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"Year of the Family" to be Observed in 2005 by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

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Jan 7, 2005

New York, NY - His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, has announced on behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod that 2005 will be observed as the "Year of the Family." This national campaign, which will include programs, activities, and resources for all levels of the Church in America, was officially launched at the 37th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress held in New York City, July 25-30, 2004.

In announcing the "Year of the Family," Archbishop Demetrios stated, "Through this special emphasis on the family, our goal is 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. As Orthodox Christians we know that each and every family needs to be connected to the Church, a place where true relationships with God and one another are nurtured and sustained. 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."

The theme for the "Year of the Family" will be "Family as Church," a program that follows the biblical phrase used by the Apostle Paul, kat'oikon ecclesia, "the church in the home" (Romans 16:5, Colossians 4:15). In explaining the significance of the theme, Rev. Father Constantine Sitaras, coordinator of the Archdiocesan Center for Family Care, stated, "We know the early Christians met in homes for worship, teaching, and fellowship. This undoubtedly formed a unique connection between Church and Family. We hope to renew this relationship by showing families that the Church and its attributes are essential to the well-being of the family."

To assist this effort, resources for use in the home and the parish are being prepared and distributed. One resource is a table prayer guide that encourages families to pray together. Another is a brochure on establishing a home iconostasion, a place for regular family and personal prayer. Parishes will receive resources for planning and conducting a monthly parish family night. Further, regional retreats and one-day family conferences will be held throughout the year to provide additional support and training. To distribute these and other resources, an extensive "Year of the Family" web site has been established at http://www.familyaschurch.org. Currently, the site includes introductory material for the "Year of the Family," and more resources will be added as they are produced or made available.

The "Year of the Family" is the first initiative of the Archdiocese toward the establishment of a national center for family care. This major effort was announced by Archbishop Demetrios at the 2002 Congress in Los Angeles. Following the Congress, the Archbishop appointed a Roundtable on the Family consisting of clergy, marriage and family specialists, physicians, and other professionals. The Roundtable has met regularly over the past two years to plan and implement this national campaign.

For more information on the "Year of the Family" visit the web site at http://www.familyaschurch.org or contact the Center for Family Care at 845-424-8175 or by email at familycare@goarch.org.

Contact: Rev. Fr. Constantine Sitaras

Center for Family Care

Tel. 845-424-8175

Email: familycare@goarch.org

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