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International Youth Conference 2007 Day 2

DAILY COMMENTARY FOR THURSDAY JULY 12, 2007
By Danielle Fecso.

I have to admit that I was nervous and fearful of this trip, travelling to a country that is more than 5,000 miles from my home which embraces a significantly different culture. I must say, however, that I do feel safe in Istanbul and the Turkish peple have been incredibly hospitable (not to mention eager to sell us carpets during our trip today to the historical Grand Bazaar!) The conference has been a wonderful experience thus far, as we have met our Orthodox brothers and sisters from all our the world ( our " blood relatives" in the Blood of Christ) and are making many new friends.

We are also privileged to be in the presence of His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and discuss issues that are facing our church with some of the greatest theologians of this generation.

As I reflect on the second day of our journey, I am reminded of the words of St. John Chrysostom - "...those who chant are filled with the Holy Spirit." Our evening ended tonight at an outdoor restaurant on a quiet street, where we gathered around a long table. In honor of Fr. Peter's namesday, which was observed today, we sang, Mnohaja Lita (God Grant You Many Years) in one of the most moving renditions I have ever heard. We continued to sing every Church Hymn that we could think of in Slavonic (which we used, rather than English in sensitivity to the local people ) in beautiful harmony, under the starlit sky in the "Queen of Cities", Constantinople. As I sang, I thought of the words of our Lord, that are recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew (18:20) - "For where two or three are gathered together in my Name, I am there in the midst of them." God was with us tonight in our fellowship on a sidewalk in Constantinople, as He is and always shall be!
Fr. Jonathan and daughter Marisa enjoyed a cup of tea at a sidewalk cafe.
Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima was the first presenter of the day who spoke on the topic, "The Youth and the Mirror of the Orthodox Witness Today"
A lecture titled "The Orthodox Education of the Youth in Western Europe" was presented by the Very Rev. Archimandrite Professor Dr., Job Getcha of St Sergius Institute in Paris, France
The Rev. Professor, Dr. Ioan Sauca, of the Ecumenical Institute of Switzerland, presented an inspiring talk titled, "The formation of the Orthodox Missionary Ethos in the Church.
His Eminence, Archbishop Ireneos of Crete, spoke on the topic, "The Participation of the Youth in the Pastoral, Philanthropic and Social Work of the Church.
A view of the conference participants
The afternoon was spent at the famed Grand Bazaar, where numerous shops offered for sale all types of housewares, jewelry, clothing and other items.
To facilitate the full participation of all the conference participants, headsets were offered with simulcast broadcasting of translations in French, English and Greek.
The youth choir of Crete sang at the conclusion of Dinner.