Each Orthodox Christian family is
called to make their home “ἡ κατ᾽οἶκον ἐκκλησίαν,” a “home church;” i.e.,
a sacred place and one of prayer where spouses and children live a Godly life.
Every parish is, in fact, a “family of
families,” a sacred place of prayer where the local Christian community teaches and lives a
life in Christ.
The teaching of the Orthodox Church is that
the Church is the Bishop and the faithful gathered with him: “Wherever the bishop shall appear,
there let the people also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the fullness of the Church”
(Saint Ignatius of Antioch (AD 30-117), Epistle to the Church in Smyrna, Chapter 8).
It is therefore proper and right that the faithful
of the Metropolis — the family of its parishes — gather with our father and chief shepherd,
His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah, on a regular basis. Indeed, in this gathering the catholicity of the
Church is manifest.
Thus on a biennial basis Metropolitan Isaiah calls
the Local Clergy-Laity Assembly, the Philoptochos Convention, and the Church Music Federation Convention, as
well as the Clergy in their Retreat and all the faithful laity to assemble together as one family in Christ
for prayer, worship, fellowship, and education.
What is required to join this biennial gathering? What
are the various Assemblies and Conventions? Who can attend? The answers to these questions are provided
in the following sections!
What is the "Local" (Metropolis) Clergy-Laity Assembly?
Assembly of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver is convened biennially
by His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah in accordance with the
2007 Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The Assembly meets
a year prior to the biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox
Archdiocese of America so that any necessary resolutions or recommendations
can be forwarded to the Congress for consideration.
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Our 2013 Metropolis of Denver
Clergy-Laity Assembly will convene May 31 and June 1, 2013 in Kansas City,
The Assembly deals
with matters affecting the life and growth of the Parishes within the Metropolis.
These include the spiritual well-being of the faithful, the uniform governance
of the Parishes, educational programs, financial programs, and philanthropic
concerns as well as with the better organization and effectiveness of the Parishes.
The Local Assembly also submits proposals and recommendations to the Archdiocese
for submission to the next Congress.
The members of the
Assembly are: the Metropolitan, the Chancellor, the members of the Metropolis
Council, the Vice President of the Metropolis Philoptochos Board, members of the
Archdiocesan Council within the Metropolis, and clergy and lay representatives
of the parishes. Each parish may have four representatives: the parish Priest;
the parish council president of the Parish Council, and two members of the
What is the Metropolis Philoptochos Biennial Convention?
The word “philoptochos” translates
to mean “friends of the poor,” but the name does not even begin to describe the
many facets of the organization. The Greek Orthodox ladies of Philoptochos are involved in all areas
of philanthropy. Whether it be on a global scale, such as helping earthquake and tsunami victims, or
at the local level, helping a struggling parishioner to pay a bill, Philoptochos seeks to serve those
in need. Following the dictates of Christ, they aid those who are in physical or emotional pain, work
in homeless shelters, conduct food drives, raise funds for cancer, autism & other medical needs. They
help their parishes in countless ways; they extend theit hand to as many as possible. As they do this
Christian work, they find not only the joy of giving and helping, but also of creating fellowship and
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The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos
Society, Inc., is the duly accredited women’s philanthropic society of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
of America. The mission of the Society shall be:
• To help the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed,
the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, the handicapped, the victims of disasters, to undertake
the burial of impoverished persons and to offer assistance to anyone who may need the help of the
Church through fund raising efforts; and
The charitable work of the Society shall be performed with discretion, courtesy and kindness.
• To promote the charitable, benevolent, and philanthropic purposes of the Greek
Orthodox Archdiocese of America, through instructional programs, presentations, lectures, seminars
and other educational resources;
• To preserve and perpetuate Orthodox Christian concepts and the Orthodox Christian
Family, and through them, to promote the Greek Orthodox Faith and traditions, in accordance with
its doctrines, canons, discipline, divine worship, usages and customs;
• To promote participation in the activities of the Greek Orthodox community, with
the cooperation of the Parish Priest and the Parish Council.
The Metropolis Philoptochos Biennial Conference
is held in the year prior to the National Philoptochos Biennial Conference which takes place in
conjunction with the Biennial Archdiocese Clergy-Laity Congress.
The 2013 Metropolis of Denver
Biennial Philoptochos Conference will convene May 31 and June 1, 2013 in Kansas City,
here to go to the Metropolis Philoptochos home page.
What is the Church Music Federation Convention?
