George Matsoukas Reflects on 20 Years of Service as Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Laity

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George Matsoukas

Source: Orthodox Christian Laity

According to IndependentSector.org and the Urban Institute, there are approximately 1.6 million 501(c)3 organizations in the USA established to address and redress important issues related to various aspects of societal needs, including social issues, education, religious institutions, and the arts, to suggest a few. Approximately 38% (608,000) of them have budgets below the $100,000 range according to Zipsprout.com. Orthodox Christian Laity is in this budget range.

Like many of these organizations, OCL was founded with passion to address many issues, the most meaningful being: Orthodox Christian Administrative Unity Matters.  It matters, because canonical, jurisdictional unity is the only way Orthodoxy in America, as a way of life and ethos, shall persist, grow and make a real impact in this society.  Many of these organizations, like OCL, start off with passion, but the founders do not know when to move on. The proper successor is not sought, mentored, or found.  The organization loses its passion.  In many cases, it ceases to exist.

I am delighted that David Oancea has been unanimously approved by the OCL board to begin, this first week of September 2020, as the new Executive Director of OCL. David has been mentored and been part of OCL for 17 years. He is passionate about the mission and brings skills, life and professional experiences to bear, that with God’s help and the cooperation of clergy and laity, will take the organization to the next level of development and maturity. He represents a new generation that understands that unity depends on a desire by the leadership and faithful in the Church to focus on Christ and the life He calls us to live. This one desire must take precedence over all of the other roles that the Orthodox Church in North America has accepted and attempted to fulfill, oftentimes in place of that most important role and mission of the Church. Achieving administrative unity also requires working more prayerfully and diligently with the Assembly of Bishops, so that they can become a more conciliar, deliberative body that faces the critical issues related to keeping the Christian faith alive in our times.

The combined census statistics show that Orthodox Christianity is not a growing Church.  Put this in the context of the secularization of modern life due to many factors, including economic development, norms governing human fertility, corruption in government, fundamentalist attitudes, increase in life expectancy, knowledge-based decisions, and disunity within the Assembly of Bishops.  The challenge for OCL, at this moment of a new beginning, is to bring together a new generation of friends and supporters who will work in continuity with others and the bishops to overcome their fragmentation and impasse. The survival of living out our faith as Orthodox Christians depends on joining together at all levels.

I thank all our supporters and friends. I pray that you come forth to work with David and the Board to fulfill the mission of OCL. I pray for unity in our time. I pray for those who love and hate us.  And for all those whom I may have offended, I pray for forgiveness.

George Matsoukas

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2 Comments

  1. Virginia Theokas on

    George, congratulations on your twenty year journey with the OCL. Twenty years ago, you introduced Charlie and I to the mission and need of the OCL. Through your efforts and a host of others, OCL continues to emphasize the great need of our Orthodox Church in North America. Panta Axia !!
    Love and admiration,
    Charlie and Virginia
    .

  2. Argo Georgandis Pyle on

    It is so difficult to imagine OCL without its leader of so many years. From running around setting up annual meetings, keeping topics of interest alive and writing about most of them, by meeting people of all jurisdictions and trying to bring them together, he is the epitome of total dedication to the cause. I will definitely stay in touch as we have been friends as well for all these years, but you will also maintain a great place of importance in our organization. I feel a bit melancholy about your semi-retirement, but I do know that your leadership turnover to David Oancea is a good one, and he will hold the banner of unity high with all of us. May our loving God continue to bless you, and I thank you for all your efforts in pursuit of what is good and right for all Orthodox Christians in America. AXIOS! Argo Georgandis Pyle, President 2020

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