Down The Road 2016 CrossRoad Newsletter
A TALE OF LOVE IN ACTION
by Michael Tishel,CrossRoad Director Once upon a time, there lived a peasant boy. His parents worked very hard to support their children, but often the family would go to bed hungry and without hope. One day the messenger of a great and powerful king visited the family’s cottage, and told the little boy that he had been chosen to represent his village at the royal court, where the king would present him with a magnificent gift for the benefit of all. The boy’s imagination soared to suits of armor that would be used to defeat evil tyrants and rooms filled with treasure chests of gold and precious jewels. The trip was difficult and lasted many weeks. By the time the boy arrived, riding on the back of the messenger’s horse, he was trembling with excitement. He practically ran to the royal throne, forgetting everything that his father had told him about “how to behave in front of elders.” Proclaiming “I’m here, Your Majesty!” to the king, he awaited his gift with noticeable impatience. The sage king bowed down with a warm smile and a twinkle in his eye, and motioned to 2
his servant to retrieve the gift. The servant approached carrying a gold-enameled box, half the size of the boy himself. He handed it to the king, who opened it with an enormous key and gazed lovingly and longingly at its mysterious contents. The boy was wriggling with glee and desperately tried to catch a glimpse of what royal treasure lay within. “Patience, my boy,” the king whispered. Suddenly the trumpets called the courtiers to attention; the king arose with an air of solemnity, stooped down to meet the boy eye-to-eye, and nodded approvingly for him to take a look. The boy peered over the edge of the golden chest. His eye fell upon a beautifully embroidered red-velvet cushion. But he was confused; at first it seemed as if there was nothing else. He looked up at the king, who reassuringly motioned for him to look again. Resting in a small crevice in the middle of the cushion, lay something almost imperceptible to the naked eye. The boy’s heart sank. “What sort of royal treasure is this?” he asked himself. Before he could CrossRoad
utter a word, however, the king began to speak:
THIS, MY CHILD, IS A ROYAL SEED. IT COMES FROM THE BIGGEST AND OLDEST TREE IN OUR KINGDOM AND IS TO BE PLANTED IN FERTILE SOIL AT THE CENTER OF YOUR VILLAGE. WITH A LITTLE PATIENCE AND CARE YOU MUST TEND TO IT AND WATCH IT GROW… The king continued, but the rest of the encounter was a blur to the boy. After the king was finished, he turned and disappeared behind a curtain, leaving the boy bewildered and dejected. With a heaviness that all could see, the boy picked up the seed and placed it in a small leather purse around his neck. He left the palace, crushed by the weight of his ruined dreams. When the boy arrived at his village, his family and the villagers gathered around him with eager expectation, waiting for some news of what he had received. He walked as if leading a funeral procession, yet was followed by a joyous crowd. At the center of the village, the boy took the seed from his purse, dug a small hole in the ground, and placed the tiny seed into the fertile ground. The villagers observed the scene with a mixture of awe and confusion. Many also had hoped for immediate grandeur and were angry with the boy and with the king. The elders among the peasants responded differently; their faces beamed and their eyes were filled with joy. The boy was tired and confused. Years passed. Every day the boy, who was nearing the end of his adolescence, would pass by the village center with a small pail of water to tend to the seedling that had now grown into a shrub-like tree. He would quietly prune its branches and pull out any surrounding weeds. He did this all with an air of dutiful but resigned obligation, never quite having let go of his crushed expectations, but somehow clinging to his royal vocation for reasons that he could not explain. One hot summer’s day, as he was plucking dead Down the Road 2016
leaves off of his little sapling, a small sparrow flew beneath its tiny branches and started to drink the water from his watering pail. He stared in amazement as the bird delighted in the water and the shade that the sapling provided. Suddenly the words of the king returned to him from the day he was given the seed, when all was a blur.
THERE IT WILL GROW FOR ALL TO BEHOLD, TALLER AND LARGER THAN YOUR LITTLE MIND CAN IMAGINE. IT IS SMALL, BUT LIFE IS HIDING DEEP WITHIN IT, WAITING TO BURST FORTH. SOON, EVERYONE WILL MARVEL AT ITS BEAUTY. BIRDS AND BEASTS WILL SEEK REFUGE UNDER ITS BRANCHES, AND ITS FRUIT WILL NOURISH THE ENTIRE VILLAGE. Though the growth of this young tree had seemed almost imperceptible to him over the years, suddenly the boy’s work in tending to its needs was infused with a renewed sense of purpose and dignity. His small project became a potential means for him to provide nourishment and inspiration for his immediate family and for his village family. He cared with love and gentleness for his royal gift, trusting that someday the king’s promise would be fulfilled. 3
ABOUT DOWN THE ROAD Down the Road is a newsletter for the alumni of the CrossRoad Summer Institute, published annually by the Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Office of Vocation & Ministry 50 Goddard Avenue Brookline, MA 02445 Phone: 617-850-1310 Fax: 617-850-1408 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editing and Production: Mike Tishel (CrossRoad Director) Kyra Limberakis (CrossRoad Asst. Director) Melissa Christ (OVM Development Intern) Tina Felactu (OVM Programs Manager) Ann Mitsakos Bezzerides, PhD (OVM Director) Layout and Design: Zach Nicholas Line Editor: Tanya Contos
IN THIS ISSUE 2
10 Loukas Nicholas Kond 11 Kyra Limberakis 13 Lily Talmers 16 Alumni Advisory Board 18 Dr. Albert Rossi 22 Bradley Delmar 22 Spyridoula Fotinis 24 Alex Birbilis 25 FACULTY Updates 26 STAFF Updates 29 Upcoming Events 30 CrossRoaders Out on the Road
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TRANSCENDING THE TITLES Antigone Kithas, June ‘07
L ife is not a bout a title .
