The main goals of the new organization to integrate Russian youth abroad through the strengthening of national identity.


13 June, 2022

All North American Youth Conference

Building a church from the inside out. Parish youth internship as a life choice.   About how the preparations are going and where the conference will be held as revealed by the deputy chairman, Archpriest Andrei Sommer of the Synodal Youth Department, ROCOR. - The conference will be held June 13-19, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. It will be attended by young people from the 4 North American dioceses of the Russian Church Abroad: Western American, Eastern American, Midwest American, and Canadian. Most of the events of the conference will be held in a beautiful location - in the mountains at a ski lodge near the state capital, Salt Lake City, where participants will live, work and interact. The city of Salt Lake City itself is located in the Western United States in a very picturesque area off the Southeast coast of the Great Salt Lake, after which it got its name. Rocky cliffs and powerful mountain ranges give way to desert plains, offering a striking contrast of green space and desert. The city became attractive to visit after the 2002 Olympic Games, and many new entertainment centers and sports facilities were opened in Salt Lake City. From an industrial town, it turned into a major tourist center. The host parish will be the St. George Russian Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City.     What is the main theme and agenda of this conference? - The theme of the conference is “How to build a church from the inside out”. During the COVID pandemic, many of our parishes were impacted and temporarily closed. Many of the youth were deeply affected by the isolation and we are now faced with the need to live and work in new conditions. We will strive to attract young people to the parish life, to teach them how to work for the good of the parish, and to make this work their choice and purpose in life. It is important that young people can fully participate in the parish life community, contribute to the life of the parish with their knowledge and talents, and help the rector and the parish council. Examples include: singing and reading on kliros, serving in the altar, organizing a Sunday school or pilgrimage trips, helping with bookkeeping, being involved in various social services, and maintaining media platforms. During the conference, participants will take part in lectures and presentations. They will partake in workshops using break out rooms and engage in master classes led by clergy and bishops.  Of course, they will pray together during church services and be offered informal cultural trips and events. The conference participants will be divided into groups to develop plans and programs for youth participation in parish life and assistance to parish priests. At the conclusion of the conference, these newly developed programs will be presented to all participants. These programs will be published and made available on YouTube so that youth in other dioceses can view and use them in their parishes. The conference will take place with the blessing of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR and with the sponsorship of The Prince Vladimir Youth Association.     How many people will take part in the conference and what is the age of the youth? - The number of participants will be no more than 100 people. Young adults over the age of 18 will take part in the conference. This is exactly the age when young people are entering adulthood, and they need to understand how important it is to make the Church and its parish an integral part of their lives.  The goal is for them to develop a sense of responsibility and contribute their time and effort to the preservation and growth of a parish. When I am asked about how to effectively conduct missionary work, I always emphasize how important it is to teach young people that through their example they can attract other people to the church, including their peers. Parish life is very important for young people. All the work in the parish cannot lie with the priest alone.   - What are the features of this conference? - Unlike conferences such as the All-Diaspora conference this one will be held in English. Another feature is that, unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we cannot invite participants from other countries outside of North America.   Father Andrei, you have just returned from a business trip to Salt Lake City. How are preparations for the conference going? - The St. George Russian Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City has already created a local youth committee, which is attended mainly by young people from the Western American Diocese. Diocesan youth committees will also be established in other participating dioceses, which will hold virtual preparatory meetings with each other. During my trip, the details of the conference were discussed. Thus, at the conference, there will be a youth podcast established that will later share the work of the conference and will give participants the opportunity to personally share their thoughts on the conference topic. Also, a virtual zoom component to the conference will also be arranged as a live working connection between the participants and the youth who could not attend. All participants will be required to comply with the state's COVID-19 rules and restrictions.   Registration for the conference will begin on January 31st at   Interview by Tatiana Veselkina    
22 December, 2020

Video zoom conference “Hybrid youth conferences the new norm”? and “Grant writing fundraising practices”

On December 22, 2020 PVYA participated in coordinating a video zoom conference focusing on future youth programs. Representatives from Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Latvia, Germany, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Poland, France, Canada, Argentina, Italy, Austria, USA and Russia focused on topics such as “Hybrid youth conferences the new norm”? and “Grant writing fundraising practices”. All 32 participants of the video conference agreed to continue pursuing these topics with hopes of combining efforts to bring youth together as soon as a safe environment will allow it.
11 April, 2020

“School piggy bank” 2020 Irkutsk region, Siberia.

