The All-Diaspora Youth Conference (ADYC) was held in Chicago, Illinois from July 31 through August 8, 1999. On July 31st, conference attendees came to the hotel for registration and acquainted themselves with each other and the surrounding area. Although officially called a "Youth Conference," people of all ages from throughout the world attended. His Eminence Archbishop Laurus of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery, His Eminence Archbishop Alypy of Chicago and Detroit, and His Grace Bishop Michael of Toronto were all in attendance, as were many other clergy. The Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God along with Miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Icon of St. Nicholas were brought to the ADYC to bestow an extra blessing on all present.
Following Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August 1st, a molieben was served and the conference officially convened. Each day of the Conference began with Divine Liturgy at 7:45 am followed by breakfast and lectures. This year's topic was "Orthodox Opposition in the Age of the New World Order." Excellent lectures were given in Russian and English. When a lecture was in Russian, it was immediately translated into the English language via headsets, and vice versa, allowing all participants to completely comprehend every lecture. Interesting and open discussions followed; hierarchs and clergy were happy to share this time with us.
After lunch, sporting events took place at nearby Lake Opeka followed by free time for all the attendees. Each evening, dinner was served at the hotel promptly at 5:30 p.m., followed by various activities at the cathedral grounds. On Monday evening, a lecture by Hieromonk Joachim from Mercy House was given. Akathists to the Mother of God and to St. Nicholas were served on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings respectively. Also on Wednesday, His Eminence Archbishop Alypy gave a tour of the Cathedral dedicated to the Protection of the Mother of God, explaining the frescoes in the Cathedral. On Thursday the attendees went to the Chicago Science and Industry Museum and on a cruise on Lake Michigan. Friday evening featured a talent show in the hall of the Cathedral with the band "Zabava" providing musical entertainment for a portion of the night, followed by American music.
Saturday there was a small soccer tournament, which was unfortunately won by the Canadian team. At three o'clock the Rules for Holy Communion were read. After vigil there was a Bar-B-Q in the parish yard.
Following Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, a thanksgiving molieben was served. A banquet followed. His Eminence Archbishop Laurus and His Eminence Archbishop Alypy spoke to all present, bestowing their archpastoral blessings and inspiring the youth with memorable words. Soon thereafter, most attendees prepared to depart.
Overall the conference was incredible. It was educational and spiritually uplifting, and it established life-long friendships. Even though many conference attendees, including myself, did not speak Russian, they were accommodated with the aforementioned headsets, allowing all to take part.
God willing the next All-Diaspora Youth Conference will be held in Sydney,
Australia. I encourage all to plan on attending the next conference. Thanks to His
Eminence Archbishop Alypy, Father Andrei Sommer and the rest of the clergy and
parishioners of the Protection of the Mother of God Cathedral, this past conference was
truly a spiritually edifying experience, and it will be our hearts forever. Glory to God!