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Dept. of College Ministry News

Registration Opens for OCF Real Break College Ministry Trips

Each year hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for oftentimes, empty experiences.  Since 2001, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has offered their annual Real Break trips as spring break alternatives, providing life-transforming and spiritually uplifting opportunities to do "something real" during this time.  Since its inception, over one thousand college students have had the opportunity to spend their time away from school helping others and growing in their Orthodox Christian faith.

Registration and information is available on Real Break's web page.

Registration is Open for OCF Winter College Conferences

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conferences 2015 will be held from December 28-31st at both the Antiochian Village in PA, and St. Nicholas Ranch in CA. The Keynote Speakers are Rev. Fr. Apostolos Hill (West) and Sr. Vassa Larin (East). Registration is now open for the conferences. In 2015, $100.00 scholarships are being offered to those students in need.

College Conference
College Conference East 2015
College Conference West 2015
Scholarship Application

OCF Leadership Conference: September 11 & 12

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is inviting all of its spiritual advisors and OCF Chapter Presidents and Vice-Presidents serving campuses throughout New York and New Jersey, to a free-of-charge OCF Leadership Conference Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th, 2015.

The goals of this meeting are:

  • To offer support to local OCF Spiritual Advisors and Student Leaders
  • To Plan inter-chapter events for the upcoming calendar year
  • To promote unity and strengthening of relations amongst our college students
  • To strategically plant OCF chapters at college campuses

The schedule will be as follows:

Friday, Sept. 11th

3:00pm clergy arrive. Icebreakers (clergy only)
4:00-5:30pm clergy only session "Clergy Concerns"
5:30-6:30 dinner (Clergy and Students)
6:30 – 8:00pm round table

Assembly of Bishops to Host September Youth Gathering in Conjunction with Chicago Meeting

His Grace Bishop Thomas, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland & the Mid-Atlantic, writes:

A Youth Gathering will take place on Tuesday September 15, 2015, during the Assembly of Bishops Meeting in Chicago. Please pass the word – All young people are invited.

When: Tuesday evening, September 15, 2015
Where: Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral - 5701 North Redwood Drive - Chicago, IL 60631
Who:  High school and college students from the Greater Chicago area with the bishops of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox bishops of the United States
What:  A dialogue between our Orthodox youth and the bishops of the Assembly

As of now I believe there will be:

1. A service – led by the Assembly of Bishops
2. Perhaps a discussion with the youth prior to the service to gather questions and prepare them for the event and help them to get to know each other
3. A Question and Answer period with a panel of bishops and the high school and college students
4. Food to follow

Please get this news out, and bring your young people to this event.

New Report Looks at Orthodox Christian Fellowship's Collegiate Ministry

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America released a new study report today. The report focuses on Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official collegiate campus ministry program of the Assembly.

"The study was completed via surveying the students participating in 130 OCF chapters nationwide," notes the study's author, Assembly Research Coordinator Alexei D. Krindatch. "It offers solid insight into the lives of the Orthodox students on the campuses of US colleges and universities."

OCF plays a critical role in the lives of young Orthodox adults who study at US colleges and universities. Strong OCF chapters can provide a vital connection for youth to the Orthodox Church and stem the tide of students who leave the Orthodox Faith while in college. Key questions were asked: What types of challenges do OCF chapters face? What are their needs? What does it take to be a successful and vibrant OCF chapter? The report answers these and other questions from the viewpoints of active student OCF leaders.

Read the full report here.
Access summaries and links to all of the Assembly's research reports here.

Department of College Ministry Alert: Sign up Collegians for OCF's First Forty Days Program

Father Anthony Yazge, Chair of the Department of College Ministry, reminds all parents, Sunday School teachers, youth workers, parish priests, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) alumni about OCF's First Forty Days program.

Christina Andresen, OCF's manager of Chapter Relations, writes: "It is imperative that we personally contact every first-year Orthodox college student so that they know that an Orthodox family awaits them on campus. This initiative, called the First Forty Days, has our local OCF student leaders, spiritual advisors, and lay coordinators introducing themselves to all incoming students, making sure that they know about Orthodoxy on campus and nearby Orthodox parishes.

We are asking that each parish provide us with basic information about their high school graduates who will be attending college in the fall.

OCF's Day of Prayer Begins on the Eve of Great Lent

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, has announced that its annual observance of a Day of Prayer will be held from February 22-23, 2015, from 6 p.m. on the Sunday of Forgiveness, to 6 p.m. on Clean Monday.

