45th Annual D.C. March for Life

19 January 2017 • Washington, D.C.
By Seminarian Fr. John Valadez

Every year, St Ambrose Society, a pro-life student interest group at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, makes a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., in order to raise awareness for the protection of the unborn at the March for Life. This year, St. Vladimir’s contingent included more than a dozen representatives, including seminary President Archpriest Chad Hatfield. Many seminarians from St. Tikhon’s Seminary and Orthodox Christians from around the United States—as far away as Seattle, WA—joined together and marched alongside the group from St. Vladimir’s.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America OCA), gave the opening prayer before the March, calling all to remember the preciousness of life and the devastation wrought through the evil of self-love. He ended his message with an inspiring quote from St. Isaac of Syria, which encouraged selfless-love toward all, so that human beings, through their actions, would “be self-sacrificial love for all, and…conquer death.”

Following the opening prayer, the Orthodox faithful gathered together to sing a Molieben for the unborn, led by His Beatitude, who was accompanied by His Eminence Melchisedek, archbishop of Pittsburgh and the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania (OCA), and His Eminence Michael, archbishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey (OCA). Many fellow marchers stopped to participate in the prayers while our Orthodox group chanted and sang together and raised up icons and banners, as His Beatitude led us, and tens of thousands of other marchers, up to Capitol Hill.

At the conclusion of the March, members of our St. Ambrose Society met with seminarians from St. Tikhon’s and experienced the warm hospitality provided by Archpriest Valery Shemchuk and the faithful of St. Nicholas Cathedral. During that fellowship, Hieromonk Herman Majkrzak, a founder of the St. Ambrose Society and now a lecturer at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, spoke not only of the great sorrow that marks the March for Life—a movement in response to the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision—but also of the joy the March brings as it bonds Christians together in a love for life and in the care for the innocent in the womb.

In keeping with its pro-life commitment, St. Ambrose Society is planning to carry out donation drives for local women’s shelters and pregnancy crisis centers; to participate in upcoming 40 Days for Life local vigils; and to find ways to educate upcoming pastors on post-abortion counseling.