Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Orthodox Hoyas in the news.

Today's edition of The Hoya has an article on Georgetown students who worship off campus, focusing largely on one Orthodox Christian Hoya's Sunday routine:
It is a crisp Sunday morning in mid-October, and Ivan Plis (SFS '12) is awakened sharply by the sound of his 7 a.m. alarm. He dresses, says his prayers, laces up a comfortable pair of shoes and prepares for his mile-and-a-half walk to St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church [sic: 'Cathedral'] for a morning service.

When he arrives at St. Nicholas, Plis enters through one of the side doors, making the Sign of the Cross while venerating icons along the walls.

"It is like coming into a house and greeting family members," he said.

He proceeds to take his seat in the upper section of the church where he sings tenor for the choir. As he walks in, the congregation mills around him, since the worshiping space lacks traditional pews and possesses few chairs.

For Plis, the walk up Massachusetts Avenue with a few other Orthodox Christian Georgetown students is just part of his weekly routine.

"I made the effort to find other students of Orthodox background as soon as I knew I was going to Georgetown," Plis said.

. . .

From his seat in the choir, [Plis] recognizes the familiar faces of fellow Georgetown students and faculty in the congregation. But for Plis, getting out of his Georgetown comfort zone is the greatest draw to St. Nicholas'.

"Being connected to an off-campus worship space has put me in touch with people I otherwise would not connect with," he said.

After liturgy Plis oftens meets with student parishioners from nearby American University for a weekly breakfast.

He is also working with other Orthodox Christians to increase their presence at Georgetown.

"More recently, some fellow students and I have held talks to see if once a month we can have Divine Liturgy on campus," he said.
To read the rest of the article, click here. Orthodox Hoyas may not have a regular Divine Liturgy on campus (at one time, a weekly Divine Liturgy was apparently offered in Dahlgren Chapel for Greek Catholic students, but that ceased decades ago), but Georgetown's Orthodox Christian Fellowship does gather on Tuesdays in term time for Vespers in Copley Crypt.

The Hoya article notes that a number of Georgetown students and faculty regularly attend services at St. Nicholas Cathedral, which also happens to have been served by a number of clergy with ties to the Hilltop: Georgetown's longtime Orthodox chaplain, Father Constantine White, is also a former dean of the cathedral; another former dean, the late Father Dmitry Grigorieff, also taught Russian at Georgetown; and veteran Georgetown philosophy professor Father Denis Bradley is also an Orthodox priest attached to St. Nicholas. Come to think of it, the Georgetown/St. Nicholas connection goes back a long way - but perhaps that could (or should) be a topic for another article, or at least another post on this blog. AMDG.


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