We welcome Nick Kostopoulos on board the Family Life Ministry Team. Nick graduated from the University of Southern California in 2012 with a BFA in Writing for Screen and Television.
When I arrived in Los Angeles before the start of my first semester at the University of Southern California, I attended Liturgy at St. Sophia Cathedral and was pleasantly surprised to find many friendly parishioners who were willing to provide rides to church. For many out-of-state students, the lack of transportation makes attending church an obstacle it shouldn’t be. The priests and parishioners at St. Sophia Cathedral made me feel at home, regardless of the 2,000 miles between me and Atlanta.
After church, parishioners would treat me to lunch, because a Greek on any side of the country is going to make sure you are well fed before they take you back to your dorm! Parishioners gave me rides to the Greek Festival every year and they extended invitations to their homes during the holidays. Attending church and meeting these parishioners was an integral part of my college experience and I will always be grateful to St. Sophia for their “Southern California” hospitality.
For those who attend school away from their hometown, college is a very unique opportunity to find yourself as a person. But for those of us who are Orthodox Christians, it’s equally important that we maintain ties with our faith and those things that keep us grounded. When you are far from your home parish and you find yourself incredibly busy, it’s all too easy for thoughts of the Liturgy to fade. In spite of numerous exams, papers and internships, it is crucial to remember that our spiritual lives don’t go on hold for four years—they are connected to our development as students and young adults.
On another level, there is something equally comforting in finding that spirituality and culture in a whole other environment; it serves as proof that in a time of great change, there can always be a constant in the Orthodox church.
If you are currently in college or a recent graduate, we would like to hear from you. Please submit a brief “college perspective” to the Family Ministry blog by e-mailing Paula Marchman