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Youth Pilgrimage to Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary and New York City!

DAY ONE - APRIL 7, 2010
Travel Day

We had a pretty  uneventful flight, with some of us joining the competition some 35 rounds of Inflight Trivia. Upon arrival to JFK, we boarded our limo minibus and headed to Saint Vladimir's Seminary where were we greeted and welcomed by Fr. David Myzinski, Assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs.  After a late night snack, we were off to our respective dormitories for the night.


DAY TWO - APRIL 8, 2010

At 9:30 a.m. we gathered in the Seminary Refectory for a delicious breakfast prepared by the seminary chef.  We took a brief tour of the campus and met Fr. Steven  Belonik, Dean of Students.  Then it was scenic walk to the Crestwood train station to board the train to Grand Central Station in Manhatten.  As we stood admiring the art and architecture of Grand Central, we were approach by a CW correspondent and camara man, who were excited to meet us and especially to speak to very  own Ivana Tasic about her knowledge of various CW television shows. During the interview, which will air on the CW website and the local KTLA station in Los Angeles, Ivana answered various questions about the shows, as the rest of us stood in awe of the unplanned moment.  The photos tell the story well.  Following the interview, Radovan Dajkovic asked Fr. Nick to do a boot-camp like sprint through Manhatten so that we could get to the historic Saint Sava Cathedral on time.  There we toured the Church facilities and took photos of the interior as well as the unique exteror which included bronze busts of Saint Nikolai, Nikola Tesla, and the well known scientist, Mihailo Pupin. 

After lunch at the  famous Malibu cafe, we took a bumpy and speedy ride on the New York Subway, which took us to Ground Zero and a Ferri ride around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Then we toured Wall Street and the rest of the battery park area sites.

When we returned to Saint Vladimir's, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner, composed this journal entry, and had a great question and answer session on various topics on Orthodox Christian Spirituality.  Then it was off to a good night's rest  to preprare fo the our next marathon trip to the Big Apple.



Following breakfast, Tatiana Penkrat, a staff member at the Seminary, gave us a tour of the Three Hierarch's Chapel at Saint Vladimir's.  She gave a very informative and impressive presentation on the meaning of icons, explaining their symbols and themes.  Then we took the train to New York City for the day's events.  We toured the United Nations, Empire State Building, Madison Square Gardens, and then had lunch at Time's Square.  Time's Square was everything we imagined and more!  After lunch we toured Rockefeller Center where we were pleasantly surprised to see ice skating still going on.  We then visited Saint Patrick's Cathedral and Radio City Music Hall.  We moved on to Central Park, had dinner in a nearby restaurant, and then walked to Lincoln Center where we saw the musical "South Pacific."  This marvellous musical also addressed issues of prejudice and openness to other cultures.  The musical was very entertaining and everyone enjoyed it.  On our way back to the train station, we saw the famous Juliard School of Performing Arts before we boarded our train back to the Seminary in Crestwood for a good night's rest.


DAY FOUR - APRIL 10, 2010

We started our day as usual, with a great breakfast.  Afterwards, we toured the Seminary library which is the largest and best collection, other than the Library of Congress, of Orthodox books in the Western Hemisphere. Then we were on our way to CitiField to see the New York Mets play the Washington D.C. Nationals!  It was perfect weather for a baseball game, cool with clear blue skies. 

We returned to Saint Vladimir's for dinner and Vespers.  Some of us joined the student choir for the service.  After Vespers, Fr. Steven Belonik, Dean of Students met with us and gave us a very thought-provoking talk on vocations and discerning the Will of God.  This discussion was held in the Gerich Board Room in the Rangos Building at Saint Vladimir's.  Fr. Steven also mentioned the former Deans of the Seminary whose photographs grace the hallway leading to the board room named after Brian and Marilyn Gerich from Saint Steven's Cathedral. 

After the presentation, one of Father Nick's friends, Ted Bazil who is on the staff of the seminary and director of its Press and his wife Claudia, invited us to their home near the Seminary for a fun evening of relaxation and fellowship.  Then our chaperone, Radovan Daikovich hosted us to ice cream at the famous Cold Stone Creamery. 


DAY FIVE - APRIL 11, 2010

We began our day with the Divine Liturgy at Saint Vladimir's.  Father Nick celebrated the liturgy with the Seminary Chancellor, and some of us sang with the Seminary student choir.  It was a beautiful and inspiring service.   The sermon was  about the Orthodox Christian experience of the Resurrection of Our Lord being not just a significant historical event, but a way of life that we embrace at baptism.  That way of life, from Sunday to Sunday as we celebrate the Resurrection, was expressed in the words of the Apostle Thomas, who after he experienced the Risen Lord declared: "My Lord and My God!"  That is our goal in life: to personally see the Risen Jesus as our Lord and our God.

Following the liturgy, we attended the coffee hour where we met the Dean of the Seminary, Father Jon Behr, and talked with students.

Then, Father Nick told us that we will be driving to the famous Stew Leonard's.  On the way, we asked Fr. Nick to describe the place and he said that he couldn't, "It's hard to describe in words, as I don't even know where to begin.  It is unbelievable and great.  You have to see it for yourself, and then you will know!"  We were not sure what that meant, but now that we have been there, don't ask us to describe it.  It is such a great place, we too have to now say, "you have to see it for yourself!"  No trip to New York would ever be complete without a visit to Stew Leonard's!  Kim and Stew Leonard were traveling out of the country, but their lovely daughter Madison  spent time with us there.  They were so nice to host a wonderful lunch after our facinating tour!  We remembered Madison from seeing her at Saint Steven's, as her mother Kim is the daughter of Paul and Barbara Kral!  The visit to Stew Leonard's was the icing on the cake of an unforgetable trip to Saint Vladimir's and New York City!

Now, just as a reminder that though everything can go so well and even almost perfect, nonetheless, there will always be moments of disappointment which challenge our patience.  This we encountered after we got to JFK Airport for our flight home.  When we arrived to JFK we were told our flight will be delayed for three hours!  Oh well, it was another opportunity to spend time talking about our fun trip, and of course, to do some homework!

Thank you Saint Steven's and Cathedral RCA for a marvellous opportunity and an incredible and memorable pilgrimage and visit to the East Coast.  We are so grateful!



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