On April 9th, 2016, St George Serbian Orthodox Church hosted their first annual Lenten workshop sponsored by the Circle of Serbian Sisters. This year’s workshop facilitator was parish priest Fr Aleksa Pavichevich who spoke on the theme “Quiet: Listening to God in a Noisy World.”
The day began with unseasonably cold weather and snowy, winter conditions. Starting late in the evening, and continuing well into the afternoon, snow fell, winds howled and the temperatures dipped into the 20s. Despite the adverse conditions, however, 20 participants from a variety of local churches braved the weather to attend the event for fellowship and spiritual edification.
The workshop focused on calming the distracting thoughts that pull our attention away from God in personal and corporate prayer. Father Aleksa began by parsing out the difference between internal and external distractions before shifting the conversation to the monastic movement of 3rd and 4th century. As the conversation continued, workshop participants learned more about St Gregory Palamas in the 13th and 14th centuries.
During the presentation, Father Aleksa continually brought the discussion into the context of our modern, American Orthodox experience. He interjected various sayings of the desert fathers and mothers in conjunction with practical work and discussion for all in attendance. The workshop concluded with Fr Aleksa offering practical tips for ‘praying from the heart’ in silence. Participants were able to get some hands-on practice before enjoying a lunch together. All in attendance enjoyed the workshop immensley, finding it to be of great spiritual benefit in this Lenten season.