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Order of St. Andrew commends OCF for their initiative to Constantinople

More than 650 college students have participated in "Real Break," a campus ministry program that was created in 2000 by the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) to provide students with short-term mission trips or service projects designed to provide fellowship and spiritual growth during spring break.

And this spring, from March 8-15, 2008, there are 15 available seats for a group of students to travel to Istanbul to have a unique opportunity to meet His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Barthomew and to get a first-hand look at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

"The Real Break program will provide a great opportunity to young adults to become educated on the rich history of Constantinople and to learn of the plight the Ecumenical Patriarchate faces," said Dr. Anthony Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew. Moreover, Dr. Limberakis continues, "These young people will have the privilege and joy of meeting one of the great spiritual leaders of our time, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is the world-wide spiritual father of Orthodoxy."

"It is important," Dr. Limberakis noted, "for this generation of students to understand the serious nature of religious freedom for Orthodox Christians living in Turkey, especially of those who are served by the churches, monasteries, and seminaries of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I suggest strongly that all Archons take advantage of this extraordinary trip by having their children or grandchildren of college-age to take a 'Real Break' and experience the love of the Mother Church."

The OCF, sponsored by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) has more than 260 local chapters throughout North America and involves thousands of college students through its programming.

"This is a historic trip for OCF and unique in that this trip is designed not only to have a service component, but also to demonstrate the struggle for religious freedom in light of constant persecution," said Fr. Mark Leondis, OCF Chairman.

He said this Real Break trip could not have been possible without the assistance of the Archons, pointing out that the Archons have been championing this issue for years.

"This trip hopes to provide a number of young Orthodox students with a deep understanding of the present struggle, the theology, and tradition behind the mission and the vision of the Patriarchate and further the importance of its leadership in the world," Fr. Mark added.

Real Break has become an alternative spring break. There are 14 trips being planned this spring to various locations, in addition to Constantinople, such as orphanages and monasteries around the globe this year, including Santo Domingo, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Greece, Alaska, and San Francisco.

Click here for further information of OCF's Real Break to Constantinople.


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