Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

In 1991, Metropolitan PHILIP, primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, asked Father Duane Pederson, a highly experienced prison minister, to establish a prison ministry for the Archdiocese.  In 2005, His Eminence graciously offered the Archdiocese’s prison ministry to SCOBA.  Shortly thereafter, OCPM was chartered by SCOBA as its official prison ministry.

OCPM continues to build on Father Duane’s vision of ministering to prisoners and their families by mobilizing the Church to work in this important vineyard of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Quick Facts:

  • OCPM ministers to nearly 1,000 men and women who are in prison or who have recently been released.  Many have embraced the Orthodox Faith, while others who were already Orthodox found their way back to The Church.
  • Five men have been tonsured Orthodox monks in prison and several others have become Iconographers.
  • There are currently over 300 Orthodox catechumens in jails and prisons across America.
  • Many of the men and women whose lives have been touched by OCPM are now out of prison and leading productive, Christ-centered lives as active members of their local parishes.
  • OCPM has published 8 books and distributed more than one million copies to prisons.
  • Over two million icon prayer cards have been printed and distributed.
  • OCPM ministers monthly to more than 300 homeless and needy people, including families of those in prison.
  • OCPM sends more than 5,000 personal letters to those in prison each year offering them spiritual guidance and hope. 

Current & Future Programs:

  • Development of a seminary-level prison ministry curriculum similar to the one currently in place at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and the encouragement of prison ministry as a priestly vocation.
  • Counsel and guidance to clergy on navigating the criminal justice system to provide pastoral care for parishioners who are in conflict with the law.
  • Development of a certifying body for Orthodox prison workers.
  • The continued development of a parish training program to facilitate the creation of parish-level prison ministries all over North America.
  • Organization of Orthodox in-prison retreats.
  • The continued publication and distribution of Orthodox materials for people in prison and prison workers.
  • Maintenance and growth of weekly correspondence programs for incarcerated people.
  • Maintenance and growth of Aftercare programs.
  • Ministry to the material and spiritual needs of the families of people in prison.
  • Aggressive lobbying for the recognition of the Orthodox Faith in every prison.
  • Provision of a convenient source of materials and networking opportunities for Orthodox prison workers throughout North America.

Contact Information


Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Phone: 347-868-6957
Fax: 347-767-2730

P.O. Box 1597
New York, NY 10025

Eric Grant, Chairman
V. Rev. John Kowalczyk, Secretary