It was the fall of my sophomore year and I was on the way out of the Leavey Center as I overheard the above exchange from down the hall. My ears naturally perked up at the mention of my faith tradition—it’s not everyday that the Orthodox make it into conversation at a Jesuit university—but when the chat reached its unexpected conclusion, I stopped dead in my tracks, slightly amused but mostly just dumbstruck. I had been actively involved in the Orthodox Church my whole life, including a rather busy freshman year in Georgetown’s Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), so overhearing this misunderstanding of my faith came as something of a surprise. So much of my life had been spent surrounded by people who knew the Orthodox faith so well that it would have rarely occurred to me how Orthodoxy looked to the rest of the world. The conversation spoke to something else though: while OCF had been a close-knit and supportive group at Georgetown, it existed at a bit of a distance from the rest of the faith communities on campus.
Flash-forward to today: reflecting upon my senior year in OCF as the outgoing President, it’s harder to imagine that I would overhear a conversation like the one above again. Despite our relatively small size compared to other Campus Ministry groups, OCF is quickly earning an unexpected reputation for itself as one of the most active faith groups on campus. In addition to the services, discussions, group dinners, and retreats held within the group, OCF is at the forefront of interfaith dialogue and service on campus thanks to our eager and assiduous students (and alumni!). This year in particular was our most impressive year yet: our interfaith sandwich-making ministry brought together student groups of all varieties for 30 minutes of service and fellowship each week; we hosted an Orthodox monk for a community talk and dinner in the spring; and last month, with the help of the Catholic Daughters, we organized a dialogue on Stress and Christian Life to provide a space for students to talk candidly about the intersection of faith and stress in their lives at Georgetown. The loving and supportive community of OCF has been a home-away-from-home for me these last four years, and with five stellar new students recently elected to our board, I am confident that OCF will continue to be such a community for future Orthodox students at Georgetown as well as an active presence in Campus Ministry for years to come.
Tim Markatos, COL ’15