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General News

Student Center Established in Boston

February 2, 2023

BOSTON – A unique Student Center was established in Boston and specifically at the historic parish of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Cambridge, MA which is located a short distance from the eminent universities of Harvard, MIT, Tufts, and Boston University on the other side of Charles River.

In an interview with The National Herald Fr. Vasileios Bebis, presiding priest of the parish, explained that, “the Cambridge community, located in the city center with easy access to our subway system in Boston, has always warmly welcomed and served the undergraduate and graduate students of the region’s universities. However, in the last four years, the Parish Council decided on a more organized approach to student ministry through the partnership with the Orthodox CrossRoad Institute, which organized a young adult center under the name Telos Center. It is for both university students and young adults living and working in the area who, especially in the wake of the pandemic, are looking for community and connection.”

Fr. Vasileios also said that “the establishment of the Center was the result of the vision and encouragement of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, the willingness of Dr. Ann Mitsakos Bezzerides, on behalf of the CrossRoad Institute, to take responsibility for its operation, and the will to implement the project by the then-president Eric Sioras with the support of the parish council. The current president of the Parish Council, Renna Haggerty, is also a staunch supporter. The inauguration of the Center took place in December, 2021 with a blessing service by Metropolitan Methodios.”

He noted that, “the word ‘Telos’ is used with its original meaning of purpose, as the Center intends to cultivate a love for Orthodox spirituality and church life in Orthodox young adults. It is a means for all Orthodox young adults to gather; it includes young adults who come to Sunday liturgy at our parish and those who come from other parishes and want to connect with other young adults during the week for fellowship, learning, and outreach. It is also regularly used for gatherings by the community’s youth, the well-known GOYA.”

Fr. Vasileios Bebis with Anna Bezzeridis, Director of the CrossRoad Institute and Rena Hagerti, president of the Parish Council. (Photo provided by Sts. Constantine and Helen parish)

He also said that, “the Center is open daily, morning and evening hours (the schedule can be found at www.theteloscenter.org). Young adults have the opportunity to participate in a Bible study program tailored to their needs, to attend Vespers or ‘Paraklesis’ every Thursday evening, to attend dinners, discussions, and lectures by renowned Orthodox scientists of various specialties, and to be active if they wish in the monthly excursions of support to the homeless of the city.”

Fr. Vasileios expressed his satisfaction because, as he said, “the response of the students is excellent. Many visit it frequently because of the organized events and the opportunity to socialize. The center has an attractive interior decoration, a wifi connection, a power strip for the use of laptops, a library with Orthodox books, a fireplace, a coffee machine for making various types of coffee, a big screen for presentations, and a small stage for speakers and musicians.”

He added that, “the students who come to the center most often are from the neighboring universities of Harvard, MIT, Tufts, and Boston University due to proximity. However, because the community is next to Cambridge Central Square Station, students and young adults from all over the greater Boston area can participate. Among its regular participants, it has wonderful PhD students and others continuing their postgraduate research.”

The Center’s operation costs are covered by the CrossRoad Institute and not the Parish. The institute also pays the salary of the supervisor of the Center. The renovations cost CrossRoad Institute approximately $150,000 and were covered by three generous donors who love the idea of parishes being hubs for young adults.

Speaking about the The CrossRoad Institute, he said that, “it is well known to many because of its involvement in Holy Cross School of Theology and the summer programs it offers to high school juniors and seniors in Boston, Chicago, and California in partnership with the Archdiocese and the Metropolises. Over 1100 teens have attended the 10-day summer program over the last 19 years. Many find the program made a difference in their caring about our Church themselves, and gave them a deep sense of meaning and purpose and a love for our faith heritage. Applications are now open for summer 2023 at www.crossroadinstitute.org.xn--ivg

Metropolitan Methodios of Boston did the ‘Agiasmos’ Service for the Center. Shown are Fr. Theodore Barbas. chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston. and Anna Bezzeridis Director of the CrossRoad Institute. (Photo provided by Sts. Constantine and Helen parish)

He explained that, “the CrossRoad Institute has its own board of directors, with prominent Orthodox Christians as members, who ensure its financial viability. It also receives sponsorships from American institutions supporting similar educational activities with extensive reporting requirements, as well as from hundreds of supporters of its efforts. It is a nonprofit with financials audited by independent accountants.”

Fr. Vasileios also noted that, “the parish of Saints Constantine and Helen is historical, with a long course of contributions to the spiritual life of our Church in New England, thanks to the work of my late predecessors and all community leaders.”

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