L ife is a bout a person.
Seven (almost eight!) years ago, I met a group of strangers from all over the country who shared a devotion to their Orthodox faith. I came to CrossRoad after finishing my junior year of high school, and I lived in a world where titles were everything. When I left CrossRoad, I had a deeper understanding of and devotion to my faith, but I also had a more open perspective that the program had taught me to have when I looked at the world and the people within it who were hidden behind all of the titles.
I still have my CrossRoad t-shirt; it sits proudly in my drawer and I wear it frequently to remind myself of the lessons I learned during the most rewarding ten days of my life. At CrossRoad, I learned that God is ultimately beyond our comprehension. He has ‘titles’ yet there is a sense in which we will never get to know who He is, fully. We will never exhaust our knowledge of Him no matter how deep we go in our relationship with Him. We hear in Job that “God is great, and we know him
not…” (Job 26:36). So, how does this relate to us as we go about this gift of life we were given? We are created in the unknowable God’s image and likeness. Therefore, we bear the same characteristic of being ultimately unknowable. I think we all instinctively get this (that you can never exhaust your knowledge of another human, and that if you attempt to do so, it’s called ‘labeling’), but maybe we’re not conscious of it. Because we are people, and not static beings simply existing, we can always transcend the titles. However Down the Road 2016
many titles you have in life, even if they are the best ones, no one will ever be able to paint a complete and concrete picture of who you are, because there is always something more. Just as we will never be able to comprehend God fully, we will never fully see others around us completely, as there is always more to them than meets the eye. When we think we know all there is to know about a person, we should think about how we project titles onto them, and perhaps remove those titles and see people for who they really are. 7
FORGET THE DISTRACTIONS Lily Spirtos, July ‘14
As an eighteen-year-old Eastern the Great). People had stopped to watch a sax player Orthodox Christian, I have witfill the air with jazz music. Someone tilted his hat to nessed many people struggle with the concept of love. me and said, “Good evening.” A young man helped When I was younger, the idea of love seemed easy to an elderly woman into the bus. I looked around and understand. In Sunday school, our teachers explained noticed that all of these people instinctively showed that we’re “made in the image and likeness of God” love by stopping what they were doing and making and since we’re “brothers and sisters in Christ,” we themselves vulnerable to others. should love everyone equally. Those short phrases With vulnerability comes fear. “There is no fear made complete sense in my innocent mind. As I grew in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear up a bit, though, I noticed many people fall for love hath torment”(1 John 4:18). Passing a stranger rather lookalikes, making the concept of actual love harder to than pausing to recognize their presence by saying a grasp. For instance, modern technology allows people simple hello tends to feel easier for us because we fear to think they feel love with every ‘like’ or ‘favorite’ the stranger will judge us. Furthermore, “A tree is they receive on Instagram and Twitter. Certainly, known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is modern technology helps unite family and friends never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and all over the world and makes he who plants kindness a terrific impact on creating gathers love” (St. Basil). THERE IS NO FEAR IN LOVE; BUT opportunities for those living The absence of love apin developing countries, but PERFECT LOVE CASTETH OUT FEAR: pears when we hesitate to phones and laptops can also show kindness towards BECAUSE FEAR HATH TORMENT act as a barrier between peoothers, as St. Basil teaches. (1 JOHN 4:18) ple, causing the feeling of false Every year many young love and sometimes ruining Orthodox Christians look the chances for real relationships. Often, when certain forward to going to summer camp. Love fills the air; public settings force us to look into people’s eyes and everyone drops their cool card, gives up their phones, indulge in conversation, many of us feel vulnerable and lets go of the outside world and seeks a closer relauncomfortable, but the cost of love is vulnerability. tionship with God. This summer at camp someone This summer I took a trip to New York City, a busy asked, “What happens now as we all go home to the city where you can’t bury your face in a phone bereal world?” The director replied, “My child, this is the cause paying attention to the environment around you real world.” As a past camper, I have realized we need becomes vital in order to stay alive. One evening I was to act like the disciples of Christ and bring the camp walking down the block and suddenly realized I was lifestyle to our everyday life, similar to how they travsurrounded by “love in action.” St. Basil taught, “Since eled to spread the word of God. Take the time to step we received a command to love God, we possess from away from earthly distractions, notice the beauty that the first moment of our existence an innate power and surrounds us, and show love in action towards each ability to love” (Detailed Rules for Monks, St. Basil other, and therefore towards Christ.
