St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Prison Ministry

Bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the men of the Mass Correctional Institute in Concord MA by sharing the Orthodox Faith.

Getting Involved at St. Mary's

If you would like to find out more about Prison Ministry at St. Mary Orthodox Church, please subscribe to our mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/ocpm-concord

Read Dn. Jeff's sermon on Prison Ministry from November 7, 2010.

About Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

In 1991, Metropolitan PHILIP, primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, asked Father Duane Pederson, a highly experienced prison minister, to establish a prison ministry for the Archdiocese. In 2005, His Eminence graciously offered the Archdiocese's prison ministry to SCOBA. Shortly thereafter, OCPM was chartered by SCOBA as its official prison ministry.

OCPM continues to build on Father Duane's vision of ministering to prisoners and their families by mobilizing the Church to work in this important vineyard of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Quick Facts:

  • Through 2009, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) has ministered to more than 700 people in prison and former prisoners, many of whom have embraced the Orthodox faith.
  • OCPM is currently ministering to more than 250 Orthodox catechumens in prisons across America.
  • Many of the people in prison with whom OCPM has worked have been released from prison and are now living productive, Christ-centered lives as active members of their local parishes.
  • OCPM has published eight books, more than 1,000,000 copies of which have been distributed in prisons.
  • OCPM prints and has distributed more than 2,000,000 icon prayer cards to prisoners.
  • OCPM ministers monthly to more than 300 homeless or needy former prisoners, as well as the spouses and children of current prisoners.
  • OCPM receives hundreds of letters each month from people in prison seeking direction and help. Prayerfully, each letter is personally answered, offering these men and women spiritual guidance and hope in an environment where they are almost completely absent. Many of these prisoners receive no other personal mail. OCPM writes more than 5,000 personal letters to prisoners every year.
  • Through the work of OCPM, five men have been tonsured Orthodox monks in prison, and several prisoners have become iconographers.
  • Approximately 275 prisoners per year participate in intensive Orthodox study courses through the St. Athanasius Academy.

Current & Future Programs:

  • Development of a seminary-level prison ministry curriculum similar to the one currently in place at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and the encouragement of prison ministry as a priestly vocation. 
  • Development of a certifying body for Orthodox prison workers.
  • Development of a parish training program to facilitate the creation of parish-level prison ministries all over North America.
  • The continued publication and distribution of Orthodox materials for people in prison and prison workers.
  • Organization of Orthodox in-prison retreats.
  • Provision of mental health and substance abuse counseling to people in prison.
  • Maintenance and growth of weekly prisoner correspondence programs. 
  • Maintenance and growth of Aftercare program.
  • Ministry to the material and spiritual needs of the families of people in prison. 
  • Aggressive lobbying for the recognition of the Orthodox Faith in every prison.  (Currently, the Orthodox Church is recognized in only a few institutions, and is not recognized in the federal prison system at all.) 
  • Provision of a convenient source of materials and networking opportunities for Orthodox prison workers throughout North America.