The Day of Prayer program unites the various chapters across North America in unceasing prayer at the start of Great Lent. Chapters on college and university campuses sign up for a time, with each school taking a one-hour slot to pray for themselves, their chapters, their fellow students, and loved ones. 

"We invite anyone to submit prayer requests for family members and friends," notes the OCF's website. "Your submissions will be forwarded to each chapter participating in the Day of Prayer to be included in their prayers."

View the resources for the Day of Prayer


OCF Spring Retreat in Maryland + March 7, 2015

Prepare your hearts and minds during this Lenten Season, and join us for a retreat led by His Grace Bishop Thomas of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic.

Sacred Monastery of St. Nektarios
8704 Hampton Valley Road
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Hosted by the Orthodox Christian Fellowship of the University of Maryland at College Park

This one-day retreat is offered free of charge to all OCF members and other interested college students. However, free-will offerings to cover food and other costs are greatly appreciated from any other attendees.

Please register by Tuesday, March 3, 2015 using the following link:

For more information, please contact

Registration Opens: February 2015 College Lenten Retreat

Come enjoy a weekend of spiritual retreat and fellowship with other Orthodox Christian college students. We will have discussions, daily services, and conclude the weekend by celebrating Sunday of Orthodoxy together! Registration is now open!

  • Please register online at
  • Cost is $95, including all meals, lodging, and activities, to be held at the Camp (bring own bed linens/sleeping bag, pillow, towels, and toiletries)
  • If you have questions, please e-mail Chris Shadid at or call the camp office at 724-238-9565, ext. 505 
  • Download the flyer

Registration Opens for College Conferences and Real Break Program

Brookline, MA (Orthodox Christian Fellowship)

Each year during Christmas break, Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) College Conferences host hundreds of college students from across North America for four days of fellowship, prayer, and presentations offered by dynamic Orthodox speakers. This year's conferences, held at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania and St. Nicholas Ranch in California, will take place from December 27-30, 2014. The theme is "but you are a chosen generation" (I Peter 2:9). For information about scholarships and registration, visit the OCF's website page for the Conferences.

Registration is also open for Real Break 2015, the OCF ministry alternative to the typical collegian's spring break experience. Built on a foundation of fellowship, education, worship, and service, Real Break provides students the opportunity to travel to another state or country to participate in ministry, while also cultivating relationships with like-minded peers.

Appeal to Connect Orthodox College Students to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF)

A letter from His Grace Bishop Gregory of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, liaison from the Assembly of Bishops of the U.S.A. to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), concerning the Church's joint ministry to our Orthodox college students:

Dear Reverend Fathers:

As many of you know, the loss of our Christian youth is a staggering problem today in our country. Statistics show us that more than 80% of our young people are graduating high school, going to college and never returnlng to their faith group. l do not mean their parish or community, but their faith. In other words, more than 6 out of 10 Orthodox young adults will abandon Orthodoxy. This is a huge challenge for all of us.

As the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) works on behalf of all Orthodox to connect students to Christ and His Church during college. Through its campus-based chapters, regional events and programs such as College Conference and Real Break, OCF engages Orthodox college students across the continent in fellowship, education, worship, and service.

A Tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Thrice-Blessed Memory

Metropolitan Philip with Archdiocese youthMetropolitan Philip with Archdiocese youthBy Jennifer Nahas, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Executive Director

Orthodox Christian Fellowship — its Board of Directors, staff, and thousands of college students past and present — honors the passing of one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our generation. A theologian, scholar, and administrator, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip has left an imprint on thousands of Orthodox youth in North America. OCF is eternally grateful for his unwavering commitment to young people and his unceasing efforts for Orthodox unity.

While born in Lebanon and educated at Balamand University, Metropolitan Philip attended seminary and public university in the United States. In Detroit, he earned his degree at Wayne State University and became known for living his Orthodox vocation by engaging in many humanitarian, spiritual, and cultural efforts. Being a college student must have had an enormous impact on him, as he keenly understood the benefits of harnessing the collective talents of the Orthodox youth.

OCF Day of Prayer is March 2-3

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced a Day of Prayer for college students across the United States as they begin the 2014 Lenten journey at the beginning of March. OCF Day of Prayer is a program that unites the various chapters across North America in prayer. Each year, on the first day of Great Lent (Clean Monday), participating OCF chapters take part in 24 hours of unceasing prayer. Each school takes a one-hour slot to pray for themselves, their chapters and their fellow students.

