,” said Deacon Jaso Pössi, ONL Secretary during his meeting with David Lucs, recently appointed Chair of the OCA Youth Department. “We recognize our common goal in leading our youth to Christ. The story of ‘Trans-Atlantic Orthodox youth work’ has only just begun!”
Among the ideas and shared opportunities discussed by Deacon Jaso and Mr. Lucs were print and web-based resources, youth retreats, summer camps, service projects, educational programs, and vocations, as well as venues for sharing ideas and pursuing youth or young adult exchanges.
“Our two Churches have a shared history with the exchange of seminarians and clergy,” said Mr. Lucs. “As the two most prominent Orthodox Churches in the Western world, we also have a common task to deepen our collaboration while nurturing the spiritual growth of our youth, teens, and young adults to be mature and wise Orthodox Christians in society.”
After their meeting, Deacon Jaso and Mr. Lucs met with His Eminence, Archbishop Leo to provide an update of their discussion and the next steps for collaboration.
“Staff from both Churches will be continuing their conversation in the coming weeks and months, identifying potential activities and projects that offer the greatest potential for youth and young adults from both Churches to connect in-person and virtually,” Mr. Lucs added. “Events will be announced on the Churches’ respective web sites—oca.org and www.ort.fi.
The meeting took place while Mr. Lucs was in Finland for the Seventh Biannual International Society for Orthodox Church Music [ISOCM] conference on “Music and Liturgy,” which brought 60 musicians from 17 countries to Finland.