Friday, March 15, 2013

The Orthodox Youth Movement in Michigan, 1948

From Majallat al-Nour,July/August 1949, pp. 166-167.

The Syrian Orthodox Youth Movement in the United States of America

Those who have had the opportunity to examine the spiritual revival in the Orthodox Church in various parts of the world are stunned by this remarkable spiritual movement. The cause for amazement is that it arose in various countries far apart from each other on a single basis and through youth who had generally achieved university education but who had not previously received any Orthodox instruction to speak of. The spiritual maturity of these youths and their true understanding of the goals that they advocate is shown by the fact that, even though in the beginning they undertook the idea of spiritual revival without direction or encouragement from spiritual leaders, they did not think for a single moment of working independently of distantly from the Church and from those who have been raised up by God to pastor her children.

It pleases us to transmit to readers news of a blessed Orthodox revival among Orthodox youth in the United States of America. This was relayed by the zealous Mr. Ibrahim Sayegh, one of the friends of the Movement in Tripoli, who contacted the Rev. Fr. Archimandrite Elias Khoury, the advisor of the Orthodox Youth Movement in America. He provided us with this pleasing news.

The Syrian Orthodox Youth Movement held its first meeting in Detroit, Michigan on April 20, 1948 and called for Orthodox clubs and associations in the western part of the United States to unite efforts, programs, and work under the supervision of one body. Eight of these organizations heeded the Movement's call and decided on the city of Grand Rapids as the chief center for its administration. It adopted for itself a constitution that included its aims and goals, from which we extract the following:

The goals of this movement are:

1. To develop in its members a spirit of attachment to the teachings, order, and rituals of the Orthodox Church.

2. To raise their spiritual level. In this regard, it advises frequently approaching the mysteries of repentance and the Holy Eucharist, individually and as a group.

3. For the Movement to be obedient to the bishops and priests and to cooperate with other Orthodox organizations in the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.

4. To contribute effectively in preparing and instructing an educated clergy for work in this country.

5. To provide means and arrange organized programs for studying the teachings, dogmas, music, rituals, and arts (1) of the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Orthodox Church.

6. The Syrian Orthodox Youth Movement is especially concerned with choirs for Church singing and Sunday schools and has adopted unified programs for each of its branches for study and work in these domains. It is worth mentioning with pleasure that the common choir that serves the divine liturgy during conferences and other general meetings is made up of eighty voices.

The secretary general of the Orthodox Youth Movement in Beirut has received a fraternal letter from the secretary general of the Syrian Orthodox Youth Movement, expressing their being pleasedto be aquainted with the Movement in the See of Antioch and their hope that fraternal relations will develop and increase familiarity through correspondance, exchanging news and experiences, and working to realize personal connections through trips from one group to the other.

We rejoice at founding of this blessed movement and hope that our brothers working in the American lands to raise the glory of the Church and spread the Christian message will succeed in their righteous works.

(1) Among these arts are: icon-painting, making holy  vessels and clerical garments, and designing and building churches and monasteries. [Footnote original to the article.]


ofgrace said...

Most encouraging! I would love to hear that choir!

Samn! said...

70 years too late...