SCOBA Encyclical for College Student Sunday!

The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas

College Student Sunday

September 20, 2009

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser;
teach the righteous, and they will increase in learning. (Proverbs 9:9)

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 the Lord Jesus Christ, and the All-Holy Spirit,

In this new ecclesiastical year we, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, greet you with paternal love. In support of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), our collective college campus ministry, we have designated Sunday, September 20, 2009 as OCF College Student Sunday, and we ask that faithful Orthodox Christians in North America call to mind and prayer our beloved college students.

Faced with a secular and morally threatening society, our college students are continually assaulted by influences that attempt to sway them from their Orthodox Christian faith. Holding the hope that they might safely navigate the crucially important years of college and mature into pious and faithful adults, we are committed to provide them any and all ministries for the challenging transition from adolescence to adulthood. The instruction and teaching of OCF's inspiring wisdom and righteousness is a critical enhancement to their lives that we seek to develop.

Local OCF chapters, which currently number 270, provide spiritual havens to our beloved students. As the presence of the Orthodox Church on campus, the chapters serve as a place of spiritual nourishment and education. It is within these fellowships, with the assistance of local clergy and parishes, that our students are able to grow and mature in the wisdom and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This vital work on the local college campus is sustained by the national programs and resources of OCF.  Offerings and programs such as "College Conference," "Real Break," "Just Love" and others help to provide transformative experiences which spark an enthusiasm and desire in young adults to further develop their spiritual lives. The redesigned website presents a network in which students, parents, families and parishes can learn and share the Message of the Gospel.

We ask all of our clergy to remind parishioners of this important ministry on OCF College Student Sunday, and to provide students an opportunity to share their OCF experiences with all the faithful in their parishes. We encourage support for the work of national ministry and we call upon all the faithful to remember our students in their prayers before God, so that He may continue to shed His abundant blessings on them.

With great thanks to God and to all those who share in the OCF ministry, we pray that our college students may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) and be a sign of His presence in the College Campuses of our Country.

With paternal blessings and love in Christ,

† Archbishop DEMETRIOS
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

† Metropolitan PHILIPof North America
Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

† Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER
Serbian Orthodox Church in North And South America

† Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA

† Archbishop NICOLAE
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese In the Americas

† Metropolitan JOSEPH
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church

† Metropolitan JONAH
Orthodox Church in America

† Metropolitan CONSTANTINE
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA

† Archpriest Alexander Abramov
Acting Representative of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA

† Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America

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