Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America to Celebrate 75th Anniversary at National Convention

Hundreds of members and friends of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA] will gather at the Marriott City Center Hotel here July 10-15, 2001 for the organization’s annual National Convention.

Topping the agenda will be the celebration of the FOCA’s 75th Anniversary – and convention organizers are anticipating the event to be the “biggest birthday celebration ever with a variety of special events highlighting the fellowship’s heritage scheduled throughout the event.

Founded in Pittsburgh in 1927 by the late Father Vladimir Prislopsky and friends as the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs [FROC] – in the late 1990s federation members voted to change the name in an effort to attract members of non-Slavic descent – the FOCA maintains senior and junior chapters in dozens of parishes across North America. While the FOCA’s spiritual leader is His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America [OCA], the fellowship also maintains chapters in a number of non-OCA parishes. In the mid-1990s, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America designated the FOCA as an official arm of the Church.

A highlight of the convention will be the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 15, at which a number of hierarchs will concelebrate. Metropolitan Theodosius, an FOCA honorary life member, will not be present due to the four-month medical leave he began during the first week of May 2001. His Eminence, Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, Temporary Administrator of the Orthodox Church in America, together with His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania and His Grace, Bishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest, will concelebrate the Liturgy with local and guest clergy. The Very Rev. Igor Soroka, Donora, PA, director of the Pittsburgh Cathedral Choir and a past FOCA spiritual advisor, will conduct the choir for the convention Liturgy.

The convention will begin with a meeting of the FOCA Board of Trustees on Tuesday, July 10, while the gala 75th birthday celebration will be held on the evening of Wednesday, July 11. Conventioneers will have ample time to enjoy Pittsburgh’s numerous attractions and tourist sites before plenary sessions begin on Thursday, July 12. Later that evening, conventioneers will sail the city’s three rivers and enjoy spectacular views of the glittering skyline during a dinner cruise on the the Gateway Clipper Fleet’s largest paddle wheel boat. Convention plenary sessions will resume on Friday, July 13, while the evening will be filled with dancing to the music of Bud Hundenski and the Corsairs, an FOCA favorite. A disc jockey and other entertainment will fill those moments when Bud needs to catch his breath. After the concluding plenary sessions and other scheduled activities on Saturday, July 14, conventioneers will attend Great Vespers, after which the traditional convention Grand Banquet will be held. Following the Sunday Hierarchical Liturgy, a gala farewell brunch will be held.

Throughout the convention, a variety of activities for FOCA juniors will be held, organized by the fellowship’s active junior department. Children and teens will participate in supervised age-appropriate activities, outings, and religious discussions.