Metropolitan Jonah will be conducting a Pre-Lenten Retreat at Holy Cross parish in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday and Sunday, February 10th and 11th. The public is invited to attend.
Metropolitan Jonah is perhaps the best known Orthodox bishop in America. A former Anglican, he entered the Orthodox Church in college under the influence of Fr. Seraphim (Rose), another convert who may one day be canonized a Saint.
He entered the monastic life at the famous Valaam Monastery in Russia, and later became the abbot of the St. John of San Francisco Monastery in Northern California. Consecrated a bishop in 2008, he was soon elected primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and served in that capacity from 2008 to 2012, eventually transferring back to the Russian Orthodox Church where he now serves as a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).
Metropolitan Jonah was a main speaker at the Inaugural Synod of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in 2009, and addressed its Provincial Synod again in 2012. In 2013, he spoke at a Conference of the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen (FCC), the group that organized the great St. Louis Church Congress in 1977.
I have had the privilege of personally knowing his Eminence since 2014, when I was invited to serve Vespers, Matins and the Eucharistic Liturgy with him on the Feast of St. Benedict of Nursia at St. Benedict’s Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The theme of the Pre-Lenten Retreat is The Pillars of Orthodox Spirituality.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
Everyone! Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Protestants, seekers of God, and those who are not sure if there even is a God — everyone will benefit from this Retreat.
The Orthodox Church is the oldest Church in the world, dating back some 2,000 years to the Holy City of Jerusalem. As the oldest Church in the world, Orthodox spirituality is ancient, and antedates the later Reformation/Counter-Reformation debates, and other controversies that have divided Western Christians over the past millennium.
The Pillars of Orthodox Spirituality will take Christians of all traditions back to the spirituality of the “undivided” Church of the first millennium of Christianity where they will encounter the living Christ. The Retreat will introduce participants to a new (to most in the West) approach to Christianity that is both ancient and Eastern. The Orthodox Church is often called the Eastern Orthodox Church because Christianity originated in the East, in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, — not in Rome, Wittenberg, Geneva, Canterbury or the United States. Most Westerners tend to forget that.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
The Pre-Lenten Retreat begins at 9:15 AM on Saturday, February 10th with Matins (Morning Prayer), followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with lunch in our parish hall after the Liturgy.
The Conferences on the theme of The Pillars of Orthodox Spirituality will be held from 12:30 to 4:30 PM, with Vespers at 5:00 PM, followed by a Reception for Metropolitan Jonah.
The Retreat continues on Sunday, February 11th, with the formal Reception of a Bishop and Matins at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, and a catered luncheon in our parish hall immediately after the Liturgy.
In addition to the Conferences on Saturday, Metropolitan Jonah will be the homilist or preacher at both Eucharistic Liturgies and will be the luncheon speaker on Sunday.
WHO IS COMING?
While this is a parish Pre-Lenten Retreat, the public is welcome and everyone is invited to attend and participate. So far, we are expecting clergy and laity from seven States and from as far away as New York. There is no cost for the Retreat or the meals, but Free Will Offerings will be taken.
WHAT IS TO BE GAINED?
First and foremost an encounter with Jesus Christ in the the Divine Office and the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, and an inspiring introduction to ancient Christian spirituality that will help us all to have a holy and spiritually profitable Lent.
Additionally, for those who are interested in learning more about Western Rite Orthodoxy, there will be the opportunity to immerse yourself for two days in the liturgical, spiritual and parish life of a Western Rite Orthodox parish.
Over the course of two days we will sing Matins twice, Vespers once, and celebrate the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist — commonly called the Divine Liturgy or Holy Mass — twice.
There will be ample opportunities for discussions with both Metropolitan Jonah and with the clergy of Holy Cross Orthodox Church. In addition, we will have Fr. Samuel Seamans with us. Fr. Samuel is a former traditional Anglican bishop who is now an Orthodox priest and the pastor of a Western Rite Orthodox parish in Arkansas. He will also be available to talk about his journey to Orthodoxy.
Please feel free to share this blog post with others. Everyone is invited to attend and will be most welcome.
The favor of a response is requested so we can better plan for meals, but is not required. Questions about the Retreat or directions are also welcome. You can call the church office at (402) 573-6558 or email me at email@example.com.
I hope that you can join us next week for the Retreat. We are a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish, and we have a place for you. See you there!
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127