After nearly a week visiting family, I set off to New England for the real aim of my visit -- a Patristics conference at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston. Sponsored by the Pappas Patristic Institute located at the school, the conference funds graduate students to present papers at this annual conference. I was fortunate enough to be one of the participants again (and thus my trip was paid for!).
On Wednesday, April 16, I took a Southwest flight in Providence, RI -- my old stomping grounds. The priest who received me into Orthodoxy while I was a student at Brown, Fr. Isaac Crow, picked me up at the airport and we then went to an OCF meeting at Brown. Pelagia and I helped restart the OCF (the Orthodox college campus ministry) while we were there, so I was very happy to return and see all its progress. The group is still small, but it is alive and well. They now sponsor an annual lecture at Brown University and have hosted two Byzantine music performances.
Anyway, we spent about an hour or an hour and a half with the OCF group. We had a discussion about life in Greece and I showed some photos. It was very nice. (See the top photo.)
After that, Fr. Isaac and I went to my old parish, St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church of Pawtucket, RI, to celebrate the Presanctified Liturgy. It was a real homecoming.
I spent that evening with Fr. Isaac. In the morning, I went back to Brown to visit with my godmother, Dr. Susan Harvey, who teaches there at Brown. I then took the bus up to Boston for the conference at Holy Cross, which started on Thursday evening.
Friday was an incredibly full day, with nearly 12 hours of papers. I delivered mine (which was a comparison of early Christian martyrdom accounts with contemporary Jewish ones) in the afternoon, and a very good discussion followed. (The second photo is of me on the campus at Holy Cross.)
On Saturday morning, Lazarus Saturday, a few of us managed to go over to Holy Resurrection Bulgarian Orthodox Church, where there were two baptisms followed by the Liturgy. I wasn't planning on serving, but the priest, Fr. Patrick, insisted, and loaned me some vestments. It was a great honor.
After the Liturgy, we scurried back to Holy Cross to spend the rest of the day in the conference. On Saturday night, two friends from the OCF at Florida State (who now live in Boston) picked me up from the conference and we went to St. George's Antiochian Church in Norwood for Vespers. It was very sparsely attended, so we chanted with the presvytera. It was lovely to hear everything in English.
Afterwards, we went to dinner and to visit at my friend's apartment. The third photo is of Ashley (in the foreground) and Kailen. Ashley was a student in one of my "Introduction to the New Testament" classes at Florida State. She is now continuing her study of Christianity at Harvard Divinity School!