Latest News and Articles
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 firstname.lastname@example.org."
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.
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.
Several 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."
MERCER, PA -- Camp Nazareth and Orthodox Christian Fellowship are proud to announce the "Second Annual Overcome the World College Retreat," will take place at Camp Nazareth in Mercer, PA on May 19-21, 2013.
College Students are invited to come and recharge their spiritual batteries, make new friends and experience Orthodox Christianity in a deep manner. There will be guest speakers, group workshops, evening social events, food, fun and plenty of opportunity for faith enrichment.
This year's theme is "If anyone desires to be first, He shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35)
Tanya Schillawski, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Student Advisory Board Praxis Coordinator, has announced that the OCF Day of Prayer will begin on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, April 8. For twenty-four hours, college students at OCF chapters around the country will be praying continuously. The OCF website will post the prayer service, with versions that can be used with and without the presence of a priest. Insructions on setting up a live feed will also be posted, so that students from around the country can pray with the designated chapter.
For those OCF chapters unable to participate in the program, leaders are requested that their lists of names of the living and departed be sent to email@example.com. The cut off day to submit names is Friday, March 29th, with no exceptions allowed. These lists will then be posted on the OCF's website.
Monday, March 18, 2013: The Assembly of Bishops website has announced that scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year are now available for graduating high school students and for college students pursuing a non-theological graduate degree. These scholarships are administered by the Chancellor’s Office of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and are open to students from any Orthodox church affiliated with the Assembly of Bishops. They are specifically the Malta Scholarship, awarded for undergraduate studies, and the Paleologos Graduate Scholarship, which is for graduate work of a non-theological nature.
Further details, including complete instructions and applications, can be accessed on-line on the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Applications may also be requested by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applying for both of these scholarships is April 26, 2013.
As part of a growing partnership between Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), audio field reports are being posted from select Real Break Trips on Ancient Faith Radio, including ministry to: Guatemala, Honduras, Constantinople, Mexico, Toronto, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. Tune in to AFR to listen on demand as they become available.
Other joint projects include the OCF Podcast, Special College Student Editions of Orthodoxy Live ( a live call in program) and coverage of other special OCF events.
Ancient Faith Radio seeks to deepen and enrich the faith of Orthodox Christians around the world with streaming audio programming and on-demand podcasts. It features liturgical music from a variety of Orthodox traditions, as well as prayers, readings, lectures, and interviews.
In time for the 2013-2014 academic year, the Scholarships page on Antiochian.org has been updated to include all archdiocesan forms and deadlines, as well as information from other institutions offering scholarships to Antiochian students at both the college or graduate school level.
Students can browse through various options, including a scholarship for a student in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, a scholarship from Antiochian Women, several scholarships from the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, scholarships available from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and scholarships for former Scouts. By way of reminder, camp scholarships are also available through the Order of St. Ignatius.
In partnership with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), Ancient Faith Radio has posted the talks from the 2012 OCF College Conferences as an AFR "Special." Held annually after Christmas at Antiochian Village (East) and St. Nicholas Ranch (West), the conferences draw college students from all part of the U.S. together for several days of workshops, fellowship, and lectures from top-notch Orthodox speakers.
In addition to the podcasts featuring talks on the theme "Trust in the Power and Love of God," the AFR line-up of conference audio includes the program "Orthodoxy Live with Fr. Evan Armatas," who conducted a live call-in show with the students at the College Conference East at Antiochian Village.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced that registration is now open for their Real Break program. Explains the OCF website, "The Real Break program provides an alternative to the 'traditional' Spring Break. It exists to provide the most authentic experience possible, modeled as a full Christian lifestyle, which includes fellowship, prayer within community, witness and service. OCF organizes both domestic and international trips to give college students the opportunity to serve those less fortunate and to do something 'real' for themselves and for God. OCF’s Real Break has been running since 2000 with over a thousand students participating in these life-changing trips. Past trips have included: Mexico, Guatemala, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Raphael House, St. Basil Academy, Greece, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Romania, Buenos Aires, Alaska, and more."
Seven Real Break trips are planned for March, 2013, serving communities in Guatemala, New Orleans, Toronto, LA Skid Row, Honduras, Constantinople (Istanbul), and Mexico. Students can register online, and view both an introductory video and a short fundraising tutorial.
"Trust in the Power and Love of God" is the theme of OCF's 2012 College Conferences
Register NOW for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conference!
Each year during Christmas Break OCF College Conferences host hundreds of college students from across North America for four days of fellowship, prayer, and some of the best Orthodox speakers around! Be sure to register early to get the early bird discount!
