MINISTRIES

Learn about the ministries and outreach programs of Holy Cross.

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church supports many various ministries that are critical to our brothers and sisters in need. Our parishioners participate in a wide variety of these ministries from local programs that feed the homeless to international programs that build and operate medical clinics in remote parts of the globe.

You can help to enable your friends at Holy Cross to continue with our vast local, national and international philanthropic efforts. Your support will ensure that Holy Cross will be able to continue to fulfill its mission. Here are just a few of the ministries we support.

Adult Bible Study

The Adult Bible Study group meets weekly throughout the year. Its goal is to enrich the understanding and faith of each participant through an exploration of the biblical texts. The class takes into consideration the historical context for the Bible, its characters and events, and draws out various Orthodox interpretations with the goal of achieving deeper theological meanings, especially as they relate to Orthodox Tradition. Classes are a mix of presentation and discussion and participants are encouraged to make comments and ask questions.

If interested, contact John Hoenig: jfhoenig@gmail.com

Building Committee

The Building Committee is authorized to design and implement projects related to facilities, construction, major maintenance, renovations, and redecorating benefiting the Community, as authorized by the Parish Council and the parish General Assembly. The committee comprises fifteen members, fourteen of whom are elected members, and one member appointed by the Parish Council.

The fourteen elected members serve five-year terms with staggered terms electing two or three members each year at the Loyalty Day General Assembly in the Fall. The member appointed as a council liaison serves for one year. The Building Committee selects its chairperson from the fourteen elected members.

All projects assigned to the committee by the Parish Council and/or General Assembly are evaluated. Cost estimates are prepared and designed for execution. Funding for approved projects must be provided by the Parish Council initiatives. A Building Fund account, administered by the committee’s financial officer, oversees the collection of donations and distribution of approved expenses. Major contracts and expenditures for large projects require Parish Council and/or General Assembly approval prior to acceptance and payment. Committee meetings are held as needed and an annual report on committee activities is presented at the first General Assembly of the new year.

If interested, contact John Conomos: Jconomos@conomos.com

 

Chanters

Participating in the Divine Liturgy through the gift of voice is a sacred responsibility. In fact, in the Orthodox Church, our hymns and responses are “prayed” by our chanters rather than “sung.” We encourage our faithful to come study with our chanters and to consider joining.

If interested, contact Philip Yamalis at pyamalis@comcast.net and 412-343-8355, or Emmanuel Maginas at emmanuelmaginas@gmail.com.

Choir

The Holy Cross Choir welcomes new members. Adults, high school and middle school students may join at any time. No auditions are necessary, just the desire to “sing praises to the Lord!” The choir sings from early September – late May, and rehearses before holidays. Choir members must be committed to arriving at 9:20 a.m. to be ready to sing at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy. Sunday School students and teachers are dismissed after the Communion Hymn. Older elementary school children may sing in the choir if they are accompanied by an adult and have the following readiness skills: ability to read English/English phonetics (no reading of the Greek alphabet needed,) and a basic understanding of musical notation and singing in 4-part harmony. An auxiliary choir is also being formed.

If interested, contact choir director Thespina Christulides: thespinac@gmail.com

Circle of Angels

“For I was sick and you visited me” (Mt. 25:36)

While it is the priest that we call when our loved one is sick and in the hospital or nursing home, the Circle of Angels visiting ministry of our parish complements the work of the clergy with additional visits to the infirm and aged in our community. As an example of how important these visits are, one member of the Circle of Angels once heard, “You have no idea how much this visit meant to me.” We help our people maintain a warm and caring bond with their church.

At Christmas and at Pascha, our parishioners make cookies, filling baskets with sweets to distribute on our visits. In addition, the Philoptochos ladies make loaves of bread for us to deliver around these two Church holy days. Additional visits are made at other times of the year to let our people know they are not forgotten. The Circle of Angels welcomes all those who wish to visit the infirm or aged. We always receive more blessings than we give. Please join us!

If interested, contact Carol Halkias: cdhalkias@yahoo.com

First Steps of Christ (Parent Group Ministry)

This group meets monthly during the school year for discussion/ education, support, and fellowship. Previously, the group was mainly for young mothers and the topics were related to children, family, and Orthodox Christianity. Babysitting is provided but young children can stay with their parent(s) during the discussion. Individuals take turns bringing coffee, fruit, and a snack item for the meetings. Meetings are generally held on the second Tuesday of each month at 10AM in the community center, but are subject to change.

For more information, contact Denise Sokos: dsokos@yahoo.com

Garden of Love

The beauty of the garden is a living symbol of the beauty within the Philoptochos organization. Donations are received in memory of our departed loved ones and are used for the care and upkeep of this special planted area at the entrance to our Church.

