San Diego, CA - The fourth and final day of the Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Officiating at the liturgy was His Grace Bishop Maxim with the concelebration of diocesan clergy along with visiting clergy from the Eastern, Midwestern and Canadian dioceses.
Promptly after breakfast the seventh session, entitled "Becoming like the Saints" and moderated by Fr. Nicholas Ceko. Fr. Maximos continued reading and commenting on The Ambiguum. Copies of the text were handed out for the Institute participants could follow the reading. The morning session ended with discussion.
Lunch and an hour break followed. The afternoon session began promptly with session VIII: God Incarnate of the Virtues, moderated by Deacon Marko Bojovic. In his opening remarks in his Tuesday morning talk, Fr. Maximos introduced everyone to the texts and very complex writing style of St. Maximos the Confessor. And throughout the course of the three full days of sessions of the Instittute Fr. Maximos consistently read and commented on various selections from the writings of St. Maximos the Confessor. He expertly and insightfully commented on the holy father's writings, citing and comparing writings and sayings from other patristic fathers. Fr. Maximos' impressive command of the writings of St. Maximos the Confessor was demonstrated on numerous occasions when, during the discussion and in responce to a given question, he would quickly find the answer in the corresponding page and paragraph in the Ambiguum.
Vespers, on the eve of St. Simeon the Myrrh-flowing, was served at the end of the afternoon sessions. Dinner was served in the tented area followed by a cheese reception and Tvrdos wine tasting. Afterwards, Fr. Maximos delivered his final talk in the main hall, his keynote address, "St. Maximos the Confessor: Guide to Orthodoxy". The title of his talk, he noted, he took from the Apolytikion of St. Maximos. Among other things, he spoke in great detail on the life of St. Maximos. Furthermore, from his life Fr. Maximos took the many sufferings of the Holy Confessor to reflect on.
At the conclusion of the keynote address Bishop Maxim called upon Fr. Dobrivoje Milunovic, president of the Clergy Brotherhood of North and South America. On behalf of the brotherhood Fr. Dobrivoje expressed his both his gratitude and great joy at being able to take part in this year's Institute and to listen to such and excellent and gifted speaker. In his closing remarks, Bishop Maxim echoed the sentiments of Fr. Dobrivoje noting that in the talks we heard over the past few days we listened to a speaker knowledgable in a wide range of subjects as references were made to medicine, science, archeology, philology, philosophy, the arts, iconography, technology, etc.
The Institute concluded with the presentation of certificates.