Under the direction of Father Christos Mars and Mrs. Carolyn McBride, Atlanta’s Cathedral of the Annuciation has instituted a program known as the St. Kyriaki Handmaidens, with the goal of granting young girls more active participation and service during the Liturgical year. Father Christos was kind enough to answer our questions, and you will find Family Life Ministry’s interview with him below.
(A video interview with several of the Handmaidens will be forthcoming.)
FLM: Tell us about ministry and what is the most interesting part of it?
Father Christos Mars: The Handmaidens is a sisterhood of young women, modeled after the ministry of the Theotokos, the Myrrhbearers, and the other women saints, that is intended to allow girls to grow together in service, prayer and purity. They participate in special aspects of some services and meet for other activities. Some of the areas in which our handmaidens assist, include but are not limited to:
- Assist with ushering as well as assisting the elderly to a seat
- Hand out the Sunday Worship Guides to the people as they enter the Cathedral, and the Sunday Bulletins at the end of the Liturgy as the people leave
- Bring red votive candles to the stands in front of the Cathedral
- Assist with preparing the Koliva for distribution after the Liturgy
- Participating in Processions as defined by the Clergy
- Assist with the readings in the Liturgical Services
- Offer hospitality, flowers, etc. to our visiting Hierarchs and Dignitaries
FLM: How does this ministry impact others, the participants and their families and the church?
Father Christos Mars: The ministry impacts others by seeing that women have a role in the life of the church and more importantly that they have a function in the liturgical aspects as well. It also allows the young ladies and their families to participate in the services more and it keeps them coming to the church.
FLM: Where do you see this ministry going short or long-term goals?
Father Christos Mars: Short term, the ministry is growing and we are trying to get more participation (almost 40 girls are already participating). The long term goal is to make it an important ministry like the Acolytes.
FLM: Tell us about your role in the ministry as director?
Father Christos Mars: My goal, as the priest, was to help formulate this ministry in such a way that it would not take away any of the functions of the Acolytes, but it would still give the girls a vital place in the worship experience.