By JULIA KASSEM, Staff Writer

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is a newly established religious student organization entering its second semester at the university. This organization is defined for drawing their traditions from ancient times.

Alexander Kakaris Porter, the president, says the purpose of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship is to connect Orthodox students on campus and engage them, and others, about the faith.

“Being Orthodox in college can be very difficult,” Porter said. “We hope to make it easier for Orthodox students to maintain their faith while building friendships through fellowships.”

Porter said all members follow four important aspects of the organization: fellowship, education, worship and service. Fellowship brings its members together through discussion, meetings and reflection. Education will typically involve a bible study, a music study or meeting with a priest after a church service in a casual setting to ask questions. Worship happens on Saturdays during Vespers, which are Orthodox evening prayer services.

“A certain point of the service is seen as the start of a new day,” Porter said. “We make peace with the day and hopefully resolve any struggles as we prepare for a new day.”

During Vesper services, several different traditions are followed, which include Greek, Russian, Romanian and Macedonian, among others. Porter said despite having people from different backgrounds and cultures, the theology is still the same. Service involves community outreach and church collaborations.

Porter said this semester and beyond, the organization aims to support fellowships on other college campuses. Porter also said they want their members to experience and witness to the Orthodox Christian Church through community life, prayer, service to others and study of the faith.

This semester, the organization plans on bringing several Orthodox priests to campus in an event that will be accompanied by an open panel and question and answer session.

Porter said he hopes that people will get to know about this organization on campus and that it will be there if students want to learn more or need it.

“College is tough and is a trying time for people of all religions,” Porter said. “We would like to offer the option and resources about the Orthodox faith to students interested and another avenue for the students already [in the organization].”

OCF is a pan-Orthodoxy group representing the official collegiate campus ministry organization under the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. Student groups around the country organize into local chapters at universities and colleges, with OCF at the UM-Dearborn established winter of 2015.

OCF welcomes all Orthodox jurisdictions and faiths and others to their meetings and events. Anyone who is interested in obtaining more information should contact Porter at akakaris@umich.edu.