STUTTGART: 5 July 2024
The 14th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference concludes

“Having not a drop of Russian blood in my body, I am inexpressibly happy to be a part of the Russian Orthodox Church,” said His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe at the opening of the 14th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference held in Germany from June 25-July 1, 2024.

For seven days, lectures, presentations, pilgrimages, divine services and classes brought together Orthodox Christian youth from all over the globe. St Nicholas Church in the city of Stuttgart and Holy New Martyrs and Confessors Church in Munich hosted the gathering.
At its conclusion, the youth organized a farewell bonfire, and after a moleben service, thanking the organizers for the wonderfully organized events, the participants, who had gained experience in youth work in parishes and making many friends, departed.
Sone organizers and participants in the event shared their impressions:

His Grace Bishop Job of Stuttgart:

For more than 10 years I taught the Law of God in Munich and I always liked working with teenagers. At the same time, I see that many of our teachers are afraid to talk to young people about complex topics of interest to them. When I was still studying at university, I resolved difficult questions for myself and now I can answer young people's queries.

When I became a bishop, I was immediately assigned to lead youth work in our diocese, and since then I have been involved in almost all conferences and youth events.

There is, for example, the winter youth conference in Munich, which used to include lectures and now is divided into a youth retreat, which is held in the foothills of the Alps, and also a series of lectures for everyone. Youth camps, the annual All-German Youth Conference, and charity balls are also held in the diocese.

This is the first time I am taking part in an All-Diaspora Youth Conference. This congress is truly unique and special. The All-Diaspora Conference has not been held for 10 years due to the pandemic, and in Germany, for the first time in 30 years.

In my opinion we, as the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, though scattered throughout the world, still observe the same customs and adhere to the same spirit. And all this is due to the fact that we regularly meet, communicate, and pray together. This congress performs the same function.

This time, young people from all over the diaspora saw how we live, that church life in Germany is the same as in the rest of the diaspora. This spiritually builds up the Church Abroad and, at the same time, reveals our uniqueness more than other events.

The topic of preserving one's identity is very important. To some extent, it is always present at all youth events, emphasizing the need to preserve our culture. At the conference, we deeply examine this topic from different points of view: what is the diaspora, identity, what gives the preservation of identity to both young people and people of the older generation.

In my opinion, identity manifests itself more in actions than in theory and words. So at the conference we tried to show how we live, how we imagine ourselves in life. It's not easy, but the organizers and speakers managed to show it.

Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department, Dean of the Cathedral of the Mother of God “of the Sign” in New York, Archpriest Andrei Sommer:

We began to collaborate with the Youth Committee of the German Diocese back in Paris at the 12th All-Diaspora Youth Conference in 2011. At that time, I specially invited young people from Germany to take part in the All-Diaspora Conference. Since then, we have been developing personal contacts with the leadership of the Diocesan Youth Committee and the youth of Germany. And returning home from Paris, they began to actively develop activities in their parishes.

n 2014, German youth came to the 13th All-Diaspora Conference in San Francisco, where we further improved methods of working with youth through master classes, which we now use at most of our conferences. These workshops set special tasks for young people and give them an impetus so that when they return to their parishes, they can continue to develop the ideas developed at these conferences in various directions.

We have been seeing the fruits of this work since 2011; it is important to further expand this work both in Germany and in America, Australia and other countries.

Priest Andrew Morgan came to this conference from Australia; he is trying to develop spiritual centers for young people and, as a base for such centers, a library of information that can be used both for instruction and for the development of youth programs and youth centers in various parishes of the country.

Secretary of the Mid-American Diocese, rector of St. Vladimir's Church in Mt. Ann Arbor, MI, Archpriest Gregory Joyce:

The last All-Diaspora Youth Conference was a unique event. I have never been to or heard of any youth conference like this. How is it special? Firstly, the schedule of the event was full, which, I think, is good. And secondly, the idea of contests and competitions is very exciting for young people, and this is important. Because if young people are not busy, they can easily leave the church.

And it is very important to attract them to parishes with the necessary deeds. When you work with teenagers, they are still minors, and there is a relationship between a child and an adult. And those who gathered and prepared the conference are adults, and it is especially important to involve them in the life of the church if we do not want them to stray and do things that are unbecoming of adults.

It was a truly wonderful convention, and it is absolutely unique.

Archpriest Ilya Limberger, head of the Youth Work Center of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, rector of St Nicholas Church in Stuttgart:

The uniqueness of the 14th All-Diaspora Youth Conference lies, first of all, in the fact that it is an international conference attended by young people from many countries of the world – such a huge space unites the Russian Church Abroad. And the fact that children from these countries find not only a common language, but also a common spiritual unity is amazing!

The conference was able to achieve such success thanks to the team of organizers under the leadership of Fr Andrei Sommer and the team of organizers from Germany, who are people from different cities having experience in hosting All-German and Pan-European conferences.

On the other hand, the international nature of the congress presented certain challenges, when they took on the responsibility. Fortunately, during the conference, everything went without a hitch. Everything went smoothly, with a lot of enthusiasm and love.

I attribute this to the intercession of St John of Shanghai, who was really present in our work from the very beginning. Realizing that this in some sense exceeds our earthly capabilities, we asked him for help.


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