New Beginnings for Orthodox Christian Life

Two men, one a business man the other an Orthodox Christina priest standing beside each other in a marquee tent

Michael Psaros (B’89), a member of Georgetown’s Board of Directors who endowed the new Orthodox Chaplaincy at Georgetown (left) stands with Fr. David Pratt.

Fr. David Pratt, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Endowed Orthodox Chaplain, and director for Orthodox Christain Life (pictured right above) joined Georgetown as a full-time chaplain this academic year. Here, he reflects on new beginnings, the school year, and Orthodox New Year.

The academic year opened with outdoor events with the customary robes and speeches.  We heard messages of hope and praise for the intellectual life.  Something spiritual also took place early in September, namely, our Orthodox New Year.

Orthodoxy worldwide maintains the old Roman Day of Indiction which concerned taxes and pagan ceremonies. The Church retains it as a reminder of our civic and spiritual duties.  We owe Caesar certain things in righteousness so that we can render to God what is rightfully due to Him in holiness (Mk 12:17). The call to be civil and holy is an excellent mission statement for the Orthodox Christian Chaplains at Georgetown. Thanks to the gifts of our donors, we are now serving the Divine Liturgy (pictured below) on campus alongside our usual weekly services and gatherings, and we are able to do so in a beautifully appointed chapel at the center of campus.

Students standing, holding worship aids and singing during a religious service

Fr. David leads students in the Divine Liturgy in Copley Crypt Chapel.

In appearances, we are singularly blessed: it is difficult to imagine a more “ikonic investment” than our chapel and its vessels. We are especially graced with faithful pious students. These young people are the real focus of our Orthodox Life and OCF Fellowship.  These young people are a testament to good parenting in the faith. Now they have their spiritual home here on campus. Our students are the living and breathing reason for our ministry at Georgetown.

More will be said of our programs and activities in a future installment of this publication.  This month we note that our faith is both ancient and new. Our tradition keeps the past alive as it sanctifies the future, and that future is our children and grandchildren. The Day of Indiction points us to the saints, our ancestors in the faith. Our Orthodox chapel on campus is under the protection of St. Mary of Egypt, by the way; and our students are invariably named after saints and dear relatives who have gone to their rest. So we are keeping alive spiritual memory here. Our tradition maintains a very long memory. Actually, an eternal memory!

By Fr. David Pratt, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Endowed Orthodox Chaplain, and director for Orthodox Christain Life.

Please join Fr. David and the Orthodox Christian community for Vespers in Copley Crypt Chapel, Tuesday at 6:30 pm, and Divine Liturgy, once per month on Sunday morning also in Copley Crypt Chapel.