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Father Chryssavgis leads eighth annual Archon Lenten Retreat at the Ukrainian Center

His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, seated left, listens to Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis who was the retreat master for the eighth annual Archon Lenten Retreat. (Photos by J. Mindala)
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The Eighth National Archon Lenten Retreat was led by the Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, who works in the Ecumenical Office of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and as theological advisor to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on environmental issues. The theme of the retreat was “An Ancient Faith for a Modern World” and addressed fundamental principles of Orthodox Christian spirituality and in particular of Great Lent – such as fasting, prayer, forgiveness, silence, and love – interpreting these in light of Scripture and the early Desert Fathers and Mothers, but also in relation to contemporary challenges and reality.

Over fifty Archons and their spouses were introduced to the world and thought of the early desert monastics of Egypt, Palestine and Sinai, particularly with reference to The Sayings of the Desert Fathers and The Letters of Saints Barsanuphius and John, whose influence and relevance for our time was highlighted with stories and anecdotes.

Father Chryssavgis addresses the retreat participants at the Ukrainian Center in South Bound Brook, NJ.

Archon Peter Skeadas, Spirituality Committee chairman, organized the retreat. Archons John Halecky, Jr. and James C. Fountas coordinated the event with the Ukrainian Center. In gratitude to Father Chryssavgis lessons, National Commander Anthony J. Limberakis, MD said, "Every year, we are blessed to have a speaker who deepens our understanding of our holy Orthodox Christian faith.  This year at the Ukrainian Center reflective of the ecumenicity of our Holy Mother Church, Father Chryssavgis a renown Orthodox theologian, eloquently and effectively referenced important teachings from the Desert Fathers that we should implement with the ultimate goal of becoming more Christ-like in our daily lives."

The recipients of the 2011 Archon Lenten Retreat.

The three sessions of the retreat began on Friday evening, March 25, with Presanctified Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Antony of Ierapolis and continued on Saturday with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Father Taras Chubenko. Throughout the weekend, participants were blessed with the generous hospitality of the Ukrainian Center at the Consistory (headquarters) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (under the Ecumenical Patriarchate) in New Jersey. His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos attended the lunch and final session of the retreat, addressing participants on proposed projects of the Metropolis.