The parish of St. Antonios Antiochian Orthodox Church  in Halifax, Nova Scotia was blessed to have Fr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Antiochian Department of Youth Ministry, join us for a weekend full of inspiration, motivation and faith.
On Friday March 8, Fr. Joseph met with the parents of the youth in the community and informed them about issues that have become a serious problem within society. This includes sex, drugs and alcohol. Sadly, these common activities observed within society also affect teens in the Orthodox Church.
Increasing parent and teen awareness to these issues was an extremely important aspect of the weekend, as many parents were not updated with the latest science about the harm that results from the use of alcohol and drug substances. In addition, parents were mostly shocked to learn about the affect of Argileh (Hookah). This traditional smoking instrument is very common in  Arab homes, and many children are observed using it as a leisure activity. Observing the statistics collected from youth in our Archdiocese was especially shocking to the parents, as most of the time they are oblivious to the fact this is actually happening to their children.
The discussions continued the following day where the youth of the community participated in a workshop with Fr. Joseph. Approximately 40 teenagers attended, where the main themes included purity, chastity and virginity. Throughout the workshop, the teens engaged and asked several questions regarding the church’s view on societal issues.
The information presented to both the youth and the parents during Fr. Joseph's visit was enlightening and educational for all. Through informing both the youth and the parents with new information, as well as the consequences which result from these non-Christian actions, it has sparked the community of St. Antonios to make changes and protect their youth, the next generation.
By the St. Antonios Teen SOYO, Halifax, NS