OCPM STORIES

Greg has finally come home

Former prisoner Greg is now a welcomed member of a local Orthodox parish.

Greg spent years studying Orthodoxy behind bars, which made him hungry to experience the fullness of the faith once he left prison. He was sent to a small town in central California to perform his parole. He lived in a group home and had enough money for food. But for Greg, the number one priority was finding a spiritual home.

With no car and only Google to direct him, Greg took a series of buses and walked two miles to a local Orthodox parish, where he experienced his very first Divine Liturgy. A man from the parish warmly welcomed him and asked how he had learned about Orthodoxy. Greg hesitated but admitted that he had learned about it in prison. The man responded that many people have heard about Orthodoxy that way. He gave Greg a tour of the church and introduced him to the parish priest who gave him some blessed bread.

That warm welcome meant everything to Greg.

“I weep now as I realize the love and acceptance that was freely offered me.”

Prison experts say that a prisoner will have a better chance of succeeding in freedom if he finds a spiritual home. The years of studying Orthodoxy in prison through the books, icons and letters provided by OCPM “centered” Greg in freedom because it made him determined to experience Orthodoxy in the real world.

The Orthodox faith is not automatically recognized as a religious denomination in every prison facility across the country. This recognition is crucial because without it, it is very difficult for an Orthodox priest to enter a prison and administer the Sacraments and Services. One of the most vital aspects of OCPM’s ministry is that it advocates correctional facilities throughout the United States to recognize the Orthodox faith.

Help us “center” more prisoners like Greg and give them a greater chance of succeeding in freedom by restoring their Faith and self worth now.

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Read a letter from Greg telling us about his first time attending an Orthodox Church after his release from prison.

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