Clergy in attendance for the 2023 Orthodox Archdiocese of America Synod and Conference at Wappinger's Falls, New York, USA.
On October 23, 2020, Archbishop Anthony of New York welcomed both myself and Holy Cross into the Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Because of COVID restrictions it took until the week of October 15th, 2023 to finally formalize our relationship and obtain that much needed foundation of stability in both Doctrine and Discipline. We are not looking back. I am grateful to his Eminence for his Pastoral Leadership and Support as we look forward to the future.
Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center in Wappingers Falls, New York
The Road to Wappinger's Falls
My Faith Journey continues on Sunday, October 15th, when at four in the morning I began my drive from Morley Road, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to Sackville, New Brunswick. After a drive of a little over four hours I met up with our Archpriest, the Very Rev. Christopher LePage, who took over the driving responsibilities. After about eight hours on the road, we arrived somewhere in Massachusetts to rest for the night. The next morning, we were back on the road again to Wappinger's Falls, New York.
On Monday, October 16th, at 2 pm, we finally arrived at the Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center. It is a beautiful facility with an expansive property run by the Roman Catholic Franciscan Friars. It provided us with a perfect place to rest both our bodies and minds for the coming days.
His Eminence Anthony, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of America
Father Christopher and I made our way to the Chapel where we were greeted by our Metropolitan, Archbishop Anthony, and soon to be Father Deacon Theo and Sub-Deacon Cade. We then went on to locate our rooms and then joined with others for Chant Practice. The Synod and Conference was now under way.
Beginning at 6:45 am on Tuesday October 17th, I was Chrismated by his Grace, Bishop Joseph (Boyd), Coadjutor Bishop of the Orthodox Archdiocese of New York and Bishop 0f the Missionary Diocese of Southeast Asia, into the Orthodox Faith. This was followed by my reception of the Minor Orders of Tonsure, Doorkeeper, Exorcist, Lector Acolyte, and Subdeacon by Archbishop Anthony, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of America.
The following day, on Wednesday, October 18th, at the same time, our Metropolitan Ordained Sub-Deacon's John and Theo to the Deaconate, as well as Deacon Michael to the Priesthood and myself to both the Diaconate and the Priesthood. What a truly Joyous Occasion!
The Synod and Conference carried on until Thursday. There was plenty of time for fellowship and simply getting to know each other. Participants came from Canada, the United States, Asia and the United Kingdom.
This was my introduction to Orthodoxy and its Western-Rite expression. The atmosphere at Mt. Alvernia was wonderfully inviting. Such a gentle Orthodoxy. Again, I am most grateful to his Eminence Archbishop Anthony (Bondi) for his Pastoral Leadership and Support on this journey. It was worth the three year wait (Thanks COVID!). Because of my incredible experience at Mt. Alvernia, I look forward to our next Synod and Conference in October of 2024.