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Keynote Speakers

Bishop John

Bishop John, D.Min.  Auxiliary Bishop for the Antiochian Diocese of Worcester and New England

Bishop John is the Antiochian Auxiliary Bishop for the diocese of Worcester and New England. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care and was a Pastoral Counselor and Pastor for over 30 years. A widower and father of three, Bishop John enjoys talking about marriage and family life. Bishop John edits The WORD magazine and teaches Priestly Formation, Pastoral Care and Counseling for the Antiochian House of Studies and the St. John of Damascus Theological Institute at the Balamand in Lebanon.

Thursday Keynote Address:
Marriage: An Opportunity for Spiritual Growth and Discovering the Living God

All of us start our lives as ego-centric infants. As we develop, we become more God-centered and less ego-centered. Marriage calls us to get past ourselves and mature, submitting in love to one another. Submitting to the other allows us to better submit and respond to living God. Spouses and counselors help each of us become more mature. We develop in our understanding God as well as becoming more deliberate and mature as we relate to God.


Presv KyriakiKyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald, M.Div., Ph.D.

Dr. Fitzgerald is an Orthodox theologian, author and licensed psychologist who has studied at the School of Theology of the University of Thessaloniki in Greece and holds a doctorate from Boston University. Dr. FitzGerald is the Founder and Project Coordinator of St. Catherine’s Vision, Inc. a working group of persons committed to studying and supporting the many ways women and men are called to serve within the life of the Orthodox Church, today. She presently serves as Adjunct Professor of Theology at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She also maintains a private counseling practice in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Friday Keynote Address:
Humility: The Royal Road to Marital Love

There are many misconceptions regarding the virtue of humility today. The lack of fostering life-giving humility feeds "terminal uniqueness" and "hardness of heart".  These are powerful spiritual and psychological dynamics that retard and even poison both marital and personal growth. Needless to say, this is antithetical to agape/love. Partly because of this, many Orthodox and other Christians have yet to enjoy the powerful fruits cultivating this virtue has to offer. Not only is it the "royal road" to marital love, humility also paves the road to authentic human personhood. With this in mind, a central focus of this presentation will be to offer a working, spiritually healthy description of humility as well as identifying at least five negative and five positive benefits that humility offers married Christians, today.


Dr. AryAry Christofidis, Ph.D., LCP

Dr. Christofidis is the Founder and Director of the Orthodox Christian Counseling Institute of Chicago ( He is a licensed clinical psychologist and has been in the field of psychology since 1991. After studying three years at Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology he received two graduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Christofidis has worked in various mental health settings including two psychiatric hospitals, three university counseling centers, as well as outpatient, and residential treatment centers. Dr. Christofidis received intensive training in family therapy and also specializes in the treatment of couples, adults, adolescents, and people diagnosed with cancer. Primary themes addressed in his practice are: depression, anxiety, marital conflict and coping with major (individual/family) life changes.

Saturday Keynote Address:
Spiritual Inaction: A Cancer in Marriage

We begin our marriage walking with the priest holding our hands together, with the Holy Gospel in his hand.  Sadly, many couples do not continue that walk with God in their new homes as husband and wife.  Marriage and family life requires many actions by both spouses for growth to take place. We will explore what happens when couples do not actively live their Christian faith at home in their marriage.  Even if couples seek out "secular" help for their relationship, the guidance they might receive may contribute to further spiritual regression. Therefore, what might be seen as subtle inaction by a couple may turn out to be the beginning of a "spiritual cancer" in their marriage.

Workshop Session:
Helping Couples When One Spouse Struggles with a Mental Illness

This workshop will focus on common themes/difficulties couples face when living with a spouse who suffers from a mental illness.  We will look at different approaches and resources when ministering to these couples. Understanding the difference between the needs of the one with the diagnosis versus the other spouse will be emphasized. Time will be spent on role-playing and skill building.

Workshop Presenters

Fr. CharlesFather Charles Joanides, Ph.D., LMFT

Fr. Joanides has served several parishes since his ordination in 1980. He is married and he and his spouse are blessed with two children and two grandchildren. Father Charles has directed the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s outreach ministry to intermarried couples and their families for the last 15 years. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and an approved AAMFT supervisor. He teaches marital and family therapy at Nyack College in the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. He has a small private practice specializing in reclaiming marriages. Father Charles has authored numerous books and articles.

Workshop Session:
The Most Significant Pastoral Challenge Facing our Church Today

The presenter maintains and will argue that the intermarriage challenge is one of the most significant pastoral challenges facing the church today. To that end, questions like the following few will be addressed: How effective have we as an Archdiocese been at retaining a connection with this population of couples and their families? Are we succeeding or failing? What unique challenges do members of this population encounter? Is your church an intermarriage friendly community? What resources are available to help your church minister to intermarried couples and their families? What outreach strategies work? Participants who attend this interactive workshop will be empowered with useful information to proactively address this significant challenge.


PaulettePaulette Geanacopoulos, LMSW

Paulette Geanacopoulos is a NYS Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). She is the Director of Social Work Services at National Philoptochos where she assists members of the Greek Orthodox community throughout the United States to resolve issues of poverty and income inadequacies; health, mental health and substance abuse; housing and homelessness; older adult and family services; and domestic violence. Previously, Ms. Geanacopoulos was Executive Director of the Women’s City Club of New York and the Citizens’ Committee on Aging, and Assistant Executive Director of Lenox Hill Neighborhood House.  Her several years of academic experiences include Adjunct Professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services, the Hunter College Graduate Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, and the New York University School of Social Work.  Ms. Geanacopoulos also serves on the boards of three nonprofit organizations.

