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20525 Center Ridge Rd. #301
Rocky River, OH 44116
United States

(440) 941-4850

A Pan-Orthodox ministry that displays Christian love, mercy and compassion to the individuals, families and facilities it serves.

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A Pan-Orthodox ministry that displays Christian love, mercy and compassion to the individuals, families and facilities it serves.

Filtering by Category: Reflections on the St- Panteleimon Ministry

Mary Grechny

Gerald Largent

Until two years ago, I gave only an occasional thought to those confined to a nursing home. Life certainly can change quickly. My mother is a devout Orthodox Christian who attended church services regularly and had an active life in her parish. As her age advanced and she was no longer able to drive, I made sure that she attended her church every Sunday, feast days, and stayed connected to her church family. After almost nine years, this came to an abrupt end....she fell and broke her hip.

Mom endured sudden hospitalization, surgery, and was now confined to a skilled nursing facility. She told me that she felt like she was in jail. For almost three months, I spent many hours, every day, at the facility, keeping an eye on her medications, meals, physical therapy, and more. The staff was encouraged that someone cared and visited regularly. This gave me the opportunity to interact with both, permanent residents and those who were there for rehabilitation. Very few had visitors, even on weekends. I felt their loneliness. Thank God that Mom's priest visited her weekly and helped to lift her spirits. Other residents became curious about her faith, so she often talked with them about Orthodoxy and why her priest took the time to visit and pray with her. She explained how he made her feel loved and still connected to her church.

Weeks went by and with daily physical therapy, Mom worked hard at being able to walk again. But her biggest fear was “will I ever go to my church again?” Her heart would sink every Friday morning when she would hear volunteers knocking on residents' doors announcing that a Catholic prayer service would soon begin. And, each time that I heard this, I wondered why we “Orthodox” didn't do something like this. Well, now we do!

Almost a year and a half ago, I attended my first prayer service held by St. Panteleimon Orthodox Christian Outreach. It didn't take long for me to realize that praying with and serving the residents blessed me! So much appreciation lights up their faces through their smiles. They are so happy to share their own church backgrounds and family life. This special time helps them feel loved and connected to their church. Often, there are questions about our faith. A new Bible Study class at one of the facilities was well attended.

To continue this important work, we need your help. Please give prayerful consideration to supporting this ministry. Please help those who cannot attend their church any longer. Volunteering is easy! Come when you can. Come and visit. You can help at a service by setting up the table, icons, lights, pass out folders so that those attending can follow, join in singing, reading the epistle, and pass out the bulletins. Or most of all, just come and pray with us. Come and experience the joy of serving. We welcome all ages, all help, all talents (yes, a real “Talent Show” earlier this year entertained residents). We will gladly work around your work and school schedules. For students, we'll be happy to provide documentation for your time spent volunteering.

If you would like to learn more or have any questions, please contact me.

Thank you, Mary Grechny (Holy Trinity Orthodox Church) maryg@stpanteleimon.com Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator St. Panteleimon Ministry

Angie Giallourakis

Gerald Largent

Picture this scenario: Your mother has Alzheimer’s disease and lives in a respectable Assisted Living Facility, where all her physical needs are being met. In fact, you ask the Activities Director to include her in any Christian Programs that become available during the day. The programs are very nice and wholesome, but...: (1) Your mother is a Greek Orthodox Christian (2) She cannot communicate her feelings but can still recite the prayers of the church (3) She can still sing the hymns of the church (4) Sometimes has Evangelical Christians asking if my mother is a “true Christian” (whatever that means).

This was my mother’s story.

My mother did have visitations from our wonderful parish priest, which were always very spiritually uplifting. Unfortunately our priest, like many other Orthodox Christian Priests, had many people like my mother to tend to during a typical week of visiting shut-ins. When my mother lay dying in her bed I played a CD of Greek Orthodox Christian Hymns for her to listen to in hopes of experiencing a more peaceful ending to her life. It was all I knew to do.

Witnessing my mother going through the tribulations of Alzheimer’s disease was very difficult for me. I felt very alone. The entire time I wished there was a ministry, similar to other Christian groups that provided support to shut-ins within the context of the Orthodox Christian Faith!!!

Two years ago my aunt suffered a severe stroke and was undergoing rehabilitation in a facility where the St. Panteleimon Ministry was being made available to residents. Imagine my delight in knowing that a loving family member would be able to participate in an Orthodox Christian prayer service while going through rigorous rehabilitation. I attribute my aunt’s recovery to the loving support of the St. Panteleimon community.

By the Grace of God, we have a ministry available to individuals in the NE Ohio area designed to address the needs of Orthodox Christian’s living in Nursing Facilities. Now members of the Orthodox Christian community can participate in regularly scheduled prayer services without having to leave their residence. This is particularly important for individuals who have health issues that require them to remain “in-house”.

It is an honor to be a Board Member of the St. Panteleimon Ministry. I am hopeful that you will consider being a supporter of this important ministry.

Thank you. Angie Giallourakis angiegiallourakis@yahoo.com Corresponding Secretary St. Panteleimon Ministry