The Metropolis Church Music Federation
was founded in 1975. Its purpose is to serve the church musically through assisting the growth
and development of its member parish choirs. The annual Church Music Federation Convention
includes musical and spiritual workshops, rehearsals, and social activities with the high point
being the singing by the combined choirs of the Federation of the Divine Liturgy written by
The 2013 Metropolis of Denver
Church Music Federation Conference will take place May 31 through June 2, 2013 in
Kansas City, Missouri.
here to go to the Metropolis Church Music
Federation home page.
Prior to convening the Assembly, the
clergy gather for a spiritual retreat.
The Spring 2015 Clergy Retreat
will take place April 28 through 30, 2015 in Houston, Texas.
here to go to the Clergy Retreat page.
What is the “Κατ᾽οἶκον ἐκκλησίαν”, the “Home Church”?
greet the church that is in their house.” Romans 16:5
is more than human. It is a ‘microvasileia,’ a miniature kingdom,
which is the little house of the Lord.” Saint Clement of Alexandria
everything should be secondary compared to our concern with children,
and their upbringing in the instruction and teaching of the Lord.” Saint John Chrysostom
to our Orthodox tradition, the “Κατ᾽οἶκον ἐκκλησία”
or “Home Church” is a sacred place and one of
prayer. Within our Holy Orthodox Christian faith, each Christian family
is considered a Home Church or “little church,” the smallest unit of
Christian community, faith, and practice. It is in this Orthodox
Christian home that one lives out his Orthodox Christian faith. The
Gospel of Saint Matthew records Jesus as saying: “For where two or
three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of
them (Matthew 18:20).” What is the Orthodox home if not two or more gathered
together in the Name of Christ? The lives of the members that comprise
this “little church” revolve around our Savior. It is a Christ center
home. Each family, being part of the Ecclesia (Church), is responsible
with much the same diakonia (ministry) as the local parish church;
namely worship, Christian brotherhood, philanthropy, instruction in the
faith, growth in virtue, evangelism, philoxenia and acts of compassion
the Home Church, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ reigns and His love
is felt by all. It is there that both the Christian parents and their
children practice their faith daily through fasting, repentance,
confession, obedience, love, righteousness, word of God and Christian
virtues. The parents teach their children by example otherwise they will
not be successful in their effort to build the necessary Christian
foundation upon which their children will built upon. The holy Apostle
says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are
above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind
on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:1-2).”
Orthodox Christian family must always practice true asceticism. As
Orthodox Christians we have received Christ's exalted resurrection life
in Holy Baptism, and we need to keep on seeking the ultimate and
spiritual glories of the age to come. We must always remember our
baptism and live according to His Resurrection! We must continue to seek
our true life in our Lord Jesus Christ, awaiting the heavenly and
the “little church” is under fire and evil forces are attempting
not only to undermine it but to destroy it completely. We, however, must
remain steadfast in our faith and maintain the Christian character,
ethos and integrity of the κατ᾽οἶκον ἐκκλησία according to the
teachings of our Savior Christ and His Saints. Standing up to the
affliction and challenges of the world produces great virtue. Saint John
Chrysostom writes: “For such is the nature of affliction — when it lays
hold of a brave and noble soul, this is what it is wont to effect. And
as the fire makes the pieces of gold, when it is applied to it, of
better proof: so also affliction when it visits golden characters
renders them purer and more proven.” And Saint Paul the holy Apostle
adds: “Affliction worketh patience, and patience probation ... More than
that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces
endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces
hope (Romans 5:3-4).”
blessing that is offered for the Christian couple during the marriage
ceremony affirms the inherent significance and dignity of Christian
parenting: “Unite them in one mind and one flesh, and grant unto them
fair children for education in faith and fear.” The blessing or prayer
reveals that the vocation of marriage and parenthood must be
Christ-centered and thus marriage and parenting is according to the will
Christian parents must make every effort possible to learn and
practice their faith. Only then will they be able to teach their
children and to raise godly, moral, caring, truthful, virtuous people.
There are many distractions today but we must stay focused and keep our
Lord in our sights. Remember Martha the sister of Lazarus and what Jesus
said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many
things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part
which will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41-42).” The “one
thing” needed was for her to listen to Christ, to hear His Divine words.
This is also what we must always do and make Christ and His Divine words
our greatest priority.
By the Reverend Protopresbyter George D. Konstantopoulos,
Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox Church, South Bend, Indiana, Metropolis of Chicago