Workshop Session:

Domestic Violence

An action-oriented discussion to educate attendees about domestic violence in general and in the Greek Orthodox community specifically. This session is not intended to make you an expert in the field of domestic violence; rather, it will raise your awareness and understanding of the issue and provide you with the tools to create a Church environment in which victims feel comfortable turning to for help. Information will include the dynamics and prevalence of domestic violence; its basis in power and control; forms and patterns of abuse such as physical, emotional, verbal and financial; why some women stay in abusive relationships; cultural and spiritual barriers that prevent some women from accepting mainstream services; finding and accessing local resources; and steps we can take as a Church community to respond in appropriate, effective and helpful ways.

Dr. RossiAlbert Rossi, Ph.D.

Dr. Rossi teaches courses in pastoral theology at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. He is a member of the SCOBA Commission on Contemporary Social and Moral Issues. He has written numerous articles on psychology and religion and published a book through Paulist Press entitled, Can I Make a Difference: Christian Family Life Today. After teaching at Pace University for 24 years, he retired as Associate Professor of Psychology. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of New York.

Workshop Session:
Impact of Internet/Pornography on Marriage

Marriage is based on intimacy and Internet pornography is a cancer that devours marital love. Internet pornography is, by far, the fastest growing addiction in the US and impacts marriage at all levels. We are called to minister to those suffering from this addiction and to help couples keep the marriage bed pure and free from all defilement. In this session, we will examine the problem of Internet pornography, discuss the impact it has on marriage and offer tools with which we can minister to married couples who suffer from it.

Sex and Marriage

Sexual activity, better called “making love,” is one of the many different forms of marital communication. The sexual act is a God-given covenant that requires maximum consideration, sensitivity, openness and love. The marital bed provides a lifetime opportunity to learn how to love Christ in the marital partner. Many couples need help to make sense of the different misconceptions, needs and expressions of love in the marital bed. Sexual dysfunctions also need to be better identified and understood. We are called to minister to these couples and to help them continue to mature in their lovemaking relationship. Newlyweds as well as partners with longstanding marriages can often be helped in this area. In this session, we will look at some of the theology of marriage and marital love, examine some of the practical issues that come up in the marital bed and discuss ways in which we can offer pastoral advice to married couples about their sexual life.


Dr. PhilipPhilip Mamalakis, Ph.D. LMFT

Dr. Philip Mamalakis, with his wife Georgia and seven children, live in Boston, Massachusetts where he is the Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Dr. Mamalakis directs the Field Education program and teaches classes on pastoral care, couples counseling, grief, death and dying, and topics related to pastoral counseling. He, also, has a private practice in Newton, Massachusetts where he works with individuals, couples, and families. Dr. Mamalakis has an M.Div. from Holy Cross and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in child development and family studies, specializing in marriage and family therapy. In collaboration with Fr. Charles Joanides, he has recently completed a marriage preparation program for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, The Journey of Marriage in the Orthodox Church.

Workshop Session:
Journey of Marriage Facilitator’s Training

The Journey of Marriage in the Orthodox Church is a three-part program for couples preparing for marriage in the Orthodox Church. This program offers couples an opportunity to prepare, in-depth, for one of the biggest decisions in life. During this conference, participants will be trained in how to facilitate a workshop for the couples using this program. Participants who want further training can sign up to observe an actual couple’s workshop on Saturday, February 9, 2013, to take place at the Metropolis of Boston.


Kerry PappasKerry Pappas, MA, LMFT

Kerry Pappas is a licensed marriage and family therapist, presently serving as the Coordinator for Seminarian and Clergy Couple Care for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. She is a graduate of Gettysburg College, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and Adler Graduate School. Prior to her present position, she had a private practice in New York. She is also a trainer and facilitator for Prepare/Enrich, a premarital and marriage enrichment program. Working with seminarian and clergy wives and couples is a culmination of her life experience, integrating theological studies at Holy Cross, training and practice as a marriage and family therapist, and nearly 30 years as the wife of a priest.

Worshop Session:
A "Forgiving" Framework for Conflict Resolution in Marriage

If connected to a community of faith, a distressed couple will often approach someone ministering in the church for help.  By this point, the level of toxicity between the spouses is usually fairly high, and a rational discussion about issues in the marriage is difficult.  This workshop will offer participants some basic tools and resources for helping couples reduce the level of toxicity in the relationship, thus beginning the process of healing.


George PapageorgesGeorge Papageorge, MA, LMFT

George Papageorge is a licensed Marriage & Family therapist who has been working with couples, teenagers & families for that past 25 years. With a Masters Degree in Marriage & Family Therapy and a counseling practice in Pleasanton California, George is able to assist families in times of crisis & difficulty and lead them to the solid ground of emotional insight, healthy communication and empathy based relationships. George is also a highly sought out seminar speaker, as well as dedicating his time to assisting the Family Wellness Ministry of the Metropolis of San Francisco. George and his wife Kim are busy raising their two children, Olivia & Petros. George enjoys contributing his time to the community, as has coached various sports over the years.

Worship Session:
Facilitating Marriage Enrichment in Parish Life

More information coming soon!

The Missing Piece of Marriage: The impact of codependency on the everyday life of marriage.

This class will explore the common occurrence of “loss of true self” in the earlier stages of our emotional development, leading to characteristics of codependency & addictive personality traits. This phenomenon leads to marital dynamics that have boundary confusion, unresolved personal issues having an adverse affect on conflict resolution & communication. How to help couples through these dynamics with Orthodox Spirituality will be discussed.


For questions, please contact the Center for Family Care at or 845-424-8175