“How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133), a fitting quote for this year’s ROYA winter camp which took place from December 26th, 2019 to January 1st, 2020 at the Protection of the Mother of God Monastery in Allegan, MI.
This year’s camp focused its festivities and prayers around the important theme of brotherhood, which was present in abundance throughout the week. Each year we are blessed to have more interested camp goers than the previous year, each sharing the bond that they hold as Romanian Orthodox Youth in America.
This bond was strong enough that attendees came from all parts of America and Canada, some flying and others driving in order to be part of the brotherhood.
A crucial aspect of the ROYA camps and events is the focus on the spiritual well-being of the attendees, which were enriched by four Liturgies, as well as various morning and evening prayers that were completed throughout the week.
A beautiful highlight of these services was the Vigil and Liturgy celebrated Monday night into Tuesday morning, where the heavenly chanting and heartfelt prayers made the long and late hours go by impossibly fast.
His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae blessed us with a wonderful recollection of his recent visit to Alaska where he visited holy places such as Holy Resurrection Cathedral where Saint Herman of Alaska’s relics are kept.
The spirit of brotherhood could be found as far north as Alaska, with the Alaskan natives carrying on their traditions and beliefs by educating the upcoming Alaskan generations and those around them.
We were also blessed with the presence of Father Vasile Tudora, who held conferences and discussion panels relating to relevant topics that Orthodox youth face in today’s society. One such important topic was marriage and the role that we, as Orthodox Christians, have in preserving our bond with Christ in our relationships.
This bond is constantly being put into question as the youth must sift the superficial feelings of love, to find love that unites man and woman through Christ, and ultimately leads to salvation.
Photo courtesy of The Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas