Your Regional Student Leader and the Retreat they’re organizing for YOU

Your Regional Student Leader and the Retreat they’re organizing for YOU

What a time to be alive! College Conference registration is OPEN! Real Break registration is OPEN! And finally, Regional Retreat registration is–you guessed it–OPEN!

The comprehensive list of Regional Retreats currently scheduled and open for registration (did you hear? Registration is OPEN!) can be found on the OCF Events page right here.

To tell you a little more about what Regional Retreats are and why you should go, I’d like to introduce to you your very own Regional Student Leader! If you’re unsure in which region you live, check out this handy-dandy map right here!

Red -- Northwest Dark Blue -- Southwest Yellow -- Mountain Light Blue -- Midwest Dark Green -- South Pink -- Great Lakes Orange -- Southeast Light Green -- Mid-Atlantic Purple -- Northeast

Red – Northwest
Dark Blue – Southwest
Yellow – Mountain
Light Blue – Midwest
Dark Green – South
Pink – Great Lakes
Orange – Southeast
Light Green – Mid-Atlantic
Purple – Northeast

Please get in contact with your RSL–they’re here for you and built to make your life awesome.

If you’ve attended a Regional Retreat and have a story you’d like to share, I’d LOVE to feature it on the blog. Contact me at and I’ll set you up.

Without further ado–here are your RSLs, and their thoughts on Regional Retreats!

1. So, what exactly is a Regional Retreat? Like, what happens?

NikoA Regional Retreat is an event that brings Orthodox college students (and those inquiring about the Faith) together for a wholesome weekend of discussion, fellowship, service, and worship. Students of all jurisdictions come from around the entire region to meet friends, offer work for the Glory of God through a service project, and most importantly worship together as the body of Christ.

 – Niko Wilk, Southeast Regional Student Leader

2. So why should I go?Rachel

You should go because it is such a NEEDED break from your school work. Also, it is a good way to be spiritually renewed and regain your energy for the rest of the semester. Another bonus is that you get to meet some incredible people who are going through similar life experiences as you, and I mean, who doesn’t like more Orthodox Christian friends?

 – Rachel Howanetz, Mid-Atlantic Regional Student Leader

3. What makes regional retreats special, unique? Why are they different from my regular OCF chapter meeting?

So you can find an Orthodox spouse!!!!!! HAHA jk Ben don’t put that in the blog.

Nicole(Yeah, okay Nicole.)

If there’s one piece of advice I have to offer, it is not to let your college OCF chapter become your only experience with Orthodoxy in college. Retreats such as this one can introduce you to the wide world of OCF that exists outside of your comfort zone at school. Boris Pasternak once wrote that unshared happiness is not happiness – and I think to a certain extent the same can be said for one’s faith life. Come to the Midwest regional retreat to take a breather from school, meet new friends, and rejuvenate your faith life.
 – Nicole Petrow, Midwest Regional Student Leader

4. What was the best regional retreat you’ve ever attended? What made it so good?


The best retreat I ever attended was in Syracuse, NY. The speakers were really great, but what made it meaningful for me was the priest’s advice of how to deal with a very difficult professor who tested my own faith. I came back equipped with the right tools of patience and prayer, plus all the ethnic dances were quite a workout and a lot of fun!

 – Sypridoula Fotinis, Northeast Regional Student Leader

5. Okay, in 1-6 words, why will your regional retreat be the best in the country?

Incredible retreat center and awesome speakers! LITURGICAL. ARTS. Need I say more? We have a nature walk! Because Christ is at the center! It’s in the mountains of Colorado. Faith, Friends, and Fun! Abbot Tryphon will be speaking! It brings us love at home. TEXAS.

6. How has a regional retreat 13246420_10204589950388632_4155340880391939275_ochanged your life?

Even as a Regional Student Leader, I haven’t been to one yet. This will be the first retreat in the Northwest Region. Planning it has been a blessing to realize that I can do things that scare me when I’m with Christ.

 – David Munkres, Northwest Regional Student Leader

7. Funniest story ever from a regional retreat–go!

Spiro[This one time at the OCF retreat, (please omit this section) NOPE!] Our group sat around a table and a waitress asks us if we would like desert.  Then the priest says, “Orange whip? Orange whip?” quoting the Blues Brothers.  I immediately began cracking up, then we look around and realize that no one understood the reference but us.

