Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

– Ephesians 6:10-13

In a world where many distractions and temptations are constantly surrounding us, St. Paul’s call to put on the “Armour of Faith” was the theme of the ACOY NSW 2023 Young Adult Retreat. High school students from across parishes in NSW gathered at the Antiochian Village in Goulburn for a weekend of education, fellowship, spiritual nourishment, and retreat from the world.

The weekend was blessed with the presence of His Eminence, Metropolitan Basilios who gave the keynote address. In his lecture, His Eminence focused on the “armour of God” as a defensive and offensive tool against the powers of darkness. His Eminence made reference to the iconography of many soldier saints such as St. George, St. Demetrios and St. Mercurius, explaining that their armour was not just for physical battle, but also for spiritual battle. The second talk was given by Fr. Theophan Nahas, who spoke on the “Girdle of Truth”. Fr. Theophan emphasised that for Orthodox Christians, truth is not a matter of “what” but “who”, with the answer being the person of Jesus Christ. We are immensely grateful to His Eminence and Fr. Theophan for taking the time to join us and enlighten us with their wisdom.

Aside from these two talks, the weekend was filled with other activities including prayer rope making, an amazing race and a competition where groups had to produce a creative piece for a particular solider Saint.

We thank God for this year’s Young Adults Retreat and we are proud of the growth of so many of our archdiocese’s future leaders.