Here are the 2 locations for College Conference 2012:
East Coast College Conference
Antiochian Village | Bolivar, PA
West Coast College Conference
St. Nicholas Ranch | Dunlap, Calif.
Check out OCF's website to register and find more information!
Fr. Anthony Yazge, Director of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Department of College Ministry, has asked all Orthodox Christians in parishes, and parents of college students, to submit names of current college students to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) database. "OCF, the college ministry of the Orthodox Churches in the United States, is developing and maintaining a database of all Orthodox college students," he noted. "The purpose of this database is to assist the church in keeping our students connected to Christ and His Church.
"Students that are listed in the database will receive regular communication from OCF regarding programs and ministries such as annual College Conferences and Real Break. Their contact information will be shared with the OCF chapters of the schools they are attending and/or the closest Orthodox Church as a means of offering support and encouragement to students while they are attending school. We ask that you visit the OCF webpage to submit your college student's information. Let's keep our young people connected to Christ and His Church!"
Melinda Bentz, President of the Antiochian Women Diocese of Los Angeles, and the Diocese of Eagle River, reminds the faithful that this is the time of year to remember the Orthodox students who have settled into their studies at colleges all around the country. The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) observes College Student Sunday on September 16, and this year the faithful in parishes are encouraged to make an extra effort to reach out to their collegians in their first forty days of school.
Melinda writes, "As mothers, sisters, wives, and God-mothers, we have been asked to help the OCF personally reach our incoming college freshmen. While at the summer meeting, we as Antiochian Women were presented with a request to help the OCF reach out to each Orthodox college freshman and invite them to their local parish, connect with the local OCF priest and solidify their commitment to their Orthodox faith during their college years."
Brookline, MA (August 21, 2012)
The North American OCF Office announces the recent appointment of Fr. Michael J. Ellis to the position of North American Chaplain.
The North American Chaplain works across all Orthodox jurisdictions, providing resources and assistance to the chaplains who work directly with the students on campus. Fr Michael will be coordinating the OCF Chaplaincy Network of regional,district and local OCF chaplains and handling ecclesiastical/spiritual issues brought to his attention from both the staff of the OCF North American Office and the local OCF chapters.
Fr. Michael and his wife Presvytera Jesica, both originally from upstate New York, currently reside in Mansfield, OH with their two children Alexander and Sophia.
Fr. Michael is a graduate of the State University of New York, College at Brockport where he completed his undergrad work, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications Studies, emphasis Interpersonal and Organizational Communications.
Brookline, MA (OCF)
Orthodox Christian Fellowship's Executive Director Jennifer Nahas writes:
I hope all of you are having a restful, but fun summer. We here at the North American office look forward to working with all of you to engage in fellowship, fun, service, and spiritual growth during the 2012-2013 school year.
To kick things off, your student leaders participated in a five day Summer Leadership Institute here at Hellenic College, the home of the North American Office. This year's Student Advisory Board is full of diversity, energy, and passion; they are from all over the country, from different schools and different Orthodox jurisdictions. Their jobs are to serve you by supporting local chapters and leading OCF's North American programs. Since chapter outreach is a high priority, I wouldn't be surprised if some of you have already heard from the regional representatives in your regions to find out what your chapter's plans are for the upcoming school year.
Houston, TX (IOCC) — The sound of power saws and nail guns mingle with easy laughter and conversation as IOCC Orthodox Action Team volunteers work side by side, building homes and friendships at volunteer home-builds in Houston and Minneapolis. They have traveled from Maryland, Virginia, Georgia and New York to help construct homes for families left homeless by hurricanes in Houston and tornadoes in Minneapolis. Four home building teams have already completed their one-week commitment, with four more summer builds and critical home repairs slated for Minneapolis, Houston, and in Minot, North Dakota, which lost an estimated 1,600 homes to flooding last summer.
The 2012 team builds began in March with a pairing of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) college students and veterans of previous IOCC builds. The next three builds, including the first ever home built by IOCC volunteers in Minneapolis, also brought together a mix of Orthodox youth with older volunteers.
Brookline, MA - June 1, 2012. The North American OCF Office has launched an exciting new program to reach out to incoming first-year Orthodox college students at colleges and universities throughout North America, named The First Forty Days. As its name implies, during the first forty days of the 2012 fall semester, local OCF student leaders and chaplains will work to make personal contact with all new incoming students. They will be given information regarding the OCF chapter on campus and nearby Orthodox parishes. The intent of this program is to foster a personal connection with our students so that young college students will stay connected to Christ and His Church during their years in post-secondary education.
