In October of 2022, the Fifth Conference of the Network of Pastoral Healthcare held its meeting in Rhodes, Greece. The theme of the conference, "Ministering to Mankind today, we care for the Mankind of tomorrow” allowed for many important lectures and discussions concerning current challenges facing healthcare providers and clergy. Dr. Stacy Gore served as the delegate for the Metropolis of Detroit. One of the many highlights of the conference was a panel discussion via Zoom among four post-graduate Orthodox Christians from around the world. This panel included Constance Poplos, a member of Annunciation Church and medical student at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. The panel allowed the delegates and attendees to hear the students' perspectives and experiences as young Orthodox Christians in today’s changing world. Attendees of the conference also received a copy of the Synaxis for Holy Doctors, written by His Eminence Kyrillos, Metropolitan of Holy Metropolis of Rhodes and President of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On June 17th and 18th, 2022, the inaugural St. Panteleimon Society conference was held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Nashville, TN. The Very Reverend Protopresbyter Father Stavros Kofinas, Coordinator for the Network of Pastoral Healthcare of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, spoke at the conference. His talk, entitled Hope for the Caregiver, addressed many of the challenges and concerns of health care providers, especially after the COVID crisis. Over twenty participants attended, representing the parishes of St. John Antiochian Church in Franklin, St. John Chrysostom in Nashville and Annunciation in Memphis. The conference allowed attendees to discuss some of their struggles over the last few years and contemplate multiple thought-provoking ideas from Fr. Stavros.
Thank you to Fr. Stavros and Presvytera Georgia for attending and all of those who were able to participate.
The Service of Supplication, which is also known as Paraklesis, is one offered especially at times of sickness, temptation, or discouragement. The various prayers ask the Lord for guidance, personal strength, and healing. Many of the hymns and prayers are directed toward Mary, the Theotokos, and they ask for her assistance. Orthodoxy affirms that each of us, with Mary, the Saints, and the faithful departed is united in a bond of faith and love in Christ. Therefore, just as in this life we can turn to each other for prayer, the Church believes that we can also turn to Mary - the human being closest to God - and ask her to pray to God for us. This belief is expressed in the hymn which says:
"O never failing protectress of Christians and their ever-present intercessor before the Creator; despise not the petitions or sinners who have recourse to you, by your goodness extend your help to us to call upon you with confidence. Has O Theotokos, to intercede for us, O who have always protected those who honor you.”
From Special Services and Blessings of the Orthodox Church by Rev. Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald