“We Offer These Gifts”: A Program for the Theological Exploration
The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College provides opportunities for college students, high school students, and those who serve them, for growth in Orthodox Christian vocation and leadership through theological inquiry, ongoing reflection, and service activities by way of retreats, workshops, classes, conferences, study sessions, and mini-grants.
The OVM defines vocation as one’s unique and ongoing response to Christ’s call to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength, and the neighbor as oneself. It seeks to encourage all participants to consider their life as vocation, and to nurture the next generation of leaders who are called to full-time ministry in the church, whether to the ordained priesthood or to lay ministry.
The OVM seeks to be theologically and faithfully Orthodox Christian; to be excellent stewards of the resources of this Lilly Endowment Inc. grant to Hellenic College; to work with integrity, energy and creativity; to provide engaging and rich programs through effective administration; to publish resources to share learning; and to utilize collaborative inquiry for ongoing program planning and evaluation.
The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) was established in 2003 when Hellenic College became one of 88 accredited colleges and universities in the United States to receive a prestigious five-year grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. for “the theological exploration of vocation.”
The three interrelated objectives for this effort are to:
The OVM has inspired hundreds of Orthodox Christian high school and college students to:
In May 2008, the Lilly Endowment awarded the OVM an additional three-year matching grant to help the programs transition from being fully funded by the Endowment to fully funded by the community. While the OVM began through a generous grant from Lilly, the Endowment believes that its grantees must, through broad-based community initiative, support their new programs. The OVM fulfilled this matching grant challenge through the generous support of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, Old Neighborhood Foods, the Virginia H. Farah Foundation, the Gerondelis Foundation, and several individual benefactors.
In order for the OVM to achieve its goal of becoming a permanent part of the fabric of Hellenic College Holy Cross, the OVM contin continues to seek the support of leaders within the greater community to join in the effort to sustain these vital programs. In order to carry on this work, Hellenic College must raise $1.7 million in contributions by 2017. Through the generosity of the greater Orthodox community, as well as foundation and corporate partners, the OVM will continue to offer vital vocation and leadership training to tomorrow’s leaders for Church and society—today.
Ann Mitsakos Bezzerides, Ph.D., Director of the Office of Vocation & Ministry, earned her doctorate from Boston College in Theology and Education with her dissertation titled, “Conversing with John Chrysostom as Christian Religious Educator.” She also earned an M.Div. from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary where she has served as a lecturer in Religious Education, and a BA from Middlebury College where she studied English Literature and Creative Writing. She edited Christ at Work: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Vocation, which serves as a guiding text for OVM programming. Having grown up in the Boston area, Ann learned the books of the New Testament during Vacation Church School at HC/HC, in the very classroom that now, in renovated form, is the Office of Vocation & Ministry. Her research interests include any and all topics related to an Orthodox theology of vocation and ministry; the history and contemporary practice of Christian Religious Education; hermeneutic of retrieval for the use of Patristic texts for the formation of today's educators; evaluation methodologies and practices for ministry; Christian faith and higher education; and youth ministry. She is extremely thankful for the opportunity to serve through this initiative. Tel: (617) 850-1308 Contact Ann M. Bezzerides
Michael Tishel, CrossRoad Director, is an alum of Gordon College with a BA in Comparative Historical Theology, and receives his Masters in Theology from the Aristotle University of Thessalonika. He has been involved in youth ministry both on the high school and college levels for a number of years, working as a youth and young adult leader at his parish, for his diocese and for National Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Mike is grateful for the opportunity to serve God and his neighbor through the CrossRoad Summer Institute. Tel: (617)850-1309 Contact Michael Tishel.
Anna Colis, CrossRoad Assistant Director and OVM Development Intern, is an alumna of Illinois Wesleyan University with a B.A. in English Literature and a M.Div. candidate at Holy Cross (2013). Anna has focused her studies in religious education. She has also completed a certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University's Center for Professional Studies. An alumna of CrossRoad herself (2005), she has served as staff and administrator for CrossRoad as well as other camps and youth ministry programs throughout the Chicago and Boston Metropolises.
Nicolaos Tzetzis, Development Intern and Web Developer, is a recent graduate of Holy Cross (2013) where he received his M.Div. after graduating from Binghamton University with a degree in Political Science. Through a Farah Foundation grant to the OVM, he is currently taking courses in Fundraising and Non-profit Development at the Indiana University Lily School of Philanthropy. Niko was on CrossRoad staff in 2012 after spending the summers of 2009-2011 working as the Orthodox Life director at the Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp in Rose City, MI. He has worked for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministries since 2009, and he has started his own photography and graphic design company.
Rev. Nicholas Triantafilou, President, Hellenic College Holy Cross, is fully committed to the program aims of the Office of Vocation & Ministry. He believes that every opportunity should be made for young women and men to explore their Orthodox faith in light of their personal goals, whether as a full-time matriculated student at Hellenic College or through one of the other programs sponsored by or at Hellenic College. He believes that developing a new generation of leaders for the Orthodox Church in North America is a primary educational objective of the College, and is particularly concerned about increasing the number of potential clergy for Greek Orthodox parishes in the United States.
Demetrios Katos, PhD., Dean of Hellenic College and Professor of Religious Studies. Dean Katos earned his doctorate from The Catholic University of America, his M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and his undergraduate degree from New York University. Dean Katos devotes his research to the theology, history, and intellectual culture of Christian antiquity, and he specializes in early Christian spiritual and mystical traditions. As Dean of Hellenic College, he is a foremost supporter and advocate of strengthening and expanding OVM programs, seeing them as vital for the student population. He also sees a larger structural necessity, citing in a recent report, "In addition to strengthening a half-generation of future church leaders that have come through all the new programs it created… the OVM has created a core cadre of indispensable leaders in the administration of HC whose vision, energy, and capacity for execution has stimulated a transformation of the broader institutional and campus culture."
The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College trains and educates faithful, energetic, high achieving, and service oriented Orthodox Christian young people to be leaders in the church as priests and lay people.
CrossRoad June Session: June 21-July 1, 2014
CrossRoad Session 2: July 5-15, 2014
OVM programs are made possible through the generous assistance of the following organizations: