Lecture, Homily, and Retreat: Dean Ministers in Greater Chicago

Sunday, March 12–14, 2011 • Off-campus Events

During his recent visit to the Greater Chicago area, oTriumph of Orthodoxy Sunday, St. George Antiochian Church, Cicero, IllinoisTriumph of Orthodoxy Sunday, St. George Antiochian Church, Cicero, Illinoisur Dean, Archpriest John Behr, focused on theological controversies, old and new. He consistently challenged his varied audiences to find personal identity, communal unity, and spiritual growth in and through Christ alone, drawing on themes associated with the Church's Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, which highlighted the weekend.

On Saturday, March 12, Fr. John offered a public presentation on the meaning of icons at St. Joseph Church, Wheaton, Illinois, where Fr. John Matusiak is rector. The followiFr. John Behr lectures to the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater ChicagoFr. John Behr lectures to the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicagong morning, he preached at the Divine  Liturgy and afterward met informally with area college students and young adults.

On Sunday evening, he was the guest homilist for the "Triumph of Orthodoxy" Vespers, held at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cicero, Illinois, where Fr. Nicholas Dahdal is rector. The evening was hosted by the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Great Chicago (OCCA). In his homily, Fr. John spoke about the  ecclesial disunity among Orthodox Christians in North America and challenged the congregation to be "in a very concrete and material way—one."

"Only if we realize that our identity does not lie in whatever identities we create in this world or have foisted upon us by the circumstances of our birth, education, and society, but rather that our identity lies hidden with Christ in God, then, and only then, can we actually begin to find and manifest our unity together, here and now, as the one body of Christ," he stated. "This, it is clear, is our challenge today, our own 'Christological controversy'—how to be his body in an organized manner, as every body must be—and it is as every bit as momentous as the controversies of old. To accomplish this requires that we accompany Christ to his Passion,that we—just like the prophets in their suffering, and like the martyrs in theirs—become images, icons, of Christ. This and nothing else is our task: that we conform ourselves to Christ." (Read Fr. John's complete homily here.)

On Monday, March 14, Fr. John concluded his visit by acting as retreat master for the OCCA's annual clergy retreat at New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery, Third Lake, Illinois. He spoke on three topics: “Through the Cross,” “For This We Were Created,” and “Glorify God in Your Body.”