 – Spiro Morris, Great Lakes Regional Student Leader

8. Why did you want to become a Regional Student Leader and start organizing these retreats?

I wanted to become a Regional Student Leader because when I started college, I didn’t Quinnhave any Orthodox friends on campus, there was no OCF chapter on campus, and the closest church was 45 minutes away and a lot of the time, the road was closed so I couldn’t make it over in the winter. I decided to start a chapter at my university and it is finally almost in place!

I didn’t know about the Mountain Regional Retreat until two months after it had taken place. I knew that I really could have benefited from attending this retreat and that is a very large reason why I because a regional leader…to help get the word out about the regional retreat and let other OCF students know the benefits from attending.

 – Quinn Marquadt, Mountain Regional Student Leader

9. Okay, what if I can’t make it on the weekend it’s scheduled? Are there other things for me to do?

IMG_5790On this particular weekend the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco is also having their annual fall young adult retreat.  That will be held at the Monastery in Dunlap, CA.  Otherwise, definitely contact me to see how you can get involved, whether it be at a local chapter, or remotely! There are always opportunities for you to grow in Christ– and I encourage you to take these opportunities.  You will be so happy you did.

 – Markayla Stroubakis, Southwest Regional Student Leader

10. Any other advice/info?Kathrine


 – Kathrine Sackllah, South Regional Student Leader
Love Is Eternal | North Carolina District Event Reflection

Love Is Eternal | North Carolina District Event Reflection

On the weekend of February 13, as president at North Carolina State University, I was lucky enough to host Fr. Anthony Salzman and Presbytera Christine from St. Philothea Greek Orthodox Church of Athens, GA (OCF spiritual advisor for the Southeast), Fr. Jon Emanuelson of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Wilmington, NC (spiritual advisor for our district), and our North Carolina district student leader John Shelton for a weekend with our chapters for our District Retreat. The theme of this weekend, which coincided with Valentine’s Day, was “Love Is Eternal” (John 3:16). The weekend was filled with fellowship, service, and worship as we all learned together the importance of loving ourselves, our neighbors, and our God.

We started the weekend a little early on Thursday with Fr. Anthony and Presbytera Christine having a table setup in the main Student Union at North Carolina State University. At the table, Fr. Anthony painted an icon of St. Paraskevi as onlookers approached the table with curious eyes and in awe of the beauty of the icon. Fr. Anthony and Presbytera Christine were actively engaged with the students at North Carolina State University and invited the students to join them in the lecture that would occur later that evening. Fr. Anthony gave a lecture entitled, “Byzantine Iconography: Theology in Color – The Meaning of Byzantine Iconography” which was a beautiful lecture dedicated to the history and uncommon elegance that Byzantine iconography has offered in the past and in the present. The Salzmans were also able to visit nearby Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill to talk with students.

NCeventFor the Saturday event, students from all over North Carolina all came to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Raleigh, North Carolina to spend time together to serve, pray, and worship in the church. We began the day with a beautiful lunch of pastitsio and spanakopita graciously provided by Philoptochos through our wonderful OCF liaison Katerina Knezevic. After our lunch, we introduced ourselves through icebreakers and games. Our next step was to journey into the church for our service project which consisted of cleaning the church, the altar, the narthex, and the solea.

After cleaning the church, we all took part in Fr. Anthony’s lecture with the theme, “Love Is Eternal.” Fr. Anthony discussed the importance of love and how it is manifest in many teachings of the church. We also openly talked about the importance which involves not going into the extremes in any of the cases we deal with in college, but rather having an equal balance of faith and fun. We then transitioned into a beautiful Vespers that was an intimate and pleasing way to wrap up our events of our day at church. After Vespers, we went to the home of Fr. Paul and Presbytera Mary Christy where we were treated to an extravagant meal by the hands of Yianni Theodorou, one of Holy Trinity’s chanters.

In the morning, we all attended church together in the first three pews and celebrated the Divine Liturgy served by Fr. Anthony. After his sermon, we thanked the community for hosting us and the Salzmans for being our special guests, and we enjoyed breakfast from the Philoptochos of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Wilmington, NC, who had sent treats with Fr. Jon. Overall, this weekend showed the importance of getting together and communing with the Orthodox mindset. We all grew together in the theme “Love Is Eternal” and cannot wait to meet up again at the regional WorkDaze retreat in March!

GabriellaGabriella Christy is a Senior Psychology major at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The daughter of Father Paul and Presvytera Mary from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Gaby has been the president of the NC State Chapter for two years. Upon graduation in May, she will pursue graduate studies in the fall.