Donations will be collected from March 7 – April 11

In the framework of the initiated program “School Piggy Bank”, The Prince Vladimir Youth Association, is organizing financial assistance to  orphans in need. In the past four years we have been able to provide help to children in orphanages in: Banchena, Ukraine, Tikvin, Russia, St. Elizabeth orphanage in Minsk and the “Samaritan” children’s hospice in Pinsk, Belorussia. This year we are looking forward to helping orphans with social and psychological ailments in the remote area of Siberia, Irkutsk region.  Most of the children there never had a home and have serious complex diagnoses. For more information you can read the presentation (in Russian): siberia-kids-youthpv-2020.pdf Donations will be collected from March 7 – April 11, 2020 and can be made directly on our web site:
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In the framework of the initiated program “School Piggy Bank” - children helping children,  V.Rev. Andrei Sommer, President of The Prince Vladimir Youth Association, visited a social Rehabilitation Center for Children in Irkutsk to give them funds raised by youth in different parish schools of North America. 

Over the last five years, over $45,000 was delivered to various orphanages providing help to children with special needs in: Banchen, Tikhvin, Minsk, Pinsk and Irkutsk.

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We are trying to do everything we can during our given current situation. As some people are slowly returning to pre-COVID conditions we are all facing challenges of a “new norm”. Recently I met up with the President of the Synodal Youth department of R.O.C.O.R. Metropolitan Hilarion and the Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Bishop Nicholas to discuss and brainstorm ideas for youth ministry programs during this pandemic and post pandemic age. Many of our annual programs have been postponed or cancelled. Even our annual Thanksgiving food drive that is extremely needed during these hard times this year had been cancelled because of staffing restrictions. Every year during December a winter st.Herman’s conference is organized in different parts of the U.S. but this year it is under question and restrictions. Youth from different parts of America and Canada gather during their winter break to discuss moral and spiritual issues but this year large gatherings are prohibited. There are ongoing plans to arrange virtual satellite gatherings. Most students unfortunately have been studying via Zoom since last spring and are experiencing a form of virtual burnout. Success in youth programs and conferences are attributed to the important value of personal contact and interaction. An option is being worked out to gather small groups of youth in many different locations and including a virtual element using multiple platforms. Our Prince Vladimir Youth Association board of directors met via Zoom recently to discuss current and future youth programs. We are still going forward with our intentions to host an All-Diaspora youth conference for a scheduled date of 2022. We expect to proceed with our volunteer orphanage program in Siberia previously scheduled but now postponed to spring 2021. In the meantime, during this ban on international travel will be focusing on a “grass roots” approach of small town hall meetings in different parts of the U.S. with hopes of opening up P.V.Y.A. affiliate branches. V.Rev. Andrei Sommer Board Chairman Prince Vladimir Youth Association
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Its tough to fit all of my positive and memorable experiences from this trip on one page. This trip definitely gave me a new perspective on how other parts of the world perceive the faith. We escorted bringing the relics of St Elizabeth with us and we were treated like family as if  we have known fellow Belorussian Christians for many years. One of my favorite parts was definitely getting to spend time with people in the orthodox community from America that helped strengthen my faith and also helped expand my relationships within the Orthodox community. I did a lot of things for the first time such as directly venerating relics, trying Belorussian food, seeing a new church get consecrated, getting interviewed, presenting in front of seminarians, and a ton of other things.  One of the most memorable experiences was visiting the orphanages, it definitely gave me a new perspective on life and how blessed we are to live like we do in America. It was a blessing to see where the money that was our Russian Orthodox parishes raised went to and how happy it made the orphans. It was amazing to see how our parish can impact communities around the world. When we saw the kids’ expressions of how happy they felt with the animals in the petting zoo and playground we had helped sponsor for them it just brought me to tears. It gave me motivation to appreciate the things I often take for granted. This trip helped me grow in my faith most importantly and I will never forget the experience from it.
