The Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College presented its second annual Women Leaders of the Church Lecture on Tuesday, April 27. This year’s guest speaker was Presvytera Nikki Stephanopoulos, who shared her experience of service to the Church, from her parish ministry endeavors to her professional service with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
Presvytera Nikki started her presentation by highlighting her early life in a close-knit Greek Orthodox community in Rochester, MN, prior to the building of an Orthodox Church.
Presvytera talked of her days at the University of Minnesota as a student in Public Relations, her vibrant work with Radio Free Europe, being courted by her future husband, Rev. Dr. Robert Stephanopoulos, their time living in Greece following their marriage, and the amazing community of fellow clergy that were and are a strong part of their lives. Presvytera Nikki also spoke to the valuable ministry of Archbishop Michael as an exemplary leader who led the Religious Education movement in the US, founded GOYA and St. Michael’s Home, and introduced English into the Liturgy.
Throughout their pastorates at St. Demetrios Church, Fall River, MA, the Church of Our Saviour, Rye, NY, and Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral, Cleveland, OH, she pursued her public relations interest as a volunteer in the parish and community. During her tenure for the Archdiocese as Director of News and Information/Public Relations Officer, Presvytera Nikki served as a feature editor for the Orthodox Observer, the USA Press Officer for the Patriarchal visits for Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios in 1990 and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 1997, and as an Archdiocesan representative for several boards and councils.
Presvytera Stephanopoulos encouraged current students and members of the greater community saying, “Everybody in a community can do something. My specialty happened to be publicity and public relations. Other people sing in the choir, are in Philoptochos; you should decide what interests you and what you like and serve.” She stressed to the students in the audience, “It is very important whether you graduate as a priest or if you are going to work in a community, the first thing you do is get to know the media. You want the press to contact you if they have a question about the Orthodox Church and not gather their information elsewhere.”
To read more on Archbishop Michael, please click here.
The Women Leaders of the Church annual lecture series honors women who have devoted their lives and careers in service to Christ and His Church. Each year, the Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) selects a woman leader to share her experiences in Church service, which can span decades. The women’s’ biographical lectures offer a taste of the breadth of vocation within the life of the Church.
The OVM sponsors vocational exploration programs for high school and college students both at Hellenic College and across the nation. On the campus of Hellenic College and Holy Cross the OVM runs: CrossRoad, a summer institute for high school students; Hellenic College Student Vocation Programs, including seven leadership development programs for undergraduates; and the Orthodox Scholars’ Initiative, grant opportunities and symposia for Hellenic College faculty and Orthodox faculty nationally.
The OVM is meeting a deep need in the Orthodox Church to increase the number of young people who choose full-time Christian ministry and ethically informed careers. The OVM programs target students at a critical juncture in their lives, offering unprecedented resources for them to explore their vocations.
The Office of Vocation & Ministry is led by Director Ann Mitsakos Bezzerides, Ph.D., Crossroad Director Mary Long, Assistant Director Daniel Belonick, and Development Coordinator Stephanie Callas Skedros.