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LOVE AS THE CREATOR LOVES
Loukas Nicholas Kondyles July ‘15 A passage from Romans 12:9-21 encapsulates love in action more than I could ever conjure myself. Paul claims that we should “not be overcome by evil, but instead overcome evil with good.” That in itself is powerful because we so often wish to fight fire with fire. Conversely, we are called to not fight at all, but remain in peace, faith, and love. Earlier in the passage, Paul states that love should be genuine and the only competition we should have with our brother is to outdo him in HONOR. It can be extremely difficult to do this at times. When all we want to do is act out in retaliation towards our neighbor, the lesson to love the people around us unconditionally—as if they were our own flesh and blood—gets clouded or forgotten. We need to constantly humble ourselves or God will humble us. The proposition I have is simple: we should challenge ourselves to love the way our own Creator loves, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
As His creations, we are designed to be His reflection, to bring to someone’s attention how unfathomably valued they are, regardless of what their story may entail. Our hearts are the location where all this takes place. Do we not pray from the heart when we worship Him? At that moment God doesn’t see our iniquities or where we have fallen short, He actually forgives and forgets this part of us. “I, even I, am He who blots your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25). When we approach Him in this manner, our Lord pours into and purifies our souls, cleansing our innermost being from any stain. This is how we should regard others! It is not their faults that matter, but their potential to love and be loved. That’s what a heart consists of and that’s the only place where love can thrive. This is the direction and focus we should take as Orthodox Christians as we struggle in our day-to-day lives to love and connect with the people surrounding us.
“FEED MY SHEEP”
Kyra Limberakis, CR Assistant Director Staff ‘14, June ‘09
re the words, “I love you” overused today? Recently I’ve noticed that they are often exaggerated and mindlessly placed at the end of a conversation, text message, or hashtag without much thought. We know that we need to tell our loved ones that we love them, but I can’t help but wonder if we have become numb to the deep and complex meaning that lies beneath those words. When I utter them swiftly in passing or use them as a caption below a photo, do I mean them? My intention in this article is not for us to say “I love you” less. Rather, it is a challenge to take a closer look at the responsibility that accompanies those words by actually being willing to live a Christ-like love when we say it. As humans, we cannot fully comprehend the Down the Road 2016
magnitude of those three words—perhaps that’s why we throw them around so casually. As Orthodox Christians, however, we know that we will never fully understand them; we live our lives constantly working towards that truth and a lived experience of Christ’s love. In Scripture, we hear countless examples of the greatness and transcendence of love. In 1 Corinthians 13, St. Paul identifies love as the greatest gift: “And now abide in faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” In Matthew 22, Christ teaches that love of God and neighbor are the greatest commandments. In 1 John 4 we hear that “God is love,” and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” It is clear from these few excerpts that love is not just a simple emotion 11
or warm feeling. Love is a selfless action, love is our neighbor, love is Jesus Christ, and we were called into existence through His love. Therefore, to be our most full and authentic selves in the eyes of God, we must give love so that Christ may dwell within us. When we look at Christ’s ministry, we see that His love for humanity was shown through more than just His words; they were embodied in His every action. Even when He shared words of wisdom with His disciples, it was when He showed them through His many miracles and selfless actions, His transfiguration, crucifixion, and resurrection that they began their journey towards understanding Christ’s unconditional love for them. We are then called to action—called to live out that love in both our words and our deeds, so that when we say, “I love you,” we are simultaneously offering our willingness to, in the words of a friend, “suffer, be joyful, sacrifice, and find peace with the people we love.” Furthermore, we are specifically called to love the people we would never say, “I love you” to. Our efforts to better serve and love those close to our hearts should form the basis for the nature of love we offer to all of God’s children. Let us recall the passage in John 21, when Christ asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Peter’s response each time rings, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” How does Christ respond? With a call to action: “Feed my lambs. Tend to my sheep. Feed my sheep.”
