Orthodox Metropolis of Korea – Syndesmos Young Adult Retreat
From Friday through Sunday, March 4-6, 2016, over 30 members of the Orthodox young adult group, Syndesmos, gathered at the St. Boris Church and Retreat Center in Chuncheon. The weekend focused the theme, “Finding and Sharing the Treasure: Orthodox Christian Life & Witness in Korean Society,” and included worship, presentations, and small group discussions, as well as various games, meals, and fellowship time. His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrosios gave the opening address Friday night, which centered on “acquiring a pure heart” (cf. John 1:47) and set the tone for the weekend. His Eminence also presided at the “Saturday of Souls” Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning, and prepared lunch for all of the participants before having to return to Seoul. Leading the presentations and discussion groups on Saturday were Fr. Antonios Lim (Priest at St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Seoul) and Dr. Perry Hamalis (Visiting Fulbright Scholar and Professor at Yonsei University). Fr. Jeremiah Cho, Samounim Anastasia, Samounim Theodoti, Sr. Athanasia Kontos, Erik Lionberger, Vasilia Seo, and Panayota Hamalis also contributed valuably by organizing the event, preparing food, and leading activities.
The discussion groups were very lively on Saturday, including deep conversation about the meaning of John 1:35-51 as it relates to “finding the Messiah”, reflecting on Jesus’ question “What do you seek,” developing a pure heart through the study of scripture & spiritual readings, and sharing the faith with others as a teacher, family member, neighbor, and friend. The participants, who included young adults from Korea, Greece, Egypt, Romania, Canada, Scotland, and the United States, also discussed the challenges of “hell Joseon,” and shared ideas on how to respond to this cultural challenge in a way that is consistent with one’s identity as an Orthodox Christian.
The Syndesmos group meets each Sunday at St. Nicholas after the community meal, and occasionally at other Korean parishes; it is open to Korean and International young adults who are Orthodox or interested in learning more about the Orthodox Church.