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Orthodox Missions Institute Established at Holy Cross/Hellenic

HCHC President Rev. Nicholas Triantafilou, EFOM President Mrs. Helen Nicozisis, Rev. Alexander Veronis and Rev. Luke VeronisHCHC President Rev. Nicholas Triantafilou, EFOM President Mrs. Helen Nicozisis, Rev. Alexander Veronis and Rev. Luke VeronisThe Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity was established on April 29, 2010, at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology with an initial endowment of one million dollars from EFOM (the Endowment Fund for Orthodox Missions). EFOM, a charity connected with the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was created in 1981 to honor the missions-minded ministry of the Reverend Alexander and Presbytera Pearl Veronis. The endowment was presented to the Reverend Nicholas Triantafilou, President of HC/HC, by EFOM’s Board President, Mrs. Helen Nicozisis.

On presenting the check to the school, Mrs. Nicozisis noted that this gift came not from one major benefactor, but from many people who gave both small and large donations over many years. “All of these people,” she emphasized, “believe in the essential importance of cultivating the spirit of missions, especially among our seminarians and future clergy.”

Father Alexander addressed the entire HC/HC community after Great Vespers in Holy Cross Chapel. He called the inauguration of the Missions Institute the fulfillment of a fifty-year-old dream, beginning with the establishment of a Missionary Society at Holy Cross when he was a student there. Following Vespers, a special reception was held for the school’s faculty and student body. Archbishop DEMETRIOS and Fr. Triantafilou hosted a dinner that evening at the Cathedral Center in Brookline to celebrate the event for the new Missions Institute Board members, along with the EFOM Board and several donors and friends. The Archbishop told the gathering: “Missions are not simply important. They are vital, an indispensable component of our existence as Orthodox Christians …. As this new Missions Institute cultivates a deeper consciousness and awareness of the missionary dimension of the Church, it will provide something absolutely central to the life of the Church.”

The Reverend Dr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Seminary and a member of the new board, highlighted the role the Missions Institute can play at all Orthodox seminaries in the United States. “The first program of this new Institute will be to offer a three-credit class and practicum for students from Holy Cross and SVS this summer, taking them to Albania to witness one of the most vibrant missions in the Orthodox world. What an exciting program!”

The Reverend Luke A. Veronis, himself a missionary with more than 12 years of experience in Albania and Africa, was named Executive Director of the Institute. Fr. Luke recently published the book Go Forth: Stories of Mission and Resurrection in Albania, his third book related to Orthodox Christian missions. He teaches courses in world missions and evangelism at Holy Cross and has taught at St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary. He expressed the hope that “through the programs and courses that this Missions Institute will offer, no students will graduate from our Orthodox seminaries without having some knowledge of a missions-minded ministry. Any form of parochialism, or of limiting our faith in any way, is a distortion of the Gospel, which is Good News for all people everywhere – locally, nationally and globally. Our future clergy and leaders of the Church need to capture this universal vision of God’s love.”

In addition to endowing the Institute, EFOM sponsors an Annual Missions Lecture at Holy Cross, grants annual scholarships to mission-minded seminarians, and financially underwrites noteworthy mission projects.