A NANNY’S EDUCATION IN PURITY OF HEART Lily Talmers, July ‘15
“Well, I’m sure you get paid a lot.” That’s the most common reaction I get upon revealing that I chose to be a full-time nanny this summer. To people’s surprise, I don’t do it for the money. I love my job and not because endless patience comes naturally to me. It’s also not because I enjoy cleaning up constant messes and returning home exhausted nearly every day. It’s because my favorite beatitude is “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God,” (Matt 5:8) and working with children reminds me of that verse every day. I gave up spending time with a lot of my friends this summer. My best friends for the past three months Down the Road 2016
have been ages nine and four. I spend my days running through the sprinkler, or working a lemonade stand. I go on hikes, slide down slides, and listen to never-ending observations of what a bug on the ground looks like. When I’m with Alice and Tim, the children I nanny, things are pure and simple, and I am reminded of every little blessing that God gives us. I see the smiles that the sprinkler on a hot day brings, or the surprise of the ice cream truck. I answer endless questions on every aspect of God’s creation (or each of God’s creatures) from cats in the pet store to rhinos in the zoo. I take the time every day to point out and observe the birds in the sky or the 13
ants on the sidewalk. It is surely tedious at times, but they remind me of the things I so often overlook as an “old person,” which, in their eyes, is what I am. But when I’m not doing those types of things, I’m cleaning up accidents, mediating arguments, and wiping away the tears over nap times, time outs, or lost toys. I struggle through the monotony of repeating myself continually, or playing the same game for hours on end. My job is not always fun. Nannying is not for the faint of heart, but it certainly brings one closer to becoming pure in heart. I see God not only in the innocence and purity that I observe in children, but in dealing with their ups and downs, and having 14
a deeper understanding of the nature of God’s love for us. I have begun to understand how He can love us unconditionally through every sin and every mistake we make. He loves us no matter how patient He has to be, or how long it takes for us to see what He is trying to teach us. God watches as we experience His grace, but also as we experience sorrow, confusion, and anger. I love Olivia and Leon, not because of the cute things they say or how they make me laugh. I love them because they remind me why I am loved. They, like all children, are imperfect. It is in that imperfection that we come to see the beauty of God’s love.
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ALUMNI ADVISORY BOARD COMMUNICATIONS
This year, the Communications team has been involved with helping the Office of Vocation & Ministry by publicizing and photographing the “Call to Lead” Leadership Summit, which was held at Hellenic College Holy Cross in March 2015. Additionally, with the cooperation of the rest of the Alumni Advisory Board, the Communications team has helped restructure the mission statement of the Board, as well as altering its application process and non-disclosure statements.
Our Social Media/Tech team has redesigned the alumni website! The new site can be found through the Alumni tab on the main CrossRoad website, http://www.crossroadinstitute.com. We are working on improvements throughout the rest of the year. We hope that, once complete, it will be an invaluable
The Missions team is planning a service-based trip for summer 2016! Please let us know if you have any dream destinations or project ideas the CrossRoad alumni could participate in. More information will be forthcoming.
resource for alumni looking to stay connected and continue to explore their vocation wherever they find themselves in life. If you have any suggestions of material that you’d like to see, please contact us!
The Mentoring team is excited to announce that we have interviewed our incoming mentors for the 2015-2016 school year. Up next, we will be training our awesome mentors to be a great fit for our
CrossRoad mentees who have just entered college. Mentors and mentees will complete discussions and questions with in-depth readings to further their understanding of vocation, especially with their transition to college. The Mentoring team is extremely thrilled start this project!
SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE The Alumni Advisory Board Sustainability committee is delighted to announce that we have exceeded our goal of $7,500 for the launch of the Sophia Bambalis
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Alumni Scholarship Fund! We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed to the fund. Your support enabled us to offer scholarship aid to 13 participants this summer who otherwise might not have been able to attend CrossRoad. We thank our fellow alumni for uniting to support our future CrossRoad brothers and sisters. We are excited for this fund to grow and pray that it will continue to support the CrossRoad community. Please continue to spread the word about the fund and support it however you are able!
Support future CrossRoaders! Click or tap here to donate to the Sophia Bambalis Scholarship Fund today! Or visit npo.justgive.org/ovmhc
REMEMBERING FATHER HOPKO by Dr. Albert Rossi
ather Thomas Hopko is a grandfather of CrossRoad. He mentored Ann Bezzerides when she was a student at St Vladimir’s Seminary. He encouraged her and provided help to propel her to a doctorate at Boston College. He supported her when she was hired to start CrossRoad. Later when he became ill, he told me he refused every speaking invitation except CrossRoad. He loved CrossRoad. So he is not only a grandfather of the CrossRoad program, he is also the grandfather of each of you, CrossRoad alums. Perhaps it is time to pray to him for fatherly and grandfatherly guidance now that he is in heaven. Father Tom and I had a deep friendship that spanned 35 years. He was my spiritual father, brother, friend, and confidant, all wrapped into one. If I were to choose one word to describe him, I would choose the word ‘humble,’ in the complete sense of the word. He related to each person, eye to eye, without any air of superiority. He often referred to himself as a “peasant priest” because of his modest childhood. We know that he was a giant among theologians and pastors of souls. Yet he remained an equal to everyone he met. One anecdote summarizes my awe of him. I wrote a little book called Becoming a Healing Presence for Ancient Faith Publishing. I hoped he would write a
Foreword for the book, but I knew he was seriously ill. I didn’t call because I didn’t want to put him on the spot. Rather, I emailed to give him time to ponder the matter and I said that I fully understood if he couldn’t. He responded immediately with a clear yes. Within a short time he wrote the Foreword and emailed it. Then he called on the phone. I was surprised by the tone of his voice. He sounded healthy but he sounded like a young boy. He asked, “So, Al, what did you think of my Foreword?” I was stunned. I knew that I was the one who should be asking his opinion, not vice versa. I said, “Well, Father Tom, I will tell you the truth. I am thrilled by your Foreword.” He said simply, “I’m thrilled that you’re thrilled.” That phone interchange speaks volumes about Father Tom’s humility. He was far superior to me in every way. Yet I knew it was important to him to hear what I had to say. The Foreword is remarkably personal and vulnerable. He writes of his own weaknesses and shortcomings.
