Tuesday, September 16, 2008
With us everything should be secondary
compared to our concern with children,
and their upbringing in the instruction
and teaching of the Lord.
(St. John Chrysostom)
College Student Sunday
September 21, 2008
The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference
of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and Devout Faithful
of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas.
Dearly Beloved in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
We, the Hierarchs of SCOBA, have established the first Sunday after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Most Precious Cross as College Student Sunday. Since this designation was first made in 2003, we have witnessed an increased awareness and support of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) among all the Orthodox Faithful, even as the OCF continues to grow on college campuses all across our Nation.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship, the official campus ministry agency of SCOBA, manifests the loving and guiding presence of the Orthodox Church to our young people, who have ventured away from the security and stability of their parents' homes to advance their education. Many young students are forced to face this new chapter of their lives without a substantive connection to the local Church community of their youth. OCF fills this gap by building a strong Orthodox fellowship on campus, and by providing a bridge to the local parishes.
By the grace of God, OCF has expanded the reach of its ministry to college students significantly in the five years of its Agency designation from SCOBA. Since the year 2000, OCF has grown from 50 chapters to over 260 throughout North America. But there are still so many colleges and universities that need the presence and ministry of OCF. By offering our prayers to the Lord and our financial support to OCF, we empower our clergy chaplains and lay campus coordinators to expand this holy endeavor, the nurture of our young people in our Holy Orthodox Faith.
On Sunday, September 21, 2008, the Sunday after the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, we ask all faithful Orthodox Christians to prayerfully call to mind our students on college campuses. We also encourage all of our parishes to take up a collection to support this vital ministry, and support the workers in this Vineyard of the Lord.
With abundant thanks to God and to all those who share in the OCF ministry, we pray that our college students may continue to deepen their relationships with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church.
With paternal blessings and love in Christ,
+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary
Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer
Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA
+Archbishop DMITRI Locum Tenens
Orthodox Church in America
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
+Bishop MERCURIUS of Zaraisk
Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA
+Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America