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Retrospect: The Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith

Carole Buleza, Director of the Department of Christian Education for the Antiochian Archdiocese, reflected on the Orthodox Institute 2013 in the December, 2013 edition of The Word magazine.

Beloved in Christ,

I write these words just after the 2013 Orthodox Institute at Antiochian Village. The fellowship and book-signings were a chance to get to know and speak with some of the prominent people in the Orthodox Church. The presentations were truly educational and inspirational. An eight-panel display of "Art and Symbols of the Catacombs" shed light on the images that were most important to the early Christians. All together it was a memorable and valuable weekend.

Almost a hundred people participated in The Orthodox Institute at Antiochian Village, October 31 – November 3, 2013. The theme was "Blessed is the Kingdom: Acts 2:42 and Today," and the goal was to answer the question, "Can we revive the spirit of giving for which the early church was known?"

Courses ranged from learning about the early Church, and practical and insightful courses for improving parish life today, to parish involvement in Orthodox service programs.

If you wish to host a "mini-OI" with any of the courses from this event, and with the Catacombs Exhibit, please contact Myra Kovalak. Knowing the prominence of our speakers and the importance of our topic, we invited Bobby and Paige Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio to attend and record several sessions. The recorded sessions are: "The Spirit of Giving in the Early Church" (Met. Savas), "Understanding Orthodoxy in America Today" (Krindatch), "Women in the Church" (FitzGerald), "The Early Church" (Yazge), "Living the Mystery" (Freeman), "Challenges and Opportunities for the Ancient Faith Today" (Allen), "How to Love One Another" (Shadid), "Vibrant Parishes" (Kormos) and "Developing Ministries and Koinonia Groups" (Anderson). These, along with their transcripts (and many more photos) can be found on the Christian Education section of the Archdiocese Website, or on Ancient Faith Radio.

In his keynote address, “The Spirit of Giving in the Early Church,” His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh could have delivered an exposition of the love and great charity works of the early Christians. Instead, he offered a broader understanding on the topic of wealth and poverty. He used four sources to show a range of perspectives on giving during those years. Kevin Allen’s “Challenges and Opportunities for the Ancient Faith Today” used the research of Alexei Krindatch to analyze the position of the Orthodox Church among other Christian denominations and in North American culture.

“Amazing” is the word that showed up on many evaluations of the conference. Those who presented and those who participated seemed to have hearts for Christ and a vision of the Holy Spirit active in the Church.