Archbishop Demetrios Blesses New OCMC Building
The new Orthodox Christian Mission Center’s (OCMC) Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building
was dedicated during the two-day festivities of May 20-21 in St. Augustine, Florida. The new building was named in honor of Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania and Archbishop Demetrios of America, who led the ceremonies. Archbishop Demetrios presided over the service along with Archbishop Anastasios and Metropolitan Jonah, the leading hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Leadership 100 assisted in the start up funding of the OCMC, providing a total of $791,000 in grants, according to Paulette Polulos, Acting Executive Director of the organization, who attended the ceremonies. In addition, Lou Nicozisis, a member of the Leadership 100 Executive Committee, and Helen Nicozisis, a member of Leadership 100 and former President and current member of the OCMC Board of Directors, along with L100 members John Daskalakis and Cina Daskalakis, also a member of the OCMC Board of Directors, were recognized for their untiring efforts in raising funds for the new building and coordinating the ceremonies.
“This day is very significant for Orthodox Christians; this new missions building is a witness to Orthodoxy, because Orthodoxy is always offering herself to everyone; and this is a visible sign of this very character of Orthodoxy: to share, sharing what we have with all the people of the world,” said Archbishop Demetrios speaking about the new building. Archbishop Anastasios said that “the dedication of this building is a milestone for all Orthodox missions and the evangelization of God’s People,” and added that “it is impossible to think of a dynamic Orthodoxy without world wide missionary work.” Archbishop Anastasios brought as a gift, a small silver reliquary containing relics of Saint Kosmas Aitolos, known for his missionary work in the 18th Century. Metropolitan Jonah also brought a small container with relics of Saint Innocent of Alaska. Archbishop Demetrios presented to the OCMC board an icon of Saints Cyril and Methodios.
About 300 people attended the ceremony, including hierarchs of SCOBA (Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas) or their representatives, from all Orthodox jurisdictions in America, the Board of Directors and Staff of OCMC, missionaries and Mission Team members, benefactors and donors to the successful capital campaign which provided funding for the project, and Orthodox clergy and laity from throughout the country.
The new 12,000 square foot building, which is now the headquarters of OCMC, is located near Interstate 95 just north of St. Augustine, on a wooded twenty-acre site. It has two floors which include space for worship, training and meeting rooms, overnight accommodations for visiting missionaries and mission team members, a kitchen, and administrative offices and work areas. State of the art technology infrastructure is installed throughout, to support communications with OCMC’s Missionaries around the world, including Albania, Romania, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Argentina, Uganda, and Indonesia.