Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches of Central Massachusetts

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The Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches of Central Massachusetts is an association of twelve Orthodox parishes in the central part of the State of Massachusetts that provides a united witness of Orthodox Christian fellowship and spiritual life.


The Council was founded in 1955 though the efforts of four gentlemen from two parishes in Worcester, Massachusetts. The original Council, made up of nine parishes of the Antiochian, Greek, and Romanian jurisdictions, met for its first combined Divine Liturgy, which was called the Pan-Orthodox Multi-Lingual Liturgy, in Worcester's Memorial Auditorium, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 1955. The chief celebrants were Metropolitans Antony Bashir and Samuel David of the Antiochian jurisdiction. In subsequent years, the chief celebrant was an hierarch of another jurisdiction on a rotational basis.

Twelve years later, after the repose of the original presidents, the Council became inactive. In 1979, the council was re-activated under new leadership. In 1981, the Council expanded when three parishes of the OCA were added, bringing the number of parishes in the Council to twelve.

Activities of the council

In 1983, the Council initiated an effort to establish a common burial ground for the Orthodox community in the Worcester area. Through negotiations with the City of Worcester, the Council was allowed to purchase the rights of burial in a particular section of Hope Cemetery that became known as the Orthodox Section. A granite altar table was designed and erected on the Orthodox Section, where, every Memorial Day, the Council's parishes hold a combined memorial service with the participation of the member clergy and parishioners.

Establishment of the Orthodox Food Pantry in Worcester was the next project undertaken by the Council. The pantry distributes food to the homeless and poor people of Worcester every Saturday morning. The food pantry is staffed on a monthly rotation schedule by teen members from each of the Worcester parishes.

In 1994, the Council began its most ambitious project, that of establishing a residential facility where parishioners could find needed compassionate care in a homelike atmosphere. The Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center[1], with provisions for 130 beds, has become one of the premier facilities in the area. Divine Liturgy is celebrated in the Center's chapel for the residents every Wednesday morning by clergy of member parishes.

Member parishes