Chapters of OCF are invited to sign up for an hour of prayer that begins at 6:00 p.m. EST on Forgiveness Sunday, March 2. Chapters are invited to submit prayer requests for family members and friends, and each prayer intention will be forwarded to participating chapters in the Day of Prayer commemorations.

More information is available on the Day of Prayer webpage at the OCF's Website.

New AFR Podcasts: Hasta la Gloria, and Sowing Seeds

December 19, 2013

Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) recently introduced several new podcasts. A Spanish-language podcast features homilies by Fr. Nicholas Andruchow, the priest of the only Orthodox orphanage in North America. Every Sunday Fr. Nicholas offers the homily at the St. Innocent Orphanage for boys. This is the opportunity to reflect on the Gospel from the point of view of Orthodox Christianity in Latin America," notes the AFR Website about Hasta la Gloria. "Through God’s grace this will help you ascend to the heavens."

Another new podcast was launched in cooperation with Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF). Titled Sowing Seeds: Building Orthodox Campus Ministry, the episodes promise to help listeners "learn about the leadership, vision, and direction of the OCF with Executive Director Jennifer Nahas and AFR host John Maddex."

OCF Educates Collegians Through Orthodox Awareness Month

The month of October has been designated as Orthodox Awareness Month by Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) to foster an awareness of the richness of the Orthodox Faith on college campuses across North America through fellowship, education, worship, and service. Many students throughout the continent have little knowledge of the Orthodox faith, or that there is an active Orthodox group on campus. By devoting a month devoted to different activities and events, OCF serves the purpose of educating collegians about the beauty of the Orthodox faith and its presence on college campuses across the U.S. 

Learn more about Orthodox Awareness month and download resources on OCF's Website.

Calling All Youth: Participate in the YouTube Challenge!

Fr. Anthony Yagze, Chair of the Departments of College Ministry, and Camping, encourages all youth in the Antiochian Archdiocese to participate in the YouTube challenge.  "It's an interesting opportunity for young people!" he notes. 

Welcome to the 2013 Orthodox Church in America (OCA) YouTube Challenge!

The Challenge

Youth and Young Adult (Ages 14-28) should respond with an original video by midnight on November 15, 2013, to the following question: "What is the Gospel?" Participants may wish to reflect on:

  • The essential message of Jesus Christ
  • What his actions and words tell us about humanity and divinity
  • How the Gospel message can be preached in your particular environment (school, work, family, etc..)

Participants may wish to use their video to deliver a traditional speech, or find ways of more creatively answering the challenge through visual imagery and poetic license.

OCF's Real Break 2014 Registration is Open

September 16, 2013

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) reports:

OCF's "Real Break" aims to prepare college students to be socially informed Orthodox Christian citizens of this world, while directing their focus on the world to come, the kingdom of heaven. Built on a foundation of fellowship, education, worship, and service, Real Break provides students the opportunity to understand the true meaning of seeing Christ in the other—traveling to all parts of the world deepening their faith, serving those in need, and cultivating relationships with like-minded peers.

Register, donate, view the list of Real Break trips

Assembly of Bishops Encyclical for OCF College Student Sunday on Sept. 15

The Lord’s Day After the Exaltation of the Cross, September 15th/29th, 2013 

“Behold now, what is so good or so pleasant as for brothers to dwell together in unity?”  Psalm 132:1 

Beloved Clergy, Godly Monastics, and Blessed Faithful,

On behalf of the members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, we greet you in the Joy of our Lord Jesus Christ as we commence the 2013-14 Academic School Year. The wonderful verse recounted above comes to us from the Psalmist David. Its brilliance and simplicity should inspire us all as Orthodox Christians to strive for active engagement, participation, connection and interaction with one another through all stages of life and development in the life of the Orthodox Christian. 

OCF Launches Chapter Sponsorship Program

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced a new Chapter Sponsorship Program to help ensure that every college chapter is prepared to bring Orthodoxy to the campus this year.

Chapter Sponsorship Kits will include:

1 full-color 2'x4' icon banner with image above
10 "Timeline of Church History" brochures
10 "What on Earth is the Orthodox Church" brochures
10 "The 4 Elements of OCF Life" flyers
20 OCF prayer cards
10 OCF pens

Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, OCF has the means to send out 40 Chapter Sponsorship Kits, in order that the nearly 200 OCF chapters might bring a strong Orthodox presence to their welcome week activities and student activity fairs.

More information on sponsoring a chapter is available on the OCF Website.

Now's the Time: Register Collegians for The First Forty Days

Calling all parents, Sunday School teachers, youth workers, parish priests, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) alumni!

