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Journey to the Summit of Thanksgiving

This morning my mind drifted back to a solo climb I had done of Kit Carson Peak.  This is a remote peak in the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountains.  It was a tough trek, made more difficult by a chest cold I had been fighting.  After being up above 13,000 feet for a […]

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An UpWord Glance Beyond the Bars Blog

Thanksgiving behind bars

Recently, we received a donation from the Missouri Department of Corrections — but the State of Missouri was not the donor; a prisoner was. That’s right, incarcerated men and women, who often earn just a few cents per hour, donate to OCPM. And those who earn no money often donate their stamps to OCPM so […]

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The Holy Apostle Matthew and me

Back in 1982, I was a Protestant pastor on my way to becoming Orthodox. I had never asked a Saint to pray for me in my entire life. I worked up the courage to do this and took a hike out in the desert. After much prayer, trying to make sure this would be okay […]

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“I am sorry you got offended by what I said (or did), but…”

“I am sorry you got offended by what I said (or did), but…” When was the last time you did or said something wrong and then immediately found a way to justify your actions or words? If you are like me, it is not a very long trip into the past to find an example. […]

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Beyond the Bars Blog

An OCPM visit to Pennsylvania Part Two

by Niko Petrogeorge Recently, my colleague Fr. Stephen Powley made a pilgrimage to St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. Among the many esteemed staff at St. Tikhon’s is our friend, Fr. John Kowalczyk, who is a chaplain at a nearby prison and also teaches a class on “Foundations of Pastoral Theology” to our seminarians.  […]

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Beyond the Bars Blog

An OCPM visit to Pennsylvania Part One

by Niko Petrogeorge If someone approaches you with anger how do you respond? Last week, my colleague Fr. Stephen Powley and I visited SCI Waymart, a state prison in Pennsylvania. We made rounds with Fr. John Kowalczyk, an Orthodox priest and contract chaplain at SCI Waymart. At a certain point, we walked into a unit […]

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New Podcast Mini-series on prison ministry

Niko Petrogeorge, the Executive Director of OCPM, conducts a series of interviews related to prison ministry. Topics include “the tools of spiritual warfare,” “from prison life to parish life,” and “the impact of OCPM on those incarcerated.” You can listen to all three podcasts and download them here.

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Even a Dumb Dog Don’t Lick a Hot Stove Twice (My tongue is seared from too many licks)

Growing up, did your parents ever tell you to avoid certain things? How many of us did it anyway? “Don’t touch the stove son; it is hot.” One burned finger coming up! I found my life governed by the old saying: “Even a Dumb Dog Don’t Lick a Hot Stove Twice.” Indeed, my tongue has […]

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Weighing Out Mercy

This summer, Colorado once again suffered from a lack of rain. Some of the springs out in a wilderness area where we have trail cameras had dried up. This photo is a pool of water that has gone down, but is hanging in there. The mother bear and her two cubs are certainly being refreshed […]

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From Son of Thunder to Apostle of Love – Impossible?

The one word that would seem to best represent the Holy Apostle John would have to be: LOVE. His first letter (1 John) is filled with that word: God loves us, we should love God, and we should love others (repeat several times). He could easily be called the Apostle of Love. But that is […]