Metropolis of Atlanta Strategic Planning

June 2, 2014 Beloved in the Lord,

I greet you with love and joy in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For many years, I have been blessed to travel throughout our Holy Metropolis of Atlanta and speak with our Faithful about our parish communities and our Metropolis. As a result, after prayerful study and reflection, I have directed Mr. Bill Marianes to implement a 6-step Strategic Planning process to systematically guide our Metropolis of Atlanta in the future. Through this process, we will together develop a comprehensive road map to achieve meaningful programs and ministries for the spiritual, educational and social growth of our Faithful and our parish communities. The purpose of this letter is to update you on the excellent progress we have made thus far.

Recently, a dedicated group of nearly 50 clergy and laity from throughout our Metropolis representing many constituencies and viewpoints were invited to meet for three days at a Strategic Planning retreat. The participants brought with them a broad background of service to the Church, reflecting the diverse geography and perspectives of our Metropolis. The discussions were very positive, and all decisions were reached by consensus and with enthusiasm. Preceding this retreat, many clergy and laity from throughout the Metropolis were asked to help identify our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (referred to as a SWOT analysis).

The Metropolis of Atlanta Strategic Planning Team reached a consensus on our SWOT analysis and then developed the following Statement of Why for our Metropolis: The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta welcomes all people seeking salvation, love, truth and fulfillment.

We then carefully reviewed the Archdiocese’s extensive Mission Statement and re-affirmed it for the Metropolis: The Metropolis of Atlanta’s Mission is to energize, cultivate and guide the Faithful in the Southeastern United States by proclaiming the Faith and Gospel of Christ, and teaching and spreading the Orthodox Christian Faith.

Following this, we discussed and refined the Core Values that will guide the overall work of our Metropolis:

Metropolis of Atlanta Core Values
1. Christ-centered
2. Love
3. Sacred Apostolic tradition
4. Education, training and leadership development
5. Outreach and evangelism
6. Integrity, accountability and transparency
7. Family
8. Service and philanthropy
9. Stewardship
10. Hospitality, acceptance, welcoming and embracing
11. Spiritual growth

These Core Values then led to the development of a Vision Statement for our Metropolis, that focuses on both “What do we want to accomplish?” and “Where are we going?” After thorough and extensive analysis, prayerful reflection and consensus-driven discussions, our Strategic Planning Committee unanimously recommends that our Holy Metropolis embrace the following new Vision:

Metropolis of Atlanta Vision

We will grow the Metropolis of Atlanta, and personally grow in Christ and make disciples, by living as witnesses of our faith through loving, faithful and purposeful Orthodox Christian communities focused on worship, education, stewardship, philanthropy and fellowship.

We believe this Vision is fully consistent with the Mission of our Archdiocese and Ecumenical Patriarchate, our statement of Why, the Core Values we identified as our guiding principles, and the overall calling each of us has to be great stewards of Christ’s Church. As we proceed through the next phases of our Strategic Planning process, we will use our Core Values and Vision to help us prioritize our work and the steps we take to attain our goals.

We have now formed the following 11 Task Forces that are developing Strategic Goals and detailed action plans to achieve our Vision. These Task Forces will develop “SMART” Strategic Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistically written, and with a detailed Timetable.

Metropolis of Atlanta Strategic Objective Task Forces

VISION Task Forces
1. Clergy
2. Education
3. Family
4. Outreach
5. Spiritual growth
6. Stewardship
7. Youth

8. Administration
9. Communication
10. Finance
11. Technology

It is important to note that these Task Forces (just like our Core Values) are not listed in order of importance, for they are all critical to our work as a Metropolis. Our work will not be complete until we excel in all of our Strategic Goals and achieve our Vision to strengthen our Parishes and parishioners. In addition to the core Strategic Planning Team that has been working so diligently, we are currently reaching out to our communities to identify additional individuals to assist us in accomplishing our critical work. If any parishioner wants to participate in this Strategic Planning process, please contact our Strategic Planning facilitator, Bill Marianes, at or and identify on which Task Force you would like to work.

In addition, I want to invite everyone to attend a Strategic Planning open forum discussion during our annual Archangel Michael Honors weekend. The afternoon of Saturday, November 8th, we will present our proposed Strategic Goals and seek your input, comments and consensus. We hope you will be able to attend and let your voice be heard as we proceed to build a plan to assist our Parishes and Metropolis for the next several years.

God continues to bless us every day of our lives. He has given us the stewardship responsibility over the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, and I know that you, as a member of our Metropolis family, take this awesome responsibility very seriously. Of course, there is so much we are doing well, and there are other things we can do better.

Naturally we will keep you informed every step of the way and look forward to the full realization and implementation of our final Strategic Plan. With God’s help, there is nothing we cannot achieve if we work together for His greater glory and as faithful stewards of His Holy Orthodox Church: ‘for with God, all things are possible.’

