Archive for May, 2009

Kansas City: Reconciliation Services

St. Zosimas & St. Mary of Egypt

Here is a ministry, based on an Eastern Orthodox Christian paradigm, for the healing of the soul, our individual souls as well as our collective one, based  in Kansas City: Reconciliation Services 

Here is their Mission statement:

Revealing the strength of those we serve by providing emergency services, promoting self-sufficiency and building community.

They address the needs of persons with mental health and substance abuse issues: Reconciliation Services: Mental Health & Substance Abuse 

This ministry was initiated by the parishioners of St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church

icon from Fr. Ted’s Blog

a homeschooling Orthodox Christian family

family chrismation day

I found a wonderfully personal blog by an Orthodox Christian homeschooling mom who has lots of children; one of them has a disability (as well as many abilities!)

This is where divine-human socialization (or, more properly, Theosis) happens- the Orthodox Christian family. This is where loving parents, by the grace and energies of God, self-sacrificially rise to the challenge of seeing a child, with all his or her strengths and weaknesses, through to adulthood toward true personhood in Christ. And here is one family in which this is happening:

Also, meet Miriam:

Miriam’s growth in Christ and my growth in Christ and all our growth together towards theosis in Christ is of ultimate significance. And we must attend to the how, and this mother is giving us the privilege of seeing how their family is proceeding in Christ.

Thank you, Mairs!

Orthodox Christian Social Action Networks

When I began this weblog I lamented the fact that there did not seem to be (as far as I could see, searching online) any networks uniting Orthodox Christians in coordinated social action, in which our collective expertize and resources could be pooled together to increase the effectiveness of our efforts. I found no web pages where I could find resources on disability, for instance. With  the encouragement of Fr. Ted Pulcini, and the blessing of His Grace Bishop Thomas, I created this blog as a way to begin filling that gap.

But now it is clear that the gap is being addressed. Praise the Lord, His Church is on the move! Take a look:

Orthodox Diaconia

Focus North America: Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve

The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America’s introduction to Focus North America

I for one am greatly heartened at these initiatives. Let us water these newly planted trees, that they may bear good fruit!

Children with special needs: assessing the challenges and making a difference

(from Father Stephen Tsichlis’ “Children with Special Needs and the Orthodox Christian Family”)

This excellent article can be accessed at

Father Stephen begins by a realistic assessment of the challenges that a family and their parish family members face can face, especially inwardly, in coping with a person with a serious disability. He puts forth a  thought that requires some reflection:

We must learn the discipline of silence until a compassionate Christian response is possible in our part.

He concludes on a hopeful note, with a brief story that illustrates a a loving response by an Orthodox Church parish family to a person with a disability.

And a great way to follow up the reading of this article would be to buy and read the booklet, The Body of Christ: A place of welcome for people with disabilites by Father John Chryssavgis:

(And, of course, prayerfully putting it into practice!)

Dr. Marina Busigina: “Let God arise . . .

Dr. Busigina, a Russian Orthodox psychiatrist, is interviewed concerning her work of love with people who have mental illnesses. She speaks concerning the development of trust, of calming fearful patients, of how laypeople can responding lovingly to persons with mental illness, of situations of psychosis and/or demonic possession, and many other practical matters in regard to coping with mental illness and relating to persons with mental illness.

And she prays “Let God arise . . .,” at times, “when people are very distressed.”

To access, click on:


originally from

leaving behind spiritual winter

Christ is risen!

We have come to the merry, merry month of May, continuing our celebration of the Paschal Light and the renewal which Christ’s Resurrection and victory over sin and death brings to our lives. The 50 day Paschal season culminates in the feast of Pentecost and the remembrance and realization of the Holy Spirit’s entrance into our lives. Winter has yielded to springtime; summer and autumn harvests lie ahead, on earth and in our lives.

And may sin be left behind, which would reintroduce the deathly chill of spiritual winter! Sadly, this almost always happens, doesn’t it?.

But this cycle will broken one Day; the Lord Jesus Christ will come and call us into His glorious Presence. May the Lord find us prepared!

Fr. George Morelli has a word for us on spiritual winter yielding to spiritual spring:

Spiritual Winter – Spiritual Spring:

and at the end of his meditation one can access more of his offerings, such as . . .

Assertiveness and Christian Charity

Patient Endurance

Smart Marriage XV: Ensnared by mindless helping

Subdeacon Gregory Kattouf

On June 11, 2006 His Grace Bishop Thomas made his annual arch-pastoral visit to St. George Orthodox Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania to celebrate the Feast of Holy Pentecost. . . .

On the Sunday of Pentecost Saidna (Bishop Thomas) gave an encouraging sermon that challenged us all aspire to holy living.

His Grace also elevated Gregory Kattouf to the sub-diaconate and was honored along with Sub-deacon Greg at a banquet following the Divine Liturgy and Kneeling Prayers.

Sub-Deacon Gregory Kattouf has long been a faithful servant of God at the Holy Altar and is an example to us all of holy living and we are grateful to the bishop for honoring him by making him a sub-deacon.

(from an article on the website of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America that is no longer available)

Having written many times of universal human disability as well as the multiple intelligences we also have all been graced with by our loving Lord, here is a man who exemplifies this, having been counted worthy and able to serve in the most holy place of Orthodox Christian worship. In our worship this place is symbolic [in the “Present” (rather than absent) sense] of heaven itself. Sub-deacon Gregory has Down Syndrome, as well as many abilities, including the ability to perform the holy and joyous tasks of a “servant of the Light” (one of the duties of Sub-deacons is to light the candles in the Altar). Surely there are many other things he is and does for the glory of God and the good of his neighbor. Those who know him are most welcome to illuminate the rest of us by means of writing a supplemental comment to this Post.

Subdeacon Gregory also received a Special Award from the Ecumenical Conference at the 2005 Annual Dinner to recognize his support of the weekly religion classes for students with mental and physical challenges.


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