Archon News

Youth Participation Activities Committee Engages Young Adults at Metropolis of San Francisco YAL Conference

With the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, Archon Regional Commanders Hon. Steven G. Counelis (San Francisco) and Dr. Gregory G. Papadeas (Denver), members of the Youth Participation Activities Engagement Committee, once again, presented at the Metropolis of San Francisco YAL Conference. With over 450 young adults in attendance during Labor Day Weekend in Orange County, California, they offered details of the 2023 Pilgrimage of Discovery to Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Archon Papadeas explained the Pilgrimage, “The mission of the Pilgrimage of Discovery is to bolster the future of the Orthodox Church by educating and inspiring future leaders through fostering a lifelong connection to the Mother Church of Constantinople.”

“As a pilot program, the Pilgrimage itself occurred July 31 to August 7, 2023. It granted five young adults, ages 23-28, from the Metropolis of Chicago an all-expenses-paid round-trip journey to Constantinople to meet with His All-Holiness and travel to ancient holy sites of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, including the forcibly closed Theological School of Halki”

“The five young adults who participated in this inaugural POD program were Cally Kobza, Deanna Kolas, Christen Massouras, Dr. Demetri Maroutsos, and George Valcarcel.”

Archons Counelis and Papadeas speak to the Young Adult Audience.

Archon Counelis offered “Next year, the Archons are planning to offer the Pilgrimage of Discovery to all young adults who are part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.”

“You are encouraged to apply and experience a life changing opportunity as you encounter the Mother Church of Constantinople, our Ecumenical Patriarch and the challenging life of Orthodox Christianity under oppression.”

He then issued a call to action in the moment, “So I am asking every young adult to take out your phone and follow the Pilgrimage of Discovery on Instagram and Facebook. Please do that now! We need your help to spread the word about the program because this is the key way you can get information to be the first to learn about next year’s Pilgrimage and when the application becomes available.”

In conclusion, Archon Counelis announced and showed the world premiere of the preview video for the Pilgrimage of Discovery, a product of the documentary videography team that accompanied the POD during the entire pilgrimage. At the conclusion of their presentation, several dozens of young adults expressed their interest in applying for the program and became followers of the POD on its social media channels.

Archon Counelis serves as Vice Chair of the Youth Participation Activities (YPA) Engagement Committee. Archon Papadeas serves on the same Committee.

Archon Counelis and his wife Stacia have served as the Conference Advisers to the YAL Conference Ministry of the Metropolis of San Francisco since its renaissance in 2018.

Archon Papadeas and his wife Stelle have been stalwart supporters of this Conference for several years.

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