STUTTGART: 27 June 2024
The 14th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference opens in Stuttgart, Germany

On Tuesday, June 25, 2024, the 14th All-Diaspora Youth Conference began its work in the suburbs of Stuttgart, Michelsberg, Germany. Attending are 130 young men and women from different continents: a third of the participants are from the host country - Germany, a large delegation from the USA, from Australia as well as young people from Canada, Austria, Hawaii-- a total of 11 countries.

The conference is traditionally attended by bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia: this time the conference was attended by His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe and His Grace Bishop Job of Stuttgart, as well as clergy from Germany, the USA, Canada, and Australia.

Before the conference, Archpriest Gregory Joyce, Secretary of the Diocese of Mid-America performed a prayer service accompanied by the singing of the combined youth choir of the participa

Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department, then addressed those present with a welcoming speech.

"Your Graces, Dear Participants in the 14th All-Diaspora Youth Confer

We have gathered here in the Alps, near Stuttgart, to continue 50-year tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and to hold the 14th All-Diaspora Youth Conference. This conference has brought together young people from all over the world – we have a total of 130 participants from 11 countries today – for prayerful fellowship, instruction and acquaintance.

The first All-Diaspora Conference was held in Canada in 1973. At that time, more than 200 people from 10 countries took part in it. At the opening of the conference, Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) addressed the youth with the words: "It is better to have a bird in your hands than a crane in the sky. Therefore, do not deal with many problems at the congress. Create an organ capable of working and giving directions for further fruitful activity and practically helping your brethren spiritually to live on earth as Orthodox Christians."

The theme of our conference, "Preserving Orthodox Identity and Heritage Abroad," opens up an opportunity for us to consider the question: "Who am I? And how can I keep my faith in today's worl

We have gathered all of you from different countries in 10 groups with the task of inventing and presenting programs, helping young people to realize the important role of Orthodox identity in the spiritual life of people and the life of the Church.

Each group will have to plan a youth project, which can theoretically be used as a model for work in the parish.

Your projects will be recorded on our youth Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxvRCe1kY5TRxMVasEW-zfg so that all dioceses and parishes have access to the source - the library of data of the youth missionary database.

Each of you has numerous special talents. Let us recall the Gospel parable of the talents, known to all of us, how one master gave his servants talents and left them for a while, and upon his return called the servants to him and demanded from them an account of how they used the talents entrusted to them and menacingly took away the talents from the one who simply buried his talent and did not multiply it, what the Lord gave him.

All of us who have gathered here at the All-Diaspora Youth Conference have a responsibility to multiply the talents that God has given us. We are here to help each other multiply our talents as well. I am happy to tell you that this week you will meet peers from distant Australia, different European countries, from Canada, from different states of America, including the Hawaiian Islands."

Fr Andrei noted that those present had the opportunity to participate in this prestigious gathering, in the conference in which their parents had once participated, and officially declared the 14th All-Diaspora Youth Conference open.

Bishop Irenei then addressed the participants with a welcoming speech, reflecting in his conversation with the youth on the meaning of life outside their historical homeland in the modern world, on the preservation of their identity and cultural heritage.

The participants met young people from Germany, thanks to whom the conference will actively continue its work in the coming days.


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