On the 24th of September 2022, the youth of St George’s Cathedral in Victoria held a spiritual day retreat at the beautiful Monastery of St. Prohor Pcinjski in Donnybrook! The aim of the day was to explore the lives of Saints who were ‘Loyal, Brave and True’ as well as learn how to emulate their courage and zeal for Christ in our modern context.
We began the day with morning prayers, and a prayer dedicated to the Theotokos; the fervent chanting of our youth created such a beautiful atmosphere, and proved to be the perfect start to the day!
To introduce the theme of the day, a talk was delivered by one of our very own youth members, James Hanna. We first looked at the life of a much-beloved Antiochian saint, Saint Thekla, whose feast we celebrate that day, and then discovered the inspiring life of St. Prohor Pcinjski, the patron of this blessed monastery.
We were then blessed to hear the wise words of Kh. Matilda Mattar, who discussed the lives of St. Paisios, St. Nektarios of Aegina and St. Luke the Surgeon. She eloquently related their spiritual experience to ways in which we can be brave, loyal and true individuals, or as she put it… making our BLT sandwich!
After morning tea, we were graced with an activity run by Fr. Dn. Ignatius Hanna. We were separated into groups and asked to investigate the lives of St. John of Damascus, St. Thekla, St. Silouan and St. John Chrysostom. Our youth then presented their findings, drawing on moments of each Saint’s life that meant something to them.
We then had a beautiful lunch in the picnic area, where we were shown many animals and the natural mineral spring! Our lunch in the fresh air was concluded with a vigorous game of dodgeball! Before our departure, we were generously gifted prayer books by the Abbott and youth of Saint Prohor’s Monastery who had joined us for the day!
Overall, the aim of our youth retreat this year was to encourage our youth to be courageous in their love for Christ. This was only made possible through the help of our wise speakers, the welcoming volunteers at the Monastery, the assistance of Rev. Fr. Jack Lutfi and the enthusiastic participation of our wonderful youth!