If interested contact Didra Kirschner: rak401@verizon.net

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree is a recent Holy Cross ministry program which brings attention to three Orthodox stewardship focus areas: the giving of time, the giving of treasure, and the giving of talent. Holy Cross is always in need of all three, and the Giving Tree offers parishioners an opportunity to fulfill their stewardship obligations by responding to specific community requests. Examples include: volunteering at church functions and fundraisers, gifting of altar supplies and flowers, becoming a Sunday School teacher, replacing small items in the church that don’t fit under any established budget – kitchen supplies and equipment, etc. – joining the choir, just to name a few. The intent of the Giving Tree is to raise awareness of Holy Cross’s many ongoing needs befitting a large and flourishing parish. The Giving Tree strives to provide specific opportunities to fulfill those needs.

If interested, contact Ponny Jahn: poncon@yahoo.com

Golden Club Senior Group

The Golden Club of Holy Cross was organized for the 50+ parishioners and generally meets on the third Tuesday of each month. New members – ladies AND gents – are invited to join; information for upcoming events is always included in the weekly church bulletins and the CrossRoads monthly newsletter. Annual dues of $10 are collected in January of each year.

The aim of our organization is to provide spiritual, social, and “lunch, live and learn” programs from September through May. Planned outings have taken us to church tours, monasteries, concerts and plays, a movie (the local movie house provided our group with our own theater!), Pittsburgh museums and more distant tours of famous, historic landmarks. Our day trips usually include a restaurant stop for lunch. Golden Club is also fortunate to have three volunteer van drivers! Under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Michael the Golden Club’s mission is to bring seniors together for spiritual, informative, and fun activities. The coordinators are Rene Koett and Cynthia Kostelnik.

If interested contact Rene: 412.559.1721 rjkoett@yahoo.com or Cynthia: 412.722.9513 cakostelnik@yahoo.com

Mary and Martha Women’s Fellowship

Founded in 1998, Mary & Martha Women’s Fellowship is an outreach of the Women’s Philoptochos Society. Although it concentrates on the intergenerational fellowship of women, Sts. Mary & Martha Women’s Fellowship is open to anyone wishing to learn more about the Orthodox Christian faith from local area Orthodox clergy.

The Fellowship requires no membership or dues. It meets monthly in Orthodox homes, through the generosity of volunteer hostesses, from October through May.

If interested, contact Diakonissa Adrienne Dickos: akdickos@verizon.net

Parish Council

The Parish Council is the executive governing body of the parish. It is responsible for all aspects of parish finances, physical maintenance of the church and grounds, and community social events. The Holy Cross Parish Council is made up of 15 members and the proistamenos (head priest). Each member serves a term of three years, with a third of the membership elected to serve each year so there are always veteran members in office. The officers include the President, essentially the executive officer; the Vice-President who heads the stewardship of the parish; the Financial Secretary who is responsible for the handling of all church finances; the Treasurer who collects, counts and oversees all deposits of the various offerings to the church; and the Recording Secretary, who records and files the deliberations and decisions made by the council.

If interested, contact Parish Council President Chris Pfanstiel: Chris.pfanstiel@gmail.com

Current Parish Council

Chris Pfanstiel, President
Konrad Mayr, Vice President
John Hoenig, Financial Secretary
Peter Teris, Treasurer
Dena Galie, Secretary

JoAnna Asvestas
Costas Grekis
Frank Kalogeris
Jennifer Liokereas
Stephanie Kladakis Myers
Peter Landis
Joy Palonis
Deno Pappas
George Sokos
Georgia Yamalis