From visiting many exquisite churches and monasteries to driving through the countryside our trip to Belarus was an experience I will never forget.  .  Meeting the youth from Belarus was a great way to get to know more about the country.  Being taught what the norms are in Belarus and seeing how different it is to the United States.  Also being able to connect with the youth by singing Russian folk songs all together was very heartwarming. My favorite church we visited was the All Saints Church located in Minsk.  Not only was it the most impressive as it seemed to take my breath away as soon as I stepped inside.  Every space of the church was covered in miraculous icons, paintings, mosaics, or colorful stones.  My own saint, Saint Olga of Kiev icon was among the many saints as well as my favorite Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco. Polotsk was my favorite town we visited in Belarus.  The friendly small city environment as well as the beautiful Saint Euphrosyne Monastery were amazing memories.  Seeing Saint Euphrosyne relics as well as the chains she secretly wore under her garments were very inspirational. We got to visit two orphanages throughout our trip.  As it might have been hard to see some of the children's conditions it was relieving to know that they are being taken care of by such kind and gentle people.  We got to spend some time playing with the children in their brand new petting zoo, which was raised from last years “school piggy bank” donations.  Being able to see and pet the different kinds of animals brought a huge smile to each of children living at the orphanage.. I got to travel with some people that I had already knew  before the trip as well  getting to meet new people. Sharing new experiences with new and old friends in a foreign country was a special event for me. This trip has made me appreciate everything that I have and thankful to my family for preserving my Russian culture and our religion.  It has motivated me to be able to pass this down to my future children and hopefully that line will never end.  I hope that trips like this will continue in order to help others and create connections with other Orthodox youth.
“Sorry, but where is Belarus?” the polite, but marked confusion on my coworker’s face was not an uncommon occurrence as I relayed my summer travel plans. Like many people in America, Belarus is often lumped in with Russia or the former Soviet Union. Therefore, not many know that it even exists, or perhaps how it differs from Russia. Admittedly, the roots of Russians and Belarussians are the same and they share more similarities than differences. However, my perception that we were going to arrive in little Russia was not completely accurate—instead, what I came to learn was the Belarus has a unique, Slavic and orthodox spirit. As our bus rolled through the green hills and birch trees during our trip, we would often reflect that this is a small, but mighty country. We saw a milder temperament than the Russian spirit, but we also saw the same resilience. We learned from our guide that Minsk had been rebuilt eighteen times, yet as you walked the streets, you felt the pull of history. Although it had been destroyed, it had been rebuilt with the same prestige and dignity. Soviet ideals, western agenda and Russian values pulled from all sides. In a conversation with a relative of mine from Belarus, discussing the difficulties of living in a country with a struggling economy like theirs, he said, “They always tell us that there’s something difficult ahead and we will soon fall apart again… yet somehow we are all still here, standing, working and praising God.” This is the Belarussian spirit- fervent, resilient and rooted in an Orthodox history. Within a few minutes of arriving into Minsk, we were taken to the monastery dedicated to my saint, St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess. The monastery was infused with her feminine and sophisticated spirit. It was clean, detailed and constantly radiated her warmth. The nuns took such great care in honoring her, I even noticed the lily, her favorite flower, planted near the pond. Not everyone is able to personally connect to their saints’ story, but after reading her life, I knew why my parents had specifically chosen her for me. Just as St. Elizabeth did, I want to dedicate myself to helping others with creativity and excellence, to live in the world, but not be of the world, to stay constant when faced with fame, fortune, or disaster, to develop a wide range of talents and be fully present in a Christian life. As we traveled to orphanages, I saw people dedicating themselves to helping others with this same fervor. Working with limited resources, often without being compensated, we witnessed people give their lives to take care of bedridden children, that were often not even their own. We were reminded of the ferocity of World War II as we walked through the museum and read about Belarussian casualties. However, we were again reminded of their resilience as they rebuilt and lived on. Many of us began to feel reconnected to our roots, to our faith and to something larger than our limited experiences. With the conclusion of the trip, we understood how we must personally bring this spirit of strength shown by Belarus and St. Elizabeth back to our parishes and expand this sentiment outwards into our local communities.
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About us
Keeping with the traditions established in youth work starting in the 1950's this youth association dedicated to the memory of Prince Vladimir will create opportunities for those interested in helping their local communities.
The Youth Association of Prince Vladimir is working with the department on work with youth at the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
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