Disability Resources: Discussions, Videos, Recordings

Orthodox Christian Discussions concerning Disability

You will need to register with orthodoxchristianity.net Monachos.net forums  for their discussions. Search for more; start your own discussion(s)!

The Facebook Pages Koinonia for Exceptional Orthodox Families – Community , Koinonia for Exceptional Orthodox Christian Families, and Deaf Orthodox Christians are ongoing discussions on members’ posts.

To view, to listen to

One of the audio recordings, The Illumined Heart: Orthodox Christian Psychological Therapy , gets to the very heart of the Orthodox Christian way- repentance (“correct our thoughts” from the Prayer of the Hours) for those of us who struggle with our mental health – which is all of us, if we are honest with ourselves.

Other videos and audio recordings address the disabilities of blindness and deafness.  Three of the videos profile monastic orphanages which provide homes for many with developmental disabilities and various other disabilities. See the love that is shared in these places! There is a DVD on autism and a number of audio interviews on family relationships in which one member is an autist as well.

Disability Resource Pages for Study, Research, and Training

Online theses & dissertations

Some of the more substantial offerings:

Church and Social Integration of Disabled People, by PROFESSOR LAVRENDIOS G . DELLASSOUDAS , 32 pp. (2000) – addresses the subject in the context of the country of Greece

THE IMPACT OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NEPTIC-PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONS ON SELF-REPORTED DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMATOLOGY AND COMORBID ANXIETY By the Right Reverend Dr. Andrew (Zoran) Vujisić, Bishop elect of Tralles, for Latin America and the Caribbean ,289 pp. (2009) – addresses the mental health issues of depression and anxiety

Embracing All God’s Children: Orthodox Theology Concerning Disability and Its Implications for Ministry with Special Needs Youth in the Orthodox Church (pdf to download)  by Wendy Cwiklinski, 68 pp. Also: OCN.net: condensed version in 5 parts

Personhood, Human Brokenness and the Therapeutic Calling of the Eastern Orthodox Church: A Pastoral Approach To Mental Health Issues and Disability. Cagnoni, Clare (2009) , 126 pp.

St. John Chrysostom and the Socialization of Persons with Developmental Disability: Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Application, by William Gall , 61 pp.

A Study Course: The Social Ministry of the Church

a home-based, online course of studies, taught by Dr. Robert Hosken and  Cheryl K. Hosken, B.S.N., M.S. Psych. 5 Courses. The  first course is entitled  “Rehabilitation of Children with Disabilities.”

Inclusion Awareness Workbook 

Renewing Our Commitment to Welcoming Worshippers of All Abilities as Active Participants25 pp. Pathways.org. With contributions from Eleni Patos, Maria Kotsinis and Constantine Zografopoulos. Reviewed by His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos.

From the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Families of Children with Special Needs Resource List

Internet Resources, Books and Downloads, Articles, Video, Various Non-Orthodox and Secular Resources. 5 pp.

Arms Open Wide

A 10 year survey and compilation of Orthodox Christian disability resources.





Disability Resource Pages: An Episcopal Statement & a Booklet: Concise Summaries of the Orthodox Christian Understanding of Life Shared with People with Disabilities


SCOBA: Disability and Communion

from The Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America on Disability and Communion, June 25, 2009: Embracing People with Disabilities within the Church

Welcoming People with Disabilities

The Body of Christ: A Place of Welcome for People with Disabilities

15 pp. By Fr. John Chryssavgis; from Light and Life Publishing


Disability Resource Pages: The inspiration; The blessing; Courtesies; Life! . . .

(. . . also Orthodox Christian lingo: a glossary)

The following Arms Open Wide Resource Pages are reference pages rather than lists of resources, presenting general background information and related issues:

St. John Chrysostom †407

St. John Chrysostom

The Chrysostom page is an inspirational quotation by St. John Chrysostom which concisely sums up why it is in the best interests of those in the Church who do not have a mental or physical disability to care about the well-being and inclusion of those who do, and to integrate them into Orthodox Christian Parish Church life.