2018 Parish Council

John Hoenig, President,

Jim Kampetis, Vice President

Chris Pfanstiel, Fin. Secretary

Peter Teris, Treasurer

Jennifer Liokereas, Secretary

JoAnna Asvestas

Dena Galie

Costas Grekis

Manny Kalogeris

Konrad Mayr

Stephanie Kladakis Myers

Peter Landis

Joy Palonis

Deno Pappas

Georgia Yamalis

2017 Parish Council

Coming Soon

2016 Parish Council
  • John Hoenig — President
  • Ted Sofis — Vice President
  • Chris Pfanstiel — Fin. Secretary
  • Jim Kampetis — Treasurer
  • Stephanie Kladakis Myers — Secretary
  • JoAnna Asvestas
  • Bryan Elderkin
  • Manny Kalogeris
  • Peter Landis
  • Jennifer Liokereas
  • Thea Martin
  • John Orfanopoulos
  • Manuel Politis
  • James Spanos
  • Cathy Terasavage
2015 Parish Council
  • Konrad Mayr — President
  • Ted Sofis — Vice President
  • Duane Ferencz — Secretary
  • Thea Martin — Financial Officer
  • Chris Pfanstiel — Treasurer
  • George Sokos
  • Joanna Asvestas
  • Bryan Elderkin
  • Ponny Jahn
  • Peter Landis
  • Stephanie Kladakis Myers
  • John Orfanopoulos
  • Manuel Politis
  • John Popovich
  • Cathy Terasavage
2014 Parish Council
  • George Sokos
  • Ted Sofis
  • John Giovanis
  • Joanna Asvestas
  • Margaret Diamond
  • Duane Ferencz
  • Ponny Jahn
  • Stergios Kalogeris
  • Thea Martin
  • Konrad Mayr
  • John Orfanopoulos
  • Constantine Paliouras
  • Chris Pfanstiel
  • John Popovich
  • Cathy Terasavage

Philoptochos

The aim and purpose of the Philoptochos at all levels is philanthropy, which literally means “friend of mankind”. The Philoptochos formulates plans and methods to voluntarily aid the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, the handicapped, victims of disasters as well as to undertake the burial of impoverished persons and to offer assistance to anyone who may need the help of the Church through special funds or solicitations on the National, Metropolis, and local levels.

Prosphoro Baking

Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” John 6:51.

A very meaningful project for the Orthodox Christian family is to bake a loaf of altar bread (“Prosphoro”), and bring it to church for the Divine Liturgy. The prosphoro represents Jesus, who is the Bread of Life. The prosphoro is baked by someone in the congregation and brought to the priest for each Liturgy. Bread is used not only to represent Jesus, who is the Bread of Life, of which if any man eats he shall never hunger, but also to express the offering of our life to God. The Greek word “prosphoro” means an “offering” to God. Bread is used as an offering because it represents life. It is the staff of life. Once consumed it becomes part of us, our flesh and bones. Thus in bringing the loaf of bread to God, we are, in effect, offering our whole life to Him. It is the gift of our love.

If interested, contact Nicholas Diamant: frspa@comcast.net

Sandwiches for the Homeless

The Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood of Greater Pittsburgh provides 120 lunches every Saturday to be delivered at the FOCUS outreach center in the Hill District. The Orthodox parishes in the Pittsburgh area take turns volunteering. This ministry was started at Holy Cross in conjunction with the Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood in 1993, and is in its 26th year. Each lunch includes two sandwiches, a beverage, a piece of fruit, and a snack. Previously we delivered to the Salvation Army, Light of Life Mission, and St. Mary’s Church. We are honored to participate with the FOCUS Pittsburgh center. Holy Cross Church administers this program.

If interested, contact Cindy Heddaeus: cahmy3son@comcast.net

Stewardship Committee

Stewardship is the love offering that we voluntarily give to our church. It is what makes it possible to serve the needs of our Holy Cross community. We have no minimum pledge because whatever our parishioners can give is valued. Stewardship can involve many things, the time we have to give to others, the abilities and talents that we use to serve the community, and the financial support that sustains us as a Parish. Our stewardship enables us to support the ministries that are so dear to us. Our outreach, youth organizations, Church school, and the liturgical life of the church, are dependent on this support. The day to day operation and maintenance of the church, community center, and our grounds requires funding. We welcome and encourage everyone’s involvement.

If interested, contact Konrad Mayr: mayr.konrad@me.com

Vacation Church School

Vacation Church School is a one-week summer program that gives children from the ages of 3-12 an in-depth look at particular aspects of our Orthodox faith. The children make arts and crafts, learn songs and hymns, assemble health kits for IOCC, play games, eat themed snacks, and learn lessons about the theme for the week, which varies from year to year.

This program is extremely effective in teaching our young ones about Christ and His Church, and would not happen without its many dedicated volunteers from GOYA age on up.

2019 dates are Monday-Friday, July 29-August 2. The theme is “A Summer Pascha.” If interested, contact Emmanuel Maginas: emmanuelmaginas@gmail.com, or call the church office (412-833-3355).

Young Professionals

Young Adults is designed to keep 21-35-year-olds involved with the Church life. Young Adults interact closely with area groups such as OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) and POYA (Pittsburgh Orthodox Young Adults) for fellowship and worship gatherings. Any and all who fall within this age group, married or single, with or without children, college or professional, are welcome to participate.

If interested please contact Thespina Christulides: thespinac@gmail.com

Walk for Missions

A yearly walk in coordination with the Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood of Greater Pittsburgh is designed to raise funds for various missions around the world. Funds have gone to support the OCMC (Orthodox Christian Missions Center), orphans in Guatemala, a health center in Guatemala, and most recently the seminarians of Guatemala. The 7k walk takes place in South Park and is followed by a cookout and fellowship, with games for the kids.

If interested, contact Faith Williard: faith.williard@pittsburghmoves.com