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Orthodox Christians for Life

 John Protopapas (Director of Orthodox Christians for Life, Orthodox Church in America)

Orthodox Christians for Life (OCLife) is a non-profit religious-educational Pro-Life organization consisting of members from the Eastern Orthodox Church. OCLife was founded in early 1986 by Fr. Edward Pehanich an Orthodox priest of the American Carpatho-Russian jurisdiction, John Protopapas, now a Subdeacon of the Orthodox Church in America and his wife Valerie. It functions in cooperation with the hierarchy, clergy, and laity of the Orthodox Church regardless of jurisdiction or geographical location; and supports the doctrines and canons of the Church.

The organization consists of over 800 members (including five chapters) in the United States and Canada.

Orthodox Christians for Life is primarily a religious-educational organization and does not organize marches, demonstrations, or sit-ins; however, we do participate in such Pro-Life events as a group, or as individuals, providing they are peaceful and do not conflict with Church doctrine. We condemn all forms of violence in any effort to resolve sanctity of human life issues with the understanding that one cannot fight evil with evil. The teachings of the Orthodox Christian Faith mandate the protection of innocent human life, especially that of the unborn child.

The Church has always regarded abortion as murder, and as such, takes a role in opposing legalized abortion.

Today's challenges:

The primary sanctity of life issue now being debated in our society today is abortion. Since 1973, when the Supreme Court effectively made abortion legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy, over forty million (40,000,000) unborn children have been murdered by surgical or chemical abortion. This does not even consider those slaughtered by abortifacient contraceptives. The position of the Orthodox Church has never wavered on the issue of abortion from the earliest days - Her theology is and always has been Pro-Life! Abortion is not a political issue, but is a moral issue that has become politicized!

Our vision:

The goals of Orthodox Christians for Life are as follows:

  1. To present and support the position of the Orthodox Church on matters of the sanctity of innocent human life to all peoples, Orthodox Christian and non-Orthodox alike. This includes not only abortion, including the horrific "partial birth abortion." but also euthanasia, infanticide (paediatric euthanasia), suicide, and child abuse.
  2. To initiate and encourage education and energize action on all issues of sanctity of human life in all Orthodox parishes regardless of jurisdiction.
  3. To act as a clearing house for information relating to sanctity of life issues for the Orthodox Christian community.
  4. To aid and assist all those who wish to establish sanctity of life programs or Pro-Life groups on a parish, diocesan, or archdiocesan level and to have representatives available to work with those who wish to establish such programs.
  5. To reiterate and underscore traditional Christian values such as the sanctity of marriage, the blessing of children, the holiness of chastity (both in and out of marriage), the honoring of parents, the love of one's neighbor, and of course, the sanctity of all innocent human life regardless of age or condition of health.
  6. To work in a cooperative spirit with all Pro-Life organizations, regardless of religious affiliation, providing they espouse a complimentary sanctity of life ethic. In this area we serve as a unique witness to the teachings of the Early Christian Church.
  7. To present the Orthodox position on these issues to the secular culture.

Examples of our activities include the coordination and creation of an Amicus Brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court (February 23,1989) on behalf of the Orthodox Church. The document supported the State of Missouri (Webster Case) in its effort to overturn Roe v. Wade. Since 1987 we have coordinated the Orthodox Christian presence in the annual January 22 March for Life in Washington, DC, with as many as 400 bishops, clergy, and lay from various parts of the United States participating. During a driving snowstorm at the 1987 March for Life Archbishop Herman (OCA), accompanied by seven Orthodox faithful, became the first bishop of any religious body not only to walk in the March, but to complete the entire route from the Ellipse to the steps of the Supreme Court.

Orthodox Christians for Life maintains an Internet web site: Our E-mail address is

A yearly subscription to our newsletter, Rachel's Children is $5.00 per year; a suggested minimum membership contribution is $10.00 per year and includes the newsletter. Recognition pins are available for $6.00.

All donations and membership funds should be made out to "Orthodox Christians for Life"
(in U.S. Dollars).  If you are interested in Orthodox Christians for Life write to OCLife, P.O. Box 805, Melville, NY 11747, Phone (631) 271-4408, or by E-mail.

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