When Orthodox Christian seek to undertake a ministry for the Church, we are to seek our Bishop’s blessing. Here’s the record that this site has received this blessing: Bishop Thomas’ blessing

This helpful guide for relating to persons with disabilities in our parishes and elsewhere was first published by Holy Taxiarhai and Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church in Niles, Illinois 60714, in their weekly bulletin for October 10 – October 17, 2010:  Guidelines and Courtesies for interacting with persons with disabilities

In that persons with disabilities are at risk in the womb, through abortion, and at the beginning and (seeming) end of their lives, many posts were devoted to resources which addressed this deadly risks, and they can be found on this Page:  Sanctity of Life

And for those readers who are not acquainted with the terminology of Orthodox Christian theology and practice, there is the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese’ Glossary of Orthodox Church Terms



Disability Resource Pages: Professional, Specialized, and Non-Orthodox Christian Resources

This blog originally was intended to be a resource page; the gathering together of Orthodox Christian disability resources in one place. When I sought to do a thesis on Orthodox Christian resources, I could not find a site that served this purpose. I discussed this with my thesis advisor, and he suggested that I develop a resource site. And for ten years, I have been scouring the internet for Orthodox Christian resources. 

Along the way, I found other resources that were obviously helpful, though not specifically Orthodox Christian disability resources. And I gathered them in one place.

To access the webpage:

professional, specialized, and non-Orthodox Christian Resources

Some of the offerings on this site that I personally feel are especially valuable:

Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche   & L’Arche International

Best Buddies

Family Voices

Guiding Exceptional Parents

Of course, I don’t claim that this is the most comprehensive site, even though one can find a wide range of topics relating to the needs of people with disabilities. Here are some other sites which have been developed which may serve your interest better:

Disability Resources.org

disABILITY Information and Resources

Google Disability Resource Pages

(one could add to this search a specific topic, a specific disability, a specific locale and narrow your search to your specific interest)

OrthodoxAdultAutists: A Letter to the Church

This is a letter from a woman named Monica, an autist. It is a challenge, a plea, to the Orthodox Church to take responsibility for people with autism, mental illness, and developmental disabilities. She writes,

. . . . Church is inclusive in that there are no statements made regarding salvation of people with brain differences, people with mental problems, people whose IQ scores do not reach triple digits etc. Quite the opposite, it is frequently stated that the Church believes that Gods mercy most certainly extends to people such as us, and He’ll know what to do with us.

I fully agree, He certainly will. Yet by stating that God will know what to do with us, you make it abundantly clear that you do not. By stating that because of a disorder, there’s no responsibility for our salvation on our part, and God will know what to do, you basically absolve yourself of responsibility as well.

God will know, we can be sure of that and freely depend on His mercy. Yet what are you doing in the meantime? . . .

She continues:

. . . . We want to grow closer to God, . . .  we just don’t always do well with the available tools, and need a hand finding those that do work. We want to be a part of the Church, and part of our churches. We need your help.

Please read the entire letter; it’s not long. Really, it sums up everything Arms Open Wide is about- developing our Orthodox Christian understanding of how to serve and involve in our Church life, our Divine-human life, the life which is life indeed, both those among us as well as those out there who may well come to be among us who are different, and those who are disabled.

To access:

A Letter to the Church

From our Holy Bishops: Disability and Communion

 Pictured: Attendees of the Standing Conference of the Orthodox Bishops of America at St. Sava Cathedral, New York, NY, May 2, 2006

Disability and Communion is the most official statement on the matter (June 25, 2009) our American Orthodox Christian Bishops have put forward.

 The Orthodox Church of America’s website reprinted the statement, and, at the bottom of the post, put forward some good questions to reflect upon in regard to personal interaction with persons with disability, both within the Parish Church, and in daily life.  http://oca.org/resource-handbook/parishdevelopment/disability-and-communion 

Picture from http://www.easterndiocese.org/2006archives.html 

– On Tuesday, May 2, 2006 the St. Sava Cathedral in New York was honored to host the annual SCOBA Meeting, the gathering of the hierarchs of all canonical Orthodox Churches in America. Attending this event were: Greek Orthodox Archbishop Dimitrios, Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan Christopher, Romanian Orthodox Archbishop Nicolae, Ukrainian Orthodox Archbishop Anthony, Bulgarian Metropolitan Joseph, Antiochian Orthodox Bishop Basil (filling in for Metropolitan Philip), representative of the Orthodox Church of America (OCA) V. Rev. David Brum and the general secretary of SCOBA Bishop Dimitrios Xantos.     



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