I was honored to be apart of Fr. Thomas’s class. He was not only a man of unfathomable wisdom, but a man of God, filled with love for all. With each word he spoke, he spoke the word of God and defended Him to the last breath. He helped me to see the love that God has for us and helped me to make sense of it all. Fr. Thomas led by example He loved and he listened. He was humble and wise. He took the time to speak to us mere teenagers because he wanted to spread the word of God and help us. He took no credit for his wisdom, more the love he gave, but credited all to our Lord, which in itself is a lesson I will not forget. -Chryse Kruse June ‘14
Here is another anecdote that some people don’t know. At his funeral one of his daughters told me that she was with him during his last days. His illness was grave and incurable. It was clear to everybody that he needed to go into hospice to receive proper care. So arrangements were made. They took Father Tom and his wheelchair in the car to hospice. After arriving, it took quite a bit of time to do the required paper work. Father Tom sat patiently. Then it was time to take him upstairs on the elevator to his room. They pushed the wheelchair into the elevator so that the back of the wheelchair was against the back of the elevator, with Father Tom looking out. As God would have it, a confused man then came to the front of the elevator. The man looked above the open door to the numbers overhead. Then the man looked to the right and left Finally he looked into the elevator and asked Father Tom, “Are you going up?” Father Tom replied, “I hope so.” Father Tom went to hospice to prepare to die and in that process retained his faith and his sense of humor to the very end. CrossRoad was uniquely special for Father Tom. I
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know that he refused many requests to teach because he penciled in CrossRoad in June as his top priority. For years he and I would plan a Friday evening dinner at the Bertucci’s near campus. Our dinner would last for two hours and we would, to use current language, hang out. We talked freely and openly about everything that came to mind. The conversation had a free spirit, a free flow that had no agenda. We just talked. Then we would walk to the local ice cream parlor, only a couple of stores away. We had a cup of salty caramel ice cream and continued our conversation. Those were moments we both treasured. This past June had an emptiness for me. Father Tom was no longer on this planet and we could no longer have our extended evenings together. But, I also know that he is more present to me and with me than he ever was on this earth. Of that I have no doubt. Father Tom Hopko was a humble man, a human being who showed the rest of us what it means to be fully human, to be Christ-like. Yes, he was a brilliant professor and a priest’s priest. But most of all, Father Tom was a healing presence for a multitude of us.
AT THE END OF YOUR LIFE, GOD ISN'T G
THE THEOTOKOS' OR 'WHY WEREN'T YOU LIKE
TO ASK YOU IS, 'WHY WEREN'T YOU THE P
–FR. THOMAS HOPKO, CROSSROA
GOING TO ASK YOU, 'WHY WEREN'T YOU LIKE
E ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST?' WHAT HE'S GOING
PERSON WHO I CREATED YOU TO BE?
AD ALUMNI RETREAT, MARCH 2008
LOVE BEYOND ILLUSION
Spyridoula Fotinis, July ‘15
father sits across the table from his son, excited for their yearly dinner. But as the father looks up, no one is there. Instead, a blue light flickers across the boy’s face as he laughs to himself, texting, playing, and completely absorbed. The meal comes and goes, while the father patiently waits for his son to look up. But the glowing wall continues to grow larger and
larger, until the son is connected to everything but the reality around him, separated from the person who loves him the most. We live in a world of estranged strangers, where everyone is afraid to say hello or acknowledge someone with a smile. ‘Stranger danger’ we are taught and lock ourselves up inside to avoid “dangerous” people. We are not living; instead, we are caged beings trying to reach out and connect through means of social media. Connected, but alone.
