“I Want to Be a Member of God’s Church”

As we continue to the Liturgical New Year season, we are so excited to share with you the inspirational story of our friend, Johnny, who found the Orthodox faith while in prison. Johnny’s testimony is such a powerful example of what Christ is doing in prison through your support. Please enjoy the video and share with anyone you know who needs encouragement!

Needing Help on All Sides: Counseling a Priest and a Family Through Tragedy

Fr. Makarios had to manage an unthinkable crisis: a young man from his Florida parish, under the influence of drugs was arrested and sentenced for the attempted murder of his own father. The tragedy rippled throughout his parish, damaging the sense of community that Fr. Makarios had been working to foster in his church. He felt unprepared to guide his parish through such an extreme, unusual situation. Seeking the wisdom of experience,…

Seeing Our Lord Face to Face

On July 31, 2022, the Sunday after the feast of St. Silas, the patron saint of prisoners, hundreds of Orthodox churches in the United States from all jurisdictions recognized Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday in a national effort to better serve our incarcerated brothers and sisters in Christ. Different parishes came up with different ways to increase awareness in their communities, listening to testimonials from prisoners who have come to the Orthodox Church,…

The Ministry of Spreading Awareness

“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at…

Johnny’s Long Walk Home

Johnny was in the prison library, looking for answers to his deepest spiritual questions, when he overheard a conversation two tables over. An Orthodox prisoner named Jesse was talking about the early Church. Johnny moved close enough to eavesdrop, an uncomfortable, even dangerous thing to do in prison. Johnny started asking him questions, which led to Johnny writing to OCPM, learning the Faith through his correspondence with Fr. Duane Pederson and Zossima…

#AscendingTogether Part 3: Dn. Seraphim, Volunteer Prison Chaplain

When Deacon Seraphim Blackstock began visiting men in a Florida prison, he started out, in his own words, “very arrogant”. “I went into the prisons with the idea I was helping these guys. They’re felons. They’ve committed horrible crimes. I’m doing them a big favor.” Dn. Seraphim would soon find out that there was much these men in prison could do to help him too. Most Christian prison chaplains start by teaching…

#AscendingTogether Part 2: What Can Prisoners Teach Us About Repentance?

“God is the life of all free beings. He is the salvation of all, of believers and unbelievers, of the just and the unjust, of the pious and the impious, of those freed from the passions or caught up in them, of monks or those living in the world, of the educated or the illiterate, of the healthy or the sick, of the young or the very old.” -St. John Climacus, The Ladder of…

#AscendingTogether Part 1: Together with Christ in Prison

Where there is real humility, all bonds are made free.” -St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent “These inmates put my prayer life to shame.” -Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, after visiting a prison with OCPM’s Director of Training and Spiritual Care, Fr. Stephen Powley  John was sentenced to eighteen months in a medium security prison in 2019. Not long into his sentence, he felt compelled to start going to chapel and…

Mentally Ill Prisoners: Icons of Christ

For nearly three years, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) staff have been regularly writing to a prisoner, whom I will call Michael, who lives in a state mental hospital and suffers from delusions. The staff send Michael personal letters, cards with pictures of nature and wildlife, icon cards and even funny illustrations. Often, Michael’s letters are full of his delusions, but sometimes he has moments of clarity, such as when he wrote…

The light of Christ reaches even into prison cells this Christmas

Jen became a grandmother at a much younger age than she ever imagined. She felt bitter that a new, unexpected grandbaby would derail her teenage son’s future. When her grandson, Matt, was born at Christmas and she finally had a chance to hold him, her anger faded away. “I looked at him and it melted my heart,” she said. Jen promised to never abandon that little baby.  But Matt’s life was not easy and he…