Praying that you and your families will enjoy a restful and blessed summer, I remain, With paternal blessings and with much love in our Lord,

+Metropolitan Alexios
Metropolitan of Atlanta

Live Broadcast of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Holy Sepulcher

On Sunday, May 25th, there will be a live broadcast from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem of the Service of Thanksgiving with Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.  The service is scheduled to start at 7:00pm local time in Jerusalem (12:00pm Eastern and 9:00am Pacific USA time)   The live broadcast will be available world-wide through EWTN on television, computers, tablets, and mobile phones.

EWTN is pleased to be able to broadcast the Ecumenical Celebration at the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday, May 25, featuring Vatican Radio commentaries in English, Spanish, German and French. 

  • Our English, German and French coverage is scheduled to begin on May 25 at 11:55am Eastern Time.
  • Our Spanish coverage is scheduled to begin at 11:45am Eastern Time.

There are many ways to receive EWTN’s broadcasts.  See the links below for detailed information.

General information on all the ways to access EWTN

U.S. Direct to Home Satellite Services
Dish Network Channel 261
Direct TV Channel 370

Satellite Information on all EWTN feeds around the world

Web-streams of all EWTN feeds

Please note: we do not routinely stream in French, but we anticipate having a French web-stream on this page for the celebration at the Holy Sepulchre

EWTN web streams can also be viewed and heard on the EWTN smart phone app.

EWTN Channel Finder for U.S.

U.S. Radio Affiliates

U.S. Satellilte Radio
SiriusXM channel 130

Shortwave Radio Frequency Guide

EWTN page for the Papal Visit to the Holy Land

Join us for an Unforgettable Voyage!

OCN Demetrios New Years Gala body

Oratorical Festival Recordings 2014

We are very proud of all the youth that participated in the 2014 St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. This year we are very fortunate to be able to record our youth and present it here on our website. Please listen and enjoy your children.

Stavros Taschioglou


Owen Cockrell


Michael Simitses


Katerina Petosa


John Taschoglou


Dominic Bowler


Christina Simitses


Athena Tsingelis



Little Lambs – Mommy and Me the Orthodox Way

Our First Meeting April 7th!

Please join us for Little Lambs, all Mommy’s, Daddy’s, Yiayia’s and Papou’s. All children 5 and under are welcome. Meetings will be held in the Church cry-room at 10:00 am on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month for playtime, singing, learning about our faith, and fellowship.  It’s hard to say who enjoys our group more-the mommies or the little ones.

Our first meeting will be April 7. If you have any questions please contact Alexandra Zaden at 1-678-596-6776.

St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival 2014

Introduced in 1983, the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival provides Greek Orthodox teenagers the opportunity to write and talk about their faith. The Oratorical Festival Program begins at the parish level and is divided into three divisions:

  • Elementary Division (local festival only) for students in grades 4–6
  • Junior Division for students in grades 7–9
  • Senior Division for student in grades 10–12

The top speakers in the Junior and Senior Divisions advance to the district level. Two finalists in each district division represent the district at the Metropolis Oratorical Festival. The top speaker in each metropolis division is then selected to participate in the Archdiocese Finals, which is hosted by a different metropolis each year.

All eighteen finalists at the Archdiocese Finals participate in a weekend of activities, the highlight of which is the delivery of their speeches on Saturday morning. The Oratorical Festival Scholarship Fund provides college scholarships to the top speakers. In 2013, the top three speakers of each division received college scholarships of $2,000, $1,500 and $1,000. This year, each Honorable Mention speaker was awarded an iPad2.

Fr. John and Presvytera Margaret Orfanakos serve as the Archdiocese Festival Co-Chairs.

Dates to Remember

Local junior division: March 2
Local senior division: March 9
Local elementary division: March 16
District at St. George, Hollywood: April 2
Metropolis in Jacksonville, May 23-24
National: Cleveland, Ohio, June 13-15

National Festival

On June 13-15 2014, the 2014 National Oratorical Festival will be hosted by the Metropolis of Pittsburgh at the Annunciation Church in Cleveland, Ohio! Click here to read the Press Release.

The 30th National Oratorical Festival was hosted on June 7-9, 2013, by the Metropolis of Detroit at the Annunciation Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Click on the News Release to read about the weekend, and check out page 4 of the July 2013 issue of the Orthodox Observer to read the top speeches and see pictures from the festival.

The Chrysostom Scholarship for Hellenic College

Hellenic College offers The Chrysostom Scholarship to each parish’s top senior division participant of each category. The Chrysostom Scholarship provides 100% of tuition for the recipient’s first year of study, and, based on a GPA scale, up to 80% of tuition for three additional years. For more information visit

Additional Information about the St. Demetrios Festival

  • We have held an Oratorical Festival for over 20 years
  • At least 3 of our students have spoken at the National Festival (Chris Nichols, Mary Kirifides, Elias Selimos)
  • The Festival is part of the Sunday school curriculum and teachers spend class time helping students prepare their speeches.