OCF is in the midst of collecting names for its First Forty Days program and it needs the help of each parish, to help high school graduates seamlessly join the OCF network. First Forty Days aims to integrate new collegians into the life of an OCF chapter during the first forty days of college. Please submit student information on OCF's website by June 30th to ensure that each students will be directly contacted by the OCF North American Office and greeted on his or her college campus by an OCF family and local parish at the beginning of the fall semester.

Questions? Please contact North American Chapter Relations Coordinator Christina Andresen at

FOCUS North America Seeks National Program Intern

FOCUS North America, a national, Orthodox non-profit organization that provides sustainable services to the homeless and working poor of America, is looking for a National Program Intern.  The Program Internship will provide practical, hands-on project management training and skills development in the context of a multi-million dollar community engagement and distribution program implemented in more than 20 cities across the United States.

This is a high-level internship that requires a high-performance and driven individual who is seeking to gain a deep understanding of community and volunteer engagement, and the federally-mandated social services framework. Qualified candidates who are interested in domestic or international social services, social entrepreneurship, or community development programs is encouraged to apply.

The intern will be stationed in FOCUS’ office in Orange County, California, with some national travel required to speak on behalf of FOCUS/promote FOCUS activities. FOCUS will pay for all program-related travel expenses and will, in addition, provide a fixed monthly stipend to the successful candidate. To apply, please send cover letter and resume to: For more information, view the job description.


Student Leaders Sought for OCF Advisory Board

Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) Executive Director Jennifer Nahas announces that "we have posted applications for our 2013-2014 Student Leaders to serve on the Student Advisory Board. We are looking for talented, committed students who are passionate about OCF to help guide the direction of Orthodox campus ministry, implement programs and bring the student voice into decision making. We look forward to putting a board in place that is representative of the variety of Orthodox jurisdictions and traditions we have in North America.

"Your recommendations would be incredibly helpful. Please, if you know of a college student who could lead, inspire and serve Orthodox Campus Ministry, encourage them to apply online. Another option is to pass along their name to our North American Chapter Relations Coordinator, Christina Andresen, at"

Antiochian College Student Reflects on Real Break Trip

Real Break students with Patriarch BartholomewReal Break students with Patriarch BartholomewOCF Real Break 2013 – Trip to Constantinople

by Alexa Janda, St George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX

My decision to serve with the OCF Real Break mission trip to Constantinople was one of the best decisions of my life. Initially, my spring break plan was to spend a week in Alaska with my parents. However, my plan changed last Christmas break when I found out my two good friends Mary Catherine Huneycutt and Mary Dahdouh were going on the OCF trip. I shared the Real Break information with my parents who instantly recognized what an amazing opportunity this trip would be for me. I registered for OCF Real Break not realizing that this mission trip would be a life changing experience.

Youth Directors Release Resources in the Wake of Recent Tragedies

The National Youth Directors of several different Orthodox Jurisdictions, together with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), have collaborated to offer several resources for clergy and lay people to help minister to our youth and young adults in light of the recent public violence in and around Boston.

The resource packet contains a cover letter from several youth directors, three reflections on the attacks by adults, ten tips for speaking to your youth groups and church school classes about public violence, and ten suggested steps for equipping your youth group or OCF chapter to respond to these tragedies. Additionally, the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) has made available its online study guide “A Christian Response to Terrorism.” This study guide, originally compiled after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, provides prayers, scriptural references, and discussion questions to use with youth and young adults.

In addition to the OCA, these materials have been provided by collaboration between the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, the Ukrainian Church of the USA, and the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia.


Summer, 2013: Three Dynamic College Programs

Students gather for OCF event at Georgetown UniversityStudents gather for OCF event at Georgetown UniversitySeveral new Orthodox summer programs have been opened up for collegians. The first two were announced by The Very Rev. Anthony G. Yazge, director of the Department of College Ministry for the Antiochian Archdiocese, and will be coordinated by Fr. John Diamantis, college chaplain for the Districts of New York and New Jersey, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF). A workshop,  "The Fields Are White For Harvest: Welcome to College Ministry," will focus on the practical efforts necessary to start an OCF, and will emphasize the positive impact campus ministry has on students and parishes. College students, clergy and laity are encouraged to attend.

Two workshops will be available: June 1, at the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection in New York City, and June 8 at Murray Dodge Hall on the campus of Princeton University in New Jersey. Both workshops will run from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and will include a light brunch and lunch will be provided. The workshops are free of charge.

A second event, a college student retreat, is scheduled for the heart of the summer on July 12-14 and is called  "Love 2 Serve."