This past weekend, a group of us went to St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary, near New York City, for a meeting of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement, or OISM. For those of you who do not know about “St. Vlad's,” it is considered the flagship seminary of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). It has a reputation for excellent academics, among other things. OISM was formed by seminarians from different Orthodox jurisdictions, who, while sharing the same Orthodox faith, are connected to different Orthodox hierarchies due to an unfortunate historical development. The idea is that by getting together and becoming united in fellowship we can overcome various issues which separate us. There is also beer involved, in moderate amounts.
We set out from Jordanville in the middle of a snowstorm. Thankfully, the storm was very much localized, and the atmosphere cleared about an hour out of the monastery; the snowstorm only added half-an-hour to our ETA. On the way, I watched “Batman Begins” with one of my classmates. We got there, ate a hearty dinner, and settled down a bit. I was very happy to see some people I haven't seen in a while, including Abbot Gerasim, formerly of St. Herman's Monastery in Platina, who is studying at SVS.
I managed to get my own room for the night, and discovered to my delight that there was a wifi connection in the dormitory. The room itself was also quite comfortable.
That night, several of us took a short trip to Manhattan, where it was quite cold and windy, and I, hatless and hapless, strode toward Times Square rubbing my ears. Times Square itself reminded me of the time when I was in Shibuya, the ultra-hip section of Tokyo. Giant telescreens, some of which captured us on video, towered over us. Although I am prone to being distracted by shiny objects, Times Square did not take hold over me, and we soon went back to the train station.
The next day, we had liturgy in the chapel, and then a brunch featuring ham (meat!) and potatoes. Then, we had a tour of the monastery. Fr. Killian, our tour-guide, showed us around:
Fr. Killian: And there we have rooms for the single female students, an area we affectionately call the Feminary.
After the tour, we got to get french pastries from the ritzy bakery in the neighborhood, before attending a lecture by one of the professors at the seminary. Next we had an official OISM meeting (done [more-or-less] according to Robert) and chose new officials, which included one of my classmates. Then we Jordanvillians went home, due to the fact that it was a Saturday night and the Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia was at the monastery.
The next OISM meeting will be in the Fall at Jordanville. I am looking forward to meeting all those great OISM people here!