Thursday, June 11, 2020
NEW YORK — Despite the unprecedented challenges caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA, has maintained its ministerial connection to Orthodox men and women in jails and prisons across the United States. In response to the suspension of in-person visitations, OCPM expanded its Correspondence Program. The continued flow of Orthodox books, bible studies, and personalized letters during this time brings Christ and His comfort to these souls who suffer in silence.
Since the start of the crisis in the United States, from January - May 2020, OCPM has sent 6,946 individual pieces of mail and personalized letters, 8,213 icons, and 5,565 postcards and weekly lectures. The ministry additionally sent 370 packages of spiritual materials, 472 bibles and books, and 163 catechism study guides during this time of need.
“As Orthodox Christians, we are to follow Christ by remembering those in need; especially in times of crisis,” said Nicholas Petrogeorge, Executive Director of OCPM. “The often-forgotten people in jails and prisons have been hit hard as infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, spread so easily among them. Additionally, visitations have been suspended, meaning they cannot visit with their families or a chaplain. With the support of our hierarchs, parishes, and ministry partners, our ministry successfully adjusted to the unique challenges posed in order to continue to reach those people who are desperate for repentance and The Church in prison.”
In addition to its correspondence program, OCPM provides in-prison ministry, clergy and laity education, aftercare, and family care.