Eleftheria, OCN Intern recently graduated from high school and is looking forward to beginning her college career this fall. She enjoys working with children and loves to sing, read, and cook. Eleftheria serves as an assistant Sunday School teacher and directs her parish's youth choir, along with her brother.
Each summer, Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, hosts more than 60 Orthodox teenagers for CrossRoad, an incredibly enriching, 10-day theological program based on the topic of vocation. During these 10 short days, the participants immerse themselves in the Faith, form friendships with fellow Orthodox from around the country that last a lifetime, and learn what it means to truly serve Christ to the best of their abilities.
The definition of “vocation” that served as the basis of the lessons presented during this program is as follows:
“Vocation is your unique and ongoing response to Christ’s call to love God with heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.”
As Orthodox Christians, our vocation in life is not merely which job we have, whether we are an engineer, teacher, or author, or whether we are single, married, or part of the monastic life. Our vocation consists of the way we choose to encounter Christ in whatever we do, consciously listening to His voice that calls us to use our individual talents and gifts in order to serve Him and His people. We must be constantly receptive to God’s call—even amidst difficulties in life and others attempting to make important choices for us—as this is the only way we can truly act as Christ’s hands and feet on earth and direct others to Him.
God has blessed each of us with a unique combination of gifts and strengths; no two people can fulfill this call in the same way. Because of this, we are able to effectively come together and be vessels of Christ, spreading His love and the faith to everyone we encounter. For as it is written, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40). Considering this, CrossRoad participants learn that the important question to ask yourself is not necessarily “what will I be?”, but “who will I be?”.
A Day in the Life
With this beautifully defined Orthodox perspective of vocation as the foundation of our curriculum, the staff members of CrossRoad presented talks on a variety of important topics in Orthodoxy, all relevant to Orthodox Christian young adults. These included, among other subjects, suffering, sanctification of creation and time, and faith and science. Additionally, we engaged in seminary-level Scripture and Theology classes, taught by esteemed faculty members from both Hellenic College Holy Cross and St. Vladimir’s Seminary.
Each morning, after celebrating Orthros in the chapel on campus, we participated in “Be Still Time,” spending some minutes with God in complete silence and with a peaceful mind. The program placed an emphasis on dedicating time to sit in silence on a daily basis, as it is in this way that we can fully listen to Christ’s voice addressing each of us in the absence of everyday, worldly distractions. We also visited a variety of Orthodox churches in the Boston area, participated in service opportunities, and grew closer as a group at a ropes course. Participants have the opportunity to learn so much about their faith and vocation at such an important time before attending college!
I would encourage Orthodox teenagers of any jurisdiction to apply to CrossRoad, as it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will always remember and cherish. I met so many wonderful Orthodox teenagers who are dedicated to Christ and support each other in their faith journeys, and I was blessed to be mentored by staff members that served as examples of kind, knowledgeable, and dedicated young adults who strive to serve Christ and others through everything they do. I look forward to returning to Hellenic College Holy Cross for our first CrossRoad reunion!
To learn more about the program or apply for one of the sessions next summer, please visit CrossRoad’s website at www.crossroadinstitute.org.
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