MADE IN CHRIST’S IMAGE Bradley Delmar, July ‘15
t was the middle of August and I was at a party. Some of my friends and I were hanging out on the porch. Suddenly one of my friends (let’s call him Jack) came up to me and the host of the party and told us he needed someone to give him a ride to get his brother Frank to a friend’s house. Jack went on to explain that Frank’s best friend had just fallen off his bike and really needed some support. At first I was extremely hesitant. Frank had a reputation as one of the “bad kids” and so did many of his friends. For this I (wrongly) treated him poorly and judged him too quickly. Ultimately I came around and agreed to give his brother Frank a ride. When we picked up Frank, he was pretty distressed, but he was unusually quiet. On the way over, we started talking. Earlier in the summer, Frank had found out I was going to college for Religious Studies. He started asking me a lot of questions about college and about my faith. At first it confused me why he would be asking these questions, but he seemed very inter22
ested, so we kept talking. In the end it was a very nice conversation. On the way back from dropping off Frank, Jack thanked me for this. What struck me, though, was that he explained that, even though Frank wasn’t always the best kid, he was a very religious kid. He was especially grateful to me for talking to Frank about what I am studying and talking about my faith. All this time I treated him poorly, yet he and I had so much in common. Though we weren’t both of the same faith (he is a Lutheran and I am an Orthodox), we still were able to connect over this shared desire to be faithful to God. This was likely the last time I saw Frank before heading off to college and possibly even the last time I will ever see him. When I was in that car driving and talking to him, I felt like the many years of animosity just melted away. Unlike before, when we would most likely see each other as the punk and the rude guy, we saw each other as people. We saw each other as people made in the image of Christ. CrossRoad
Amidst the isolation, love is everywhere. Love is found in building a home for a less fortunate family, celebrating a Moleben (Supplication to the Panagia) service with one voice and one heart with people from every ethnicity and religion, or even giving a compliment to a stranger in Walmart. Love goes beyond the passing good feeling and is truly found in the essence of sacrifice. The Ultimate Sacrifice is Christ crucified on the Cross. I was taught that even if I were the only person in the world, Christ would still find a way to be crucified for my sins. That is ultimate Love; true, pure, sincere, divine, and inexpressible in language. It completely engulfs us as human beings and drives our existence. We are made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore we are images of Love and it is our calling, our vocation, to be
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Love by emptying ourselves of the â€˜gunkâ€™ of this world. The blue light flickering across our faces is haunting when we choose to be isolated in our comfortable lives. If we are to love, we must sacrifice. We must empty ourselves of our desires and reach out to our neighbors. Elder Porphyrios says that by helping your neighbor, in humility, you come to love Christ even more (St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia, Wounded By Love, p. 180). We get a taste of Divine Love, creating an insatiable desire for Christ and His people. We are the boy who is engulfed in the cares of this world, locked up in our caves of illusion. Christ patiently waits for us to look up: to free ourselves through His overflowing Love and, to share it by our actions with those who are locked in their own caves, waiting to find the Love that will set them free.
GOD, I WAS LATE TO CHURCH TODAY! Alex Birbilis, July ‘15
God, I was late to church today. I left my house on time. The traffic wasn’t bad. The weather was beautiful. But I was late to church today. I was late to church today because I saw a sign. A sign that was held by a woman and her young daughter on the side of the road which read “4 children. No money. No food. Please help.” I was late to church today because I went to the grocery store. I was late to church today because I bought chicken, macaroni and cheese, bagels, and peanut butter sandwiches. I was late to church today because I wanted to throw in a little extra something for the kids, so I went to find some chocolate chip cookies and M&Ms. I was late to church today because I gave five grocery bags to a woman who thanked me with tears in her eyes and told me that I made Jesus smile, and a packet of M&Ms to a little girl whose eyes lit up like it was Christmas when she saw them. I was late to church today because I saw the face of Jesus Christ in someone who needed my help. So, God, that’s why I was late to church today. I hope you’re okay with that. I think you are.
Dr. Michael Legaspi CrossRoad 2015 was a highlight of Dr. Legaspi’s summer. Things got much quieter after that as he spent time with family, wrote an article on the book of Habakkuk (he thinks everyone should become well acquainted with this little prophetic book), and continued work on his own book, which examines the concept of wisdom in the ancient world. “The more I work on it,” he says, “the less wise I realize I am.” With two kids in college (both at Haverford College) and two at home, he and his wife Abby are looking forward to a busy but fun school year.
R ev. Dr. Theodore Stylianopoulos
In the fifth year of his retirement, Fr. Ted continues to enjoy his shared office on campus, reading, studying, and writing. His new book, The Apostolic Gospel According to the New Testament, is about to go to press. After reading The Great Fire, a recent book on the burning of Smyrna in 1922, he read several others during the summer on the history of modern Greece up to World War II. In July he also taught a course on “The Message of the Gospels” to a group of men preparing for the diaconate. He and Presvytera Faye are delighted to spend as much time as possible with their seven grandchildren, all in the Boston area.
Dr. Demetrios K atos
Dr. A ristotle Papanikolaou
Dr. Katos, Dean of Hellenic College, has been busy working with the senior administration of Hellenic College Holy Cross to help V. Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos, D.Min. transition to his role as the new president. This past year, he was the main speaker for the Metropolis of Atlanta clergy retreat in South Carolina, where for three days he led workshops on theological reflection for more than 65 clergy.
Dr. Papanikolaou has been continuing his work as the Archbishop Demetrios Professor in Orthodox Theology and Culture at the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University. His research is focused on how Orthodox understandings of virtue can help us better understand and heal the effects of violence. He has been especially focused on reading about combat veterans’ experience of moral injury.
Down the Road 2016
R ev. Dr. R adu Bordeianu
Fr. Radu continues to be involved in the Christian-Jewish and Orthodox-Lutheran dialogues by participating in various international, national, and local encounters. He spoke on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in Canton, OH, on the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council at the Orthodox Theological Society of America’s meeting at Fordham University, and on the role of Orthodox observers at Vatican II at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. He published an article on the Orthodox contribution to a WCC document on the Church and is currently working on his second book.