Our Oratorical Festival will be held on March 17th in the Church. For more information on how to participate please contact Paula Kirifides at

Festival Thanks you!

Thank you to all who supported the Festival 2014 Raffle; the raffle committee that worked tirelessly and our parishioners who bought and sold tickets.

The drawing was held on Sunday evening, February 9th.

First Prize was the 2014 Lexus IS250 from JM LEXUS. Mr. Oscar Fuenmayor held the winning ticket #07876.

Second Prize was a 7 Day Cruise on MSC Cruises’ MSC Divina. Mr. Nicholas Dikegoros held the winning ticket #04522. Bon voyage Nick!

Third Prize was the weekend getaway at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Cynthia Kalesia held the winning ticket #01748. She has chosen to donate the weekend back to St. Demetrios Church for a future raffle. Thank you Cynthia!

Again, thank you for your support that made this year’s festival successful!

Journey to the Holy Land

Come on a journey outside of time.
Come to the places where miracles occurred, where the Apostles walked, where the Theotokos was laid to rest. See where Christ prayed, suffered, died . . . and rose again.
Come to the Holy Land.

Holy Land pilgrimage | March 5-14, 2014

Stand on holy ground

Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, Jerusalem … More than just names in the Bible., these are the places where Christ was born, lived, taught, died and rose again. This is where the Christian Church was founded, and these shrines have attracted pilgrims since the first century. You are invited for this special pilgrimage to experience the Holy Land as never before.  Join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

• Destinations include: Bethlehem, Tiberias, Capernaum, Cana, Nazareth, Jerusalem and more
• Visit the Church of the Nativity and touch the spot where Christ was born
• Take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and experience a spiritual baptism in the River Jordan
• Take the cable car up to the Mount of Temptation Monastery and see the rock by which Christ prayed
• Enjoy a private audience with Patriarch Theophilos III (subject to his availability)
• See where miracles occured: Cana of Galilee, where water was turned into wine; the Church of Tabgha, where Christ multiplied the fishes and loaves; Nain, where Christ raised the widow’s son, and many more
• Visit Mount Tabor, the Church of the Annunciation, the Pools of Bethesda, the Tree of Zacchaeus, the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, the Prison of Christ (Praitorion) and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and many other sacred sites
• Attend a midnight liturgy at the Holy Sepulcher 


Holy shrines, disappearing fast …

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of the Nativity,  the monasteries of the Holy Cross and St. Gerasimos Iordanitis: These shrines and holy places have stood for centuries and have been visited and venerated by millions of  Christians, but they suffer now from neglect and disrepair. Our generation has been given the precious gift — but also the responsibility — of preserving them in spite of the tumult and upheaval of the world around them.

Just as natural elements and the world’s changing politics have had a detrimental effect on these sacred shrines, likewise we have seen the world’s corrosive culture influence the Christian faith in America and around the world. Can we reverse the disastrous effect of godless teachings and bequeath future generations the faith of our Fathers? We believe we can, with your help.

Join Fr. Christopher to see the places where the Christian Church was founded and continues to inspire the world. Ask yourself what will the fate of the Church be in the next generation for my children and grandchildren? The Orthodox Christian Network has been reaching Orthodox faithful and non-Orthodox seekers around the world, but we need to do more. We live in challenging times, but with the Orthodox Christian faith, we can move mountains and inspire the generations to come with a
living and vibrant Church.


For more information visit the Orthodox Christian Network

Daughters Wine Tasting

The Daughters of Penelope


An Evening of
Greek Wine Tasting & Pairings

Saturday, September 28th@7:30pm
St. Demetrios Hellenic Hall
815 NE 15th Ave. Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.
Reservations $30 per person


5 Wines, 5 Pairings & a Seminar

1st Course—Megapanos Moschofilero paired w/
A Greek Salad Skewer

2nd Course– Pavlou Xynomavro Reisling paired w/
BabyShrimp Ceviche

3rd Course-Pavlou Klima Xynomavro paired w/
Lettuce Wraps w/ Bean Salad & Chicken Salad

4th Course– Haggipavlou Nemea Agiorgitiko paired w/
Beef Shank Kokkinisto (tomato sauce) served w/ Orzo & Glazed Baby Carrots

5th Course– Etko Commandaria paired w/
Chocolate Mouse Baklava Parfait

Wine from Greece & Cyprus sponsored by Heirloom Vines Wine Imports Inc.
Pairings provided by the Members of the Daughter’s of Penelope

Contact Marion 305-632-1415 or