With the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, Archon Regional Commanders Hon. Steven G. Counelis (San Francisco) and Dr. Gregory G. Papadeas (Denver), members of the Youth Participation Activities Engagement Committee, once again, presented at the Metropolis of San Francisco YAL Conference. With over 450 young adults in attendance during Labor Day Weekend in Orange County, California, they offered details of the 2023 Pilgrimage of Discovery to Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Archon Papadeas explained the Pilgrimage, “The mission of the Pilgrimage of Discovery is to bolster the future of the Orthodox Church by educating and inspiring future leaders through fostering a lifelong connection to the Mother Church of Constantinople.”
“As a pilot program, the Pilgrimage itself occurred July 31 to August 7, 2023. It granted five young adults, ages 23-28, from the Metropolis of Chicago an all-expenses-paid round-trip journey to Constantinople to meet with His All-Holiness and travel to ancient holy sites of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, including the forcibly closed Theological School of Halki.”
“The five young adults who participated in this inaugural POD program were Cally Kobza, Deanna Kolas, Christen Massouras, Dr. Demetri Maroutsos, and George Valcarcel.”
In conclusion, Archon Counelis announced and showed the world premiere of the preview video for the Pilgrimage of Discovery, a product of the documentary videography team that accompanied the POD during the entire pilgrimage. At the conclusion of their presentation, several dozens of young adults expressed their interest in applying for the program and became followers of the POD on its social media channels.
Archon Counelis serves as Vice Chair of the Youth Participation Activities (YPA) Engagement Committee. Archon Papadeas serves on the same Committee.
Archon Counelis and his wife Stacia have served as the Conference Advisers to the YAL Conference Ministry of the Metropolis of San Francisco since its renaissance in 2018.
Archon Papadeas and his wife Stelle have been stalwart supporters of this Conference for several years.
Photos: Metropolis of San Francisco