2016 Symposium on St John of San Francisco
The Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute hosted its fifth symposium in San Francisco on the theme The Living Legacy of St. John the Wonderworker of San Francisco. The special conference took place from 30th June-1st July 2016, in conjunction with the special services and events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the repose of St. John.
The Institute’s annual symposium for northern California took a special form in 2016, when it focused on the Life and Legacy of St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, forming a part of the activities hosted by the Western American Diocese in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the saint’s repose, kept this year. This event replaced the Institute’s normal February Symposium for the current year, and as the 50th anniversary celebrations for St. John attracted pilgrims from all over the world who sought to be present at this once-in-a-lifetime commemoration, the symposium was a large and very special event.
St. John Symposium Program
The symposium on St. John took place in in San Francisco, interweaving Divine Services at the New Cathedral of the Holy Virgin (where St. John’s incorrupt relics rest) and talks, roundtables and other activities at the St. George Pathfinders Scouts Hall, just across the street from the Cathedral. The two-day conference began following the Akathist before the relics of St. John on Thursday evening, and continued for the whole of Friday, up until the Vigil of the Feast.
Thursday, 30th June 2016:
- 6:00 p.m. – Akathist before the relics of St. John, in Holy Virgin Cathedral
- 7:30 p.m. – MAIN TALK #1: Opening Lecture of the Symposium, by His Grace Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America, who knew St. John in his youth
Friday, 1st July 2016:
- 8:00 a.m. – Divine Liturgy in Holy Virgin Cathedral
- 9:15 a.m. – Coffee and light breakfast service for symposium participants
- 9.45 a.m. – Welcome and introductory remarks
- 10.00 a.m. – MAIN TALK #2: Matushka Maria Patopova – Who knew St. John personally for many years, and spoke in moving terms of his life and ministry in Europe, as well as experiences in America.
- 11.00 a.m. – COMMUNICATION: Archpriest Serge Kotar – Who, together with his matushka, founded a school dedicated to St. John’s memory in the year of his glorification by the Church (1994), and spoke of the many miracles encountered in that context that bear witness to the saint’s ongoing presence and activity.
- 11.30 a.m. – Question and answer session
- 12.00 p.m. – Lunch
- 1.00 p.m. – MAIN TALK #3: Mr Vladimir Krassovsky – Iconographer and choir director, who spent considerable time with St. John in his childhood, including serving in the Holy Altar, travelling, sitting school examinations before the saint, and many other personal encounters.
- 2.00 p.m. – COMMUNICATION: Archpriest Victor Potapov – Who spoke of correspondence by St. John, in his possession, showing the attempt by the saint to establish his orphanage in Washington, D.C. – a step in the move from Shanghai to California that is little known.
- 2.30 p.m. – MAIN TALK #4: Mr Sergei Kalfov – Vladyka John passed away in Sergei’s father’s arms. Sergei recounted the events of that Saturday to Sunday, from being an altar boy at Vladyka’s last liturgy to the casket containing his remains being loaded in a hearse the next morning, taking him to the airport. Additionally, Sergei spoke about his personal memories of Vladyka and his more recent visit to St. John’s birthplace.
- 3.30 p.m. – Roundtable Discussion – Including participation from all the speakers as well as Mr Peter and Mrs Lydia Ionin, who were brought up in St. John’s orphanage in Shanghai and travelled with him via the Philippines to San Francisco; who knew him both during those years and cared for him in the latter years of his life.
- 4.30 p.m. – Conclusion of symposium talks.
- 6:00 p.m. – Vigil of the Feast, in Holy Virgin Cathedral.
Available throughout the day, for perusing between talks, was a display of materials and items from St John’s life assembled from the archives of the Western American Diocese and elsewhere, displaying rarely-seen materials such as personal items belonging to St. John, correspondence between him and his family, letters about the administration of the Diocese, etc.
Saturday, 2nd July 2016 — Feastday of St. John of San Francisco:
- 9:00 a.m. – Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the 50th Anniversary of St. John’s Repose, concelebrated by Metropolitan Hilarion of New York and Eastern America, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, together with members of the Holy Synod of Bishops and concelebrating clergy.
The following details were provided to participants during the registration process. The symposia is now concluded; however, we continue to provide these materials for those who are examining the Institute’s web site with an eye towards attending a future conference or symposium, as an indicator of the type of assistance generally provided by the Institute.
- Language – The principal language of all events at the symposium was English; however, simultaneous translation into Russian was provided for those who requested it.
- Travel, and Arrival Details (including Public Transport), and Parking Guidance – Instructions are here provided on arriving by car, or by public transporation, including maps; as well as guidance on parking.
- Accommodation Options – While accommodation is not provided as part of your registration, we provide information on this page that may assist you in making your own arrangements at one of the many hotels and B&Bs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please do be aware that not only is the 50th anniversary of the repose of St. John a major event for which it is expected that many, many prilgrims will be present, but it is also the beginning of 4th of July weekend: both are reasons to book accommodation early!
- Cost – Given that this symposium is taking place in conjunction with the liturgical celebration of the 50th anniversary of the saint’s repose, it is being subsidised so as to make it accessible to all who wish to attend:
- Advance Registration: $35 – For registrations received and processed on-line prior to the week of the symposium. Advance registration assures you of a seated place at the talks, as well as lunch on Friday.
- At the Door (Walk-In): $35*- The price is the same at the door; *however, we cannot assure walk-ins of a seated place (standing may be required), and we will be forced to cap attendance once the legal occupancy of the hall is met; similarly, walk-in registrations will not include lunch on Friday (though all will be welcome to coffee and tea).
Never been to one of the Institute’s symposia before? Take a moment to learn about these events and gain a ‘taste’ for what is offered: read photo reports on our 2015 symposium on ‘The Desert, a City: Living the Christian Life in the Midst of the World’; our 2014 symposia on ‘Martyrdom: Past, Present and Future’ in San Francisco and Riverside; our 2013 symposia on ‘Prayer in the Church Fathers’ with Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) in San Francisco and Riverside; and our 2012 symposium on ‘Living Symbol: The Inner Meaning of the Divine Liturgy’ in San Francisco.
Open to all: Participation in this symposium is open to everyone, of every background. All participants are warmly invited to attend the Divine Services connected to the 50th anniversary of the repose of St. John, which will take place at the New Cathedral. Participation in the sacramental rites of the Orthodox Church is open to communicant Orthodox Christians, as per normal canonical customs.
Please note that all payments to the Institute consitute an agreement to our Payments & Refunds Policy.