Fr. Peter and Athanasia live in Dallas with their son Emmanuel. Right now she is working on her D.Min. disertation on lay ministry in the Orthodox Church. They are also expecting their second child in December. Please keep them in your prayers.
Fr. Luke A. Veronis Fr. Luke A. Veronis continues as Director of the Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity (www.MissionsInstitute.org) and is the pastor of Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Webster, MA (www.schwebster. org). This fall he organized an interesting and relevant conference entitled “Speaking to Secular America: How the Church Is Reaching Out to the Non-Religious of Our Society,” held on October 28-30, 2015. This past summer Fr. Luke led his annual summer class to Albania with 11 students from Hellenic College Holy Cross and St. Tikhon’s Seminary.
STAFF UPDATES Ted Cherpas Ted is working as the Camp Director for the Metropolis of Pittsburgh. He greatly enjoys praying for and working with the youth of the Metropolis, and especially loves telling them stories which help them grow in their faith. 26
George Bryant After teaching as a literature intern at a private school this summer, and enjoying the fresh air up at St. Timothy’s summer camp in upstate NY, George is continuing his M.T.S. at the “Holy Hill”. He’s looking to teach at an independent boarding school in New England or out West.
Dn. Kosmas (Michael) and A nna K allis Dn. Kosmas and Anna Kallis moved back from Thessaloniki and are now settled in Chicago. Dn. Kosmas was ordained to the Diaconate in October and is currently serving as the youth director at Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, IL. They miss their CrossRoadies everyday and send everyone all their love
Fr. Milad Selim Fr. Milad is now the Dean of St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester, MA and has two children, Natalie (3) and Noah (1). He and Kh. Nichole love seeing CrossRoad alumni from time to time at the Cathedral and hopes to reconnect with everyone soon.
Demitra L alli Demitra Lalli graduated from Hellenic College in December 2013. She is currently going into her second semester of an Accelerated Nursing CrossRoad
Program at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA. She has been enjoying every aspect of nursing and is thrilled to be pursuing her vocation! Staying connected with Crossroaders is such a blessing, as she loves learning how each one is uniquely serving God and neighbor. She sends everyone lots of love and prayers!
Joshua Pappas Joshua just earned his M.Div. from Holy Cross and is spending the year in Thessaloniki, Greece with his wife, Joanna. He’s enjoying an intensive Greek language course, worship services, visits to monasteries, leisurely meals, long walks, trips in Europe and Greece, and, of course, many frappés. One of the unexpected blessings thus far: spending an evening in Thessaloniki with Mike Tishel and his wife, Catherine, who were visiting while on a RealBreak trip.
Danielle (Hillas) Burikas Danielle’s husband, Fr. Dimitri, was ordained to the priesthood on August 23, 2015, and they are slowly adjusting to their new names/life. She is currently teaching fifth-and-sixthgrade social studies, science, and math at Guardian Angel Orthodox Day School and adapting to living in a flat place like Illinois.
Fr. Micah Hirschy Fr. Micah was married in 2011 to Anastasia Hartzes of Mobile, AL and was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood by Metropolitan ALEXIOS of Atlanta in December 2012. He currently serves as Ephemerios at the Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Birmingham, AL. He loves Birmingham, but dearly miss the snows of Minnesota and the chowdah in Boston.
Down the Road 2016
Nick Lionas Nick, Amanda, and Scotty are enjoying living in their home state of Michigan. Nick works as the pastoral assistant at St. John the Baptist GOC in Sterling Heights. Amanda is practicing social work as a foster care caseworker, and together they’re chasing Scotty around as he walks, talks, and laughs a lot!
Thanasi Pantazelos Thanasi Pantazelos received his MDiv from Holy Cross in 2010 (M.Div.) and worked for HCHC from 20102012. On November 8, 2014, he married his beautiful wife, Asimina (Boutzoukas) (whom he met through CrossRoad!) and they currently live in Massachusetts. She is working as a Nonprofit Management Consultant at the Bridgespan Group, and he has recently opened a new restaurant, ToppSalad Premium Salad Bar, in Danvers, MA.
Jonathan R esmini Jonathan is currently pursuing his doctoral studies at the Boston University School of Theology in Practical Theology and Spirituality Studies. He still travels, offering retreats, lectures, and sessions on spirituality and popular culture. His growing spiritual family, however, is his real passion—particularly his goddaughter, Roísín, the daughter of Fr. Timothy (CR Staff ‘10) and Kh. Nijmeh Curren.
Borislav Dinkov Borislav is back to school at HCHC. This is his fourth year in the seminary. He is livin’ the dream! He helped to welcome students during Orientation at HCHC! 27
Fr. Timothy Curren Fr. Timothy is finishing up two years as assistant pastor at St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church in Peabody, MA and is preparing to start work in September as Proistamenos of the Annunciation parish in Dover, NH. Father is looking forward to beginning this exciting new chapter in his ministry with Kh. Nijmeh and their little daughter, Roísín.
