About Family Ministry
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthered with might through His spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:14-19
...to affirm the importance of the family as a blessed gift of God and to address the specific needs of families as they try to live in a very challenging culture and world...
As the Center grows, we aspire to offer resources and services to meet the needs of all Orthodox Christians in every part of the family life cycle. We are doing this...
In his keynote address
The mission of the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is, in the words of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, “both to affirm the importance of the family as a blessed gift of God and to address the specific needs of families as they try to live in a very challenging culture and world. Thus, through this program we will be working to bring more aspects of our faith into the home and to bring more families into the Church.”
As the Center grows, we aspire to offer resources and services to meet the needs of all Orthodox Christians in every part of the family life cycle. We are doing this through collaboration with the Metropolises, parishes, and the many faithful Orthodox Christians—ordained, professionals, and lay workers—who serve our Church.
Fr. Constantine L. Sitaras - Director
Father Constantine currently serves as the Director of the Center for Family Care. He is also the Director of Saint Basil Academy. In addition, he has served the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese as the Director of Ionian Village, for twenty-five years. He has also been the Director of Youth Ministry, Director of Stewardship and the pastor of the Church of Our Saviour in Rye, New York. Father is a graduate of Hellenic College and of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
Fr. Constantine is married to the former Georgia Agelopas and together they have a son, Basil who practices law at Day Pitney LLP in New York City. Throughout his years working with youth, Fr. Constantine also became passionate about family ministry. He feels strongly that engaging the family is critical in imparting the faith to our young people.
Fr. Charles Joanides, PhD, LMFT – Researcher, Interfaith Marriage
Fr. Charles is a researcher who heads up the ministry of Interfaith Marriage for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. He has also served several parishes across the Archdiocese. Fr. Charles is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a small private practice specializing in reclaiming marriages. Additionally, he teaches marital and family therapy at Nyack College. Fr. Charles holds an MDiv. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies with a specialty in Marriage and Family Therapy from Iowa State University.
He is married to Presvytera Nancy and together they have two children, Stephan and Sara, and two grandchildren. Fr. Charles is passionate about ministering to intermarried couples. He believes that it is a challenge that profoundly impacts all those who love the Orthodox faith and truly struggle to ensure that their children will have a similar love and devotion.
Presvytera Kerry Pappas, MA, LMFT – Coordinator of Seminarian and Clergy Couple Care
Presvytera Kerry is Coordinator for Seminarian and Clergy Couple Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Presvytera is a trainer and facilitator for Prepare/Enrich, a premarital and marriage enrichment program. She is a graduate of Gettysburg College (BA), Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (MA), and Adler Graduate School (MA). She is also a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Presvytera Kerry has been married to Father Harry Pappas for 31 years and together they have three children (Rebecca, Joshua, Hannah), a son-in-law (Joe), and a grandson (Joseph). Presvytera’s interests and hobbies include reading, exercise, movies and most of all, playing with her grandson. She has a passion for working with seminarian and clergy couples, addressing the unique needs, challenges and blessings of clergy couple and family life. Working with them is a culmination of her life experience, combining theological studies, training and practice as a marriage and family therapist, and nearly 30 years as a presvytera.
Melissa Tsongranis – Associate Director
Melissa is the Associate Director of the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. She also spent 5 years working for the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries while the Center was still being developed. Prior to her work at the Archdiocese Melissa worked for 10 years as a child and family development specialist for an Early Intervention Program. She received her BA from Sacramento State University in California in child development with and emphasis in family education and additional studies for a credential in early childhood special education.
Melissa and her husband, George, live on the campus of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology where he is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree. They have one son, Nomikos. As Melissa progressed in her studies she quickly learned that the biggest education impact occurs when you are able to partner with parents and give them the tools they need to educate their children. At the Archdiocese, she was given the opportunity to marry her love of educating families with her love of the Orthodox faith. Her goal is to help families pass their precious Orthodox faith onto their children just as she and her husband strive to do—although quite imperfectly—with their son.
Panayiotis Sakellariou, MA – Resource Coordinator
Panayiotis is Resource Coordinator for the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Before working for the Center, Panayioti spent five years in the mission field serving the Orthodox Church in India and Albania. He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University (BA), and earned his Masters in Theological Studies (MTS) at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
Panayioti lives in Boston with his wife, Shannon, and their daughters, Sophia and Iliana. His experience of living in a community of Christian and missionary families led him to understand the importance of raising his family in the Orthodox faith, and to try to help others do the same. Panayioti’s interests include reading, soccer and gardening. Most of all, he enjoys being at home with his family.
In his keynote address at the 2002 Clergy-Laity Congress in Los Angeles, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios presented a bold, new initiative for the Greek Orthodox Church in America. He announced that the Church would begin an intense effort of focusing on the needs of families. His Eminence stated that, “Our vision and our objective in this instance is to create, with the help of God, a Center for Family Care that will be a model institution for the advancement of healthy, happy, and dynamic Orthodox families, and for the full incorporation of interfaith marriages into the life of each and every Parish.”
To support this vital ministry, the Archdiocese created the Center for Family Care that develops programs and resources to address questions and issues related to all areas of family life, while in the future also making available trained counselors to assist families in crisis. Additionally, the Center coordinates seminars and other educational opportunities for the family throughout our Archdiocese. All of these resources are offered to our parishes so that the families within each community become, in the words of His Eminence, “the object of constant attention, care, and assistance.”
Shortly after the Congress, Archbishop Demetrios formed the Archdiocesan Roundtable on the Family. This group of clergy, marriage and family specialists, physicians, and other professionals immediately started working to build this ministry so that it will reach every family in every parish and assist us in offering our faith to families throughout America. 2005 was declared the “Year of the Family,” but focus on the family did not cease with the passing of that year. Rather, it set the stage for a new focus in the ministry of the Archdiocese—a focus on our families.
In 2010 the Center completed its first national study, The Orthodox Family in America at Home and in Church: A study of families in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. This study is a first step toward a better understanding of the particular needs of families. Specifically, it examines how Orthodox families in America organize their everyday lives with regard to living their faith and how our Church ministers to them. The results of the study will be used to guide the future of family ministry in our Archdiocese. Click here for more information about this study