4th Annual Holy Unmercenaries Medical Society Retreat
May 21-23, 2021
Diakonia Retreat Center
His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios, welcomed the Holy Unmercenaries Medical Society (HUMS) to the serene and picturesque Diakonia Retreat Center in Salem, SC May 21-23, 2021 for their Fourth Annual Retreat. The HUMS is a Ministry of the Holy Metropolis of Atlanta and is founded on the four pillars of Worship, Fellowship and Education, Acts of Service, as well as Philanthropy. The HUMS strive to emulate the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in contemporary society by contemplating the lives of the Holy Unmercenary Saints.
Each yearly retreat begins with a Paraklesis offered to one of the Holy Unmercenary Saints (St. Panteleimon this year), where the participants pray for the health of their patients. Thereafter, one of the Holy Unmercenary Saints is presented and their life is contemplated. This year, Fr. Dr. Paul Tsahakis (President, HUMS) presented one of the very first Holy Unmercenary Saints, St. Hermione, and discussed how her method of “healing the whole person” is being applied to the present day care of homeless, pregnant women.
The theme for this year’s retreat was “The Spiritual Formation of the Healer,” and was led by Fr. Dr. Gregory Georgiou. Fr. Dr. Gregory carefully and prayerfully instructed the attendees in this holy theme during three sessions that included sub-themes of “Physician, Heal Yourself,” “Worship as a Healing Ministry,” and “Fellowship with Those Who Suffer.” All agreed that they were greatly edified by these presentations.
One of the highlights of every retreat occurs on Saturday evening when selected attendees speak about how our Lord Jesus Christ “informs” their medical practice. These testimonies are always instructive and inspirational.
While each day during the retreat begins and ends with prayer (Orthros, Vespers) in the breathtakingly beautiful Byzantine Church named in honor of our Panagia, the highlight of the retreat occurs on Sunday with all participating in a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. This year, His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios, helped the registrants understand certain spiritual lessons as he connected the Gospel of the Paralytic with the lives of the Holy Unmercenary Saints.
The HUMS ministry has led to the development of free medical clinics in Charlotte, NC and Aegina, Greece. Plans are also well underway for HUMS Lesvos to open next summer, 2022.