Fr. Paul Lundberg Fr. Paul was ordained to the priesthood at the end of March and is serving at the parish in Marietta, GA (a suburb of Atlanta).
Fr. Stavros and Pres. Ourania Chatzis It has been ten years since Father and Presvytera graduated from Holy Cross. Life has been filled with joys and struggles, all of which, they say, are shaping them spiritually. Father Stavros was ordained a priest on October 1, 2005, and he is the presiding priest at Holy Cross GOC in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where he has been serving for the past seven years. He enjoys being involved in Sunday School, but it’s more fun at home with their children Anna, born three months after finishing CrossRoad 2005, and Evangelos Michael, who joined the family two years later. They hope to visit the Holy Cross campus again one day.
agency and teaches at a local Pilates studio on the side while staying active in her local parish. She can often be found hanging out with her godson Loukas, born last year.
Agape Whisenant Since graduating from Holy Cross in 2011, Agape has been working in the oil and gas industry. She has spent time developing skills in various facets of the industry, both in the Permian Basin of West Texas and in the Bakken Play in North Dakota. Currently she’s the Operations Specialist at Garden Creek Gas Plant in Watford City, ND. While she is very much looking forward to moving back to civilization, she is thankful for the opportunities and provisions God has provided since her days at HCHC.
Jason Oneida This summer Jason had an unforgettable experience working on the CrossRoad 2015 staff. He is now going into his third year of studies at Holy Cross, working toward completing a Master of Divinity degree. This semester he will also be preparing to take the fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam in January as a first step back into his career field after graduation.
M ary Long After spending a year traveling abroad, Mary returned to her hometown of Austin, TX in 2012. She currently works as the Director of Operations for a pediatric healthcare
UPCOMING EVENTS St. Photios Faith & Learning Symposium Boston-area Orthodox college and graduate students will gather February 6, 2016 to hear from Orthodox scholars and academics on the topic of Orthodoxy and Bioethics. The event will include a keynote address, small-group discussions, a complimentary breakfast and lunch, and plenty of time
LOVE SHARE GIVE
to get to know one another. If you’re in the Boston area, we’d love you to join us for this event! Check out our website (http://vocations.hchc.edu) a few weeks before the event for more details or email Mike Tishel directly!
CrossRoad 2016 Session 1: June 18-28 Session 2: July 5-15 NEW EARLIER PRIORITY DEADLINE February 1, 2016
CrossRoad A lumni R etreat April 15-17, 2016 SAVE THE DATE to join us and your fellow alumni to for a rejuvenating weekend of prayer, fellowship and conversation!
Your support in any amount allows CrossRoad to stay vibrant, strong, and accessible to all students. Give online at crossroadinstitute.org Give by phone by calling us at 617-850-1310 Give by mail through personal check made out to CrossRoad Summer Institute 50 Goddard Ave Brookline MA 02445
JOIN US ONLINE! www.facebook.com/crossroadyouth/ www.instagram.com/crossroadovm/ www.linkedin.com/groups/4371720/profile Down the Road 2016
CROSSROADERS OUT ON THE ROAD
One apartment in Boston has had CrossRoad Alumni living in it since 2013! Upon moving in, they discovered they all still had their CR journals and service books. They find it such an encouragement when they gather to do evening prayers together!
Hellenic College Holy Cross welcomed 14 CrossRoad alumni to their undergraduate and graduate programs this September! Such a blessing to have them back on campus to learn and grow!
We love collecting stories and photos of the ways your CrossRoad experience is still being put to good use and we are inspired by your ongoing connections with fellow alums! 30
Director, Mike Tishel, led the 2015 OCF Real Break trip to Thessaloniki, Greece. Five of the group members were CrossRoad alumni and, while visiting, they met up with three other CR alumni and staff who were studying in the city. There, they explored their call to love their neighbor by participating in a number of different social ministries in the local community. Down the Road 2016
Andrea Tsatalis, alumna of July 2012, helped organized her regional Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s Fall Retreat with the hope of deepening their faith through a desire to see Christ in their neighbors by doing a breakfast search. On Saturday morning of the retreat, 15 students attended Toledo’s “Saturday Family Morning Picnic,” where in the spirit of a true “family picnic” participants not only distributed food, but also sat down with the homeless, sharing stories, sandwiches, and a sense of the filial love of Christ. 31
Before you decide what to do with your life...
! r e m m u S
Decide what to do with your
Apply online today!
New Earlier Priority Deadline: February 1, 2016 Session 1: June 18-June 28 Session 2: July 5-July 15
PRIOR TO CROSSROAD, I NEVER BELIEVED ANY
KIND OF RETREAT COULD MAKE SUCH A DRAMATIC
CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE, BUT I WAS WRONG. I DON'T
Orthodox Christian High School Juniors and Seniors graduating in 2016 or 2017
KNOW WHAT THIS DIFFERENCE IS IN MY SOUL, BUT
Between ages 16 and 18 years old
CROSSROAD HAS LEFT ME WITH A NEW SENSE OF PURPOSE AND BELONGING.
CrossRoad's Alumni Newsletter