As written by our youth:

On the weekend of 25th February until 27th February 2022, and under the stewardship of His Eminence, Metropolitan Basilios, 80 of us gathered from the various states to attend ACOY NSW’s annual adult retreat. The theme of ‘The Struggle is Real’ was inspired by our purpose and goal as Orthodox Christians – Theosis (union with God), how it is a dynamic and unique experience for all and while it does not come without struggle, sacrifice and effort, the end result is victorious.

We were privileged to delve deeper into our purpose, the differing stages of Orthodox Spirituality and how to cope with the struggle.

The weekend started with some ice-breakers and the opportunity for the group to get to know each other and consisted of team activities, workshops, services and three very important talks.

After a delicious breakfast, the first talk was delivered by His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios, who we were so blessed and honoured to have joined us for the weekend. The talk was on Theosis, what it means and how it is available to all due to the incarnation of the second person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ. His Eminence touched on how we are all made in His image and we must put in the work and effort during our lifetime to ensure that we achieve His likeness.

The second talk was delivered by Dr Philip Kariatlis, Sub-Dean and Associate Professor of Theology at St Andrew’s Orthodox College, on the stages of Orthodox Spirituality. Dr Philip gave great insight into how our time on Earth is a mix of all 3 stages and involves seeking the will of the One who bred us first, stretching out to Him and in the process, we struggle through being broken and remoulded into His likeness.

The third talk was a very practical session with Deacon Theophan, who provided us with very valuable tools and resources we can use to assist us on our journey to Theosis.

Delicious meals were prepared by the Ladies Auxiliary of St. Michael, Sts. Peter and Paul and Sts. Michael and Gabriel, who we are very grateful for as they sacrificed the energy and time with their families to ensure we were well fed.

Overall, this retreat raised the bar in our spiritual lives. We all left feeling challenged, yet better prepared to face the world empowered with the spiritual knowledge we acquired over the weekend.

Wishing all our Youth a blessed Great Lent!