To accomplish this, OCF needs the help of all Orthodox Parishes in North America. In the coming weeks, OCF will be gathering the contact information of all incoming college freshman students in all of the Orthodox parishes across the continent. Each parish is asked to provide the North American OCF Office with some basic information concerning their high school graduates who will be attending college in the Fall on a downloadable spreadsheet, which is available here.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) Real Break program provides an alternative spring break for Orthodox college students across North America. This year, more than 50 students from 36 universities participated in the six service projects around the world in locations such as Constantinople, Mexico, Guatemala, Romania and Texas. This following OCF report summarizes the impact of Real Break, 2012.
As the week was coming to an end and all sat in the dining hall eating the typical meal of beans and tortillas, University of Illinois freshman, Anthony Jonas, notices Brayan with a sad face and not touching his food. Jesus Brayan is one of the 31 young boys living at the St. Innocent Orphanage in Rosarito, Mexico. Anthony says to him,
“¿Qué paso Brayan?” (What’s wrong Brayan?)
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) announced today that applications are being received for the position of North American Chaplain. The position is being increased to half-time, and will be held by an Orthodox clergyman who will also have the ability to continue to serve a parish or other ministry.
Fr. Michael Nasser, OCF’s current North American Chaplain, shared his thoughts on this development: “With OCF’s new leadership and with a fast-growing awareness among parents and clergy of how vital this ministry to our students really is, I couldn’t be happier that the next North American Chaplain will have more time to be dedicated to this great work.”
OCF is currently restructuring to better guide and support the hundreds of OCF chapters spread out across North America. The new North American Chaplain will work across all Orthodox jurisdictions, providing resources and assistance to the chaplains who work directly with the students on campus.
The Eastern Dioceses 2012 College Scholarship Application is now available for download. This scholarship application is intended only for parishioners from churches that are within the Eastern Dioceses. If you wish to participate in the application process, please complete the application and be sure to include all required materials. All information must be accurately completed and returned by June 1, 2012.
The following is a list of scholarships and deadlines:
Francis Maria Scholarship: May 15
Antiochian Women's Scholarship: June 1
This year for St. Patrick's Day, instead of drowning your sorrows in green beer and gorging yourself with cookies shaped like four-leafed clovers, learn a lesson from a three-leafed clover and take a step on the right direction!
Real Saint Patrick’s Day is a program of Orthodox Christian Fellowship aimed at bringing the focus of St. Patrick’s day back to St. Patrick and away from the traditional excessive partying that typically takes place. St. Patrick was a slave in Ireland who escaped and later returned as a bishop to teach the people of Ireland about the true faith. Chapters should do all that they can to use St. Patrick as an example to learn, teach, and serve others. Below are some approaches your chapter can take, based on the life of the Saint, to dedicate the day to prayer, serving and learning. These suggested activities would encourage your OCF and possibly those on your campus to spend the day in more appropriate pursuits given the celebration of a Saint’s feast and being in the midst of Great Lent.
The 9th Annual Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conferences concluded as they always do – with college students longing for more spiritual nourishment and opportunities to be part of an Orthodox community. Thanks to the generous scholarships provided by The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, over one hundred Antiochian Orthodox college students attended College Conference, along with their peers from other jurisdictions. One student explained, “I go to school in Arkansas and cannot tell you how grateful I am, both for College Conference, and for the scholarship The Order provided. There are not many Orthodox students at my school, and being here helps me to remember who I am and why my faith is so important to me.”
OCF is host to three separate conferences. One is held in the south at the Diakonia Center, one in the west at St. Nicholas Ranch, and the largest and most established is held in the east at the Antiochian Village.
Real Break Houston offers college students and young adults a chance to provide relief to those who have lost their homes in recent natural disasters.
Orthodox College Fellowship (OCF) is teaming up with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to build homes in Houston, Texas for families who have lost everything to the devastating hurricanes and flooding along the Gulf Coast.
This is also billed as a great opportunity to connect with other college students and young adults from across North America.
The trip cost of $550 covers lodging, food, transportation and materials while in Houston.
OCF Executive Director Jennifer Nahas urges, "please come to Houston and build a house!!! From March 24 through March 31st, OCF students and alum, along with Habitat for Humanity and IOCC, will be working on helping a family affected by the Hurricanes in Texas. Thanks to a donor, we can now offer this trip for $550. Please, chapter leaders, tell your chapter and your friends. WE NEED YOU!"
For more information, contact John Mahfouz at email@example.com.