On Saturday the 14th of November, Antiochian Christian Orthodox Youth (ACOY) of NSW held its annual day retreat in honour of their patron saint, St John Chrysostom at the Antiochian Youth Centre in Punchbowl. The theme of the retreat was “The Wound and the Cure”.

The day began with morning prayers led by Fr Nabil, before moving into a series of ice-breakers to get the attendees familiar with one another. His Eminence, Metropolitan Basilios joined the youth for morning tea, where ACOY prepared a special cake to mark the 3rd anniversary of his consecration to the office of the episcopacy.

The day continued with a workshop where the attendees were split into groups assigned to discuss various passages pertaining to the theme focusing on physical, emotional or spiritual illnesses (wounds). We were blessed to have His Eminence guiding and assisting the groups in their endeavour.

Our guest speaker for the day was Fr Veselin from Holy Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church in Homebush. Fr Veselin spoke about sin and the illness of the human person by comparing it to the well-known story of St Mary of Egypt.

He also spoke about the spiritual delusion and he referred to Elder Zosima, who thought he was sinless, which is the greatest sin.

A very important message as we start the Nativity Lenten period is to humble ourselves and to know that we need to repent constantly until we attain righteousness which is a lifetime task.

ACOY would like to thank His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios, for taking the time away from his busy schedule to be a part of this important day. It is always so uplifting for all those in attendance. Also, we thank  Fr Nabil for his boundless guidance and support to ACOY, and Fr Veselin for his discerning talk which left a significant imprint on the hearts and minds of all in attendance.

Through the prayers of St John Chrysostom and all the Saints, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ have mercy on us and save us. Amen