Thursday, April 10, 2014
Together with our Orthodox brethren, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry reflects on the legacy of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. He was instrumental in the development and growth of OCPM and has always been close to our hearts.
When OCPM Founder Fr Duane Pederson was ordained into the Orthodox Church in 1991, he had already been active in prison ministry for more than 25 years. It was with the blessing of Metropolitan Philip that Fr Duane continued to work in prison ministry after his ordination. "Usually you're ordained to an altar, to a parish," said Fr Duane. Yet His Eminence ordained Fr Duane to continue ministering to people in prison and on the streets. "His Eminence had the foresight to step out and include the incarcerated as part of the Church."
It was with Metropolitan Philip's blessing that men in prison were catechized. The Virginia H. Farah Foundation played a timely role by funding the costs of Orthodox books and icon cards that were sent into prisons. As a result, said Fr Duane, "All these prisoners started to become Orthodox. We began to find cradle Orthodox who had been hiding in the prisons as well."
Seeing that there were men in prison who wanted to be received into the Church, Metropolitan Philip gave Fr Duane a parish-one without walls-and named it Holy Apostle Silas. He gave Fr Duane an antimins (a consecrated altar cloth necessary for celebrating the Eucharist) to use when celebrating the liturgy in prisons. With his new parish Fr Duane was able to baptize men in prison. "His Eminence was willing to care for those who had no parish," said Fr Duane.