The Challenge of Prison Ministry during the Pandemic

It’s Wednesday morning and I say my prayers before a small copy of the Hawaiian myrrh streaming Icon of the Theotokos and I anoint myself with the holy myrrh and ask for Her Holy intercession and protection as I leave the Church rectory for a short 15 minute ride to the state institution at Waymart, Pennsylvania, where I serve as a contract chaplain and coordinate a visitation internship program with St. Tikhon’s…

The Impact of Incarceration on the Family and the Church

There is an amazing story tucked in the Book of Joshua (chapter 7) in the Old Testament that is often overlooked. After the Israelites had taken the walled city of Jericho by the miraculous hand of God, they were to take a very small town called Ai. After the Israelites were soundly defeated, it was discovered that one man, Achan, had stolen something. His theft impacted the entire community and had been…

Orthodox Catechesis for People in Prison

Before offering some thoughts on how OCPM conducts catechesis for people in prison I would like to take the opportunity to recognize those Orthodox clergy and laity who work tirelessly where they are able to help our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated. Despite their sacrifices there is still a difficulty which must be faced: the largest numbers of Orthodox Christians in parts of the United States where people in prison tend…

Bring my soul out of prison…

“Bring my soul out of prison that I may give thanks to Your Name.” These words are familiar to most Orthodox Christians. They come from Psalm 142, are chanted at every Great Vespers, and they can teach those of us with a heart for inmates and prison ministry. The psalmist is describing his own experience of prison. It may have been an actual, physical prison, or it may have been an emotional,…