Orthodox Christians for Life
Embracing an Orthodox pro-life ethic.
Our Vision


To promote the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church on the sacred nature of human life from conception to death,
educating and equipping Orthodox Christians to respond to abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia with love and compassion,
while encouraging the faithful to live in accordance with the guidance of the Church on life issues.


Orthodox Christians for Life will engage hearts and minds at all levels of Christian life, from our Sunday school classrooms to our seminaries. OC Life will encourage an Orthodox Christian pro-life ethic that incorporates prayer, education, and service. In collaboration with clergy and lay leaders, OC Life will produce pastoral resources, create sanctity of life educational curriculum, establish parish-level pregnancy outreach and community support, develop an Orthodox post-abortion recovery program, and further offer opportunities to strengthen the Orthodox community’s commitment to the sanctity of life.


  • That every Orthodox Christian will learn and embrace our Church's teaching that each human life is precious from the moment it is conceived.

  • That through the formation of life-affirming parish ministries, Orthodox Christians tempted by abortion or assisted suicide will not keep their struggles a secret for fear of being condemned, but rather know they will be received with open arms and a loving support system.

  • That our seminarians and clergy will be equipped to handle pastoral challenges related to pregnancy, abortion, and end-of-life situations that arise in their parishes.

  • That Orthodox Christians wounded by abortion will be encouraged to find forgiveness and restoration to communion with God and the Church through the Sacrament of Confession, as well as further healing through post-abortion recovery programs.

  • That incorporating prayer, education, and service for the sanctity of life into the existing ministries and spiritual life of our dioceses and parishes will bring the faithful into greater communion with Christ and each other.

  • That Orthodox Christians will be inspired toward participation and leadership in the pro-life movement.

  • That by cultivating an awareness of the life-affirming teachings of the Church, non-Orthodox will be drawn to the truth of our ancient faith.


Orthodox Christians for Life was originally founded in 1986 by the Rev. Father Edward Pehanich, an Orthodox priest of the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese, the late Rev. Deacon John Protopapas of the Orthodox Church in America, 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 OC Life identified a significant lack in understanding and acceptance of the Church’s teaching within Orthodox communities in the United States.

OC Life was an active and successful grassroots effort for many years. Among other activities, OC Life produced various educational publications and newsletters; helped to establish regional chapters 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.

Over time, the founders were unable to continue their work, and the central structure of the organization was lost.

Recognizing the important work accomplished by the original founders and the need for its mission to continue, an effort has emerged to revitalize the organization, and we have ambitious plans for impacting the Orthodox community. As we renew its mission, we pray that OC Life will bear fruit to the glory of God. Please keep us in your prayers!

Board of Directors

Emily Wilkinson, President
Veronica Ruby, Secretary
John Shannon, Treasurer
Fr. Josiah Trenham, Spiritual Advisor
Mat. Valerie Protopapas, Founding Member