Orthodox Christians for Life ("OCLife") was originally founded in 1986 by the Rev. Father Edward Pehanich, the late Rev. Deacon John Protopapas, and his wife, Matushka Valerie Protopapas, a prolific writer on sanctity of life issues.
The Orthodox Church has never wavered in its teaching that human life is sacred from the moment of conception, being made in the Image and Likeness of God, and that abortion is a grave assault against both mother and child. However, the original founders of OCLife identified a significant lack in understanding and acceptance of the Church’s teaching within Orthodox communities in the United States.
OCLife was an active and successful grassroots effort for many years. Among other activities, OCLife produced various educational publications and newsletters; helped to establish regional groups around the country; encouraged Orthodox participation in the March for Life in Washington, D.C.; and was instrumental in the coordination and creation of an Amicus Curiae Brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in 1989 in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Webster, supporting the State of Missouri in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Unfortunately, over time, the founders were unable to continue their work, and the organization fell dormant by the early 2000's.
A New Beginning
Recognizing the important work accomplished by the original founders and the need for its mission to continue, an effort emerged in 2019 to revive the organization, with nonprofit status being obtained on April 1, 2020 and the organization officially re-launched in November 2020.
We have ambitious plans for impacting the Orthodox community: we will strive to engage hearts and minds at all levels of Christian life, from our Sunday school classrooms to our seminaries. We will cultivate an Orthodox Christian pro-life ethic that incorporates prayer, education, and service into the existing ministries of our church communities. In collaboration with clergy and lay leaders, OCLife will produce pastoral resources, create sanctity of life educational curriculum, establish parish-based pro-life ministries, develop an Orthodox post-abortion recovery program, and further offer opportunities to strengthen the Orthodox community’s commitment to the sanctity of life.
As we renew its mission, we pray that Orthodox Christians for Life will bear fruit to the glory of God.