Book: In the Shadow of the Forty Foot Wall

A crowd funding site has been set up to take advance orders of the book, In the Shadow of the Forty Foot Wall, written by  Chaplain Patrick Tutella.  The book will be released in March 2016 in time for Great Lent.   Patrick Tutella is an Orthodox Christian who has been involved in prison ministry for 40 years. 

“Those behind the 40 foot wall represent some of the most marginalized of society today, and this little book of Chaplain Patrick Tutella so beautifully helps us see Christ’s image in these forgotten and often despised people.”    (Rev. Father Luke Veronis, Director, Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA)

You can visit the website at  http://igg.me/at/fortyfootwall, where you can learn how you can help fund this project in support of Orthodox prison ministry.

I encourage you to visit the site and view the video .   Your support of this publishing effort is greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

Orthodox Prison Ministry

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has designated the Sixth Sunday of Pascha, Sunday, 17 May 2015, to be Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) Awareness Sunday in all parishes.   St. John Chrysostom  (d. 407AD) in a sermon offered these comments about doing prison ministry:

“Let us not, then, neglect to practice deeds of this kind and to live such a way of life.  Even if we should be unable to bring in food or to help by giving money, we still can cheer the prisoners by our words and hearten the soul that is discouraged, and assist in many other ways: for example, by conversing with the jailers, and making the guards more kind.  In fine, we shall accomplish some Good, whether little or great.

Moreover, if you say that there are not estimable, or upright, or well-mannered men in prison, but rather, murderers, and grave-robbers, and purse snatchers, and adulterers, and libertines, and men weighted down with many crimes, even by this observation  you are showing me the necessity for your visiting there.  For we have not been bidden to show mercy to the good, and to punish the wicked, but to show this kindliness to all.  Indeed, Scripture says, ‘Be as your Father in heaven who makes his sun to rise on the good and the evil, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.’ (Matt 5:45)

Well, then, do not bitterly denounce others, or be too severe a judge, but be gentle and kind.  We ought to be so for, even if we have not become adulterers, or grave-robbers, or purse-snatchers, we ourselves are guilty of innumerable other offenses that are deserving of punishment.  Perhaps we have often called our brother a fool, and this merits hell-fire for us (Matt 5:22).  Or we have looked upon women with unchaste glances, and this amounts to the committing of adultery (Matt 5:28).   Or, most serious of all, we have partaken unworthily of the Mysteries, and this makes us guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ (1 Cor 11:27).  Let us not then, be harsh judges of the rest, but let us reflect on our own guilt and thus we shall stop showing this merciless and cruel attitude.

Apart from this, we can also assert that even there we shall find many estimable men, who frequently are as good as anyone in the whole city.   Even that prison where Joseph was contained many criminals (Gen 39-41); nevertheless, that just man cared for the rest.  I say this for he was as good as anyone in the whole of Egypt; nevertheless, he lived in the prison, and no one of those in it knew him.  …

Besides, your Master also did not speak only to the just and flee from the impure.  On the contrary, He received even the Canaanite woman with much kindness, and also the Samaritan woman who was under a cloud, and impure besides (Mark 7:24-30; John 4:1-26).  Further, He received and restored to spiritual health another harlot, because of whom the Jews even reproached Him, and He allowed His feet to be washed by the tears of the impure woman, to teach us to show kindly attitude to those who are in sin (Luke 7:36-50).  Indeed, this is the essence of mercy.  …

Is there a murderer living in the prison?  Let us not, despite this, be faint-hearted in doing him good.  Is there a grave-robber or an adulterer?  Still, let  us take pity, not on their evil-doing, but on their misfortune.  And frequently, as I have said, one even will be found there who is superior to any number of men.  Moreover, if you continually visit those in prison you will not fail to come upon such a treasure.  Just as Abraham, in giving hospitality to any who chanced to come, once happened upon angels, so we also will at least happen upon great men if we do this good work.”  

(HOMILIES ON ST. JOHN 48-88, pp 146-149)

Exorcism in the Haunt of Demons

Icon by Daryl

Several years ago I mentioned a somewhat miraculous opportunity to enter a prison and receive an inmate into the Orthodox Faith.  I described the event in the blog: Must Have Been An Angel.   It seemed to me an angel must have opened the doors of that prison, and the hearts of some of the prison administration, to allow the celebration of the Liturgy and the Chrismation of the inmate.

Now, five years later, Daryl’s entrance into Orthodox bears its own fruit as he became godfather in prison to another inmate, Michael H.   Michael’s sojourn to this moment has been an arduous one, wandering in the wilderness of Sin, the haunt of demons, for many years.

In Your Name, O Lord of truth, and in the Name of Your Only-begotten Son, and of Your holy Spirit, I lay my hand upon Your servant, Michael Polycarp, who has been found worthy to flee unto You, and to take refuge under the shelter of Your wings. Remove far from him his former delusion, and fill him with the faith, hope and love which are in You; that he may know that You are the only true God, with Your Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and Your Holy Spirit. Enable him to walk in all Your commandments, and to fulfill those things which are well-pleasing to You; for by doing these things, he shall find life in them. Inscribe him in Your Book of Life, and unite him to the flock of Your inheritance.

Michael’s own confession which he made before the baptism was perhaps the worst I’ve heard in more than 30 years of listening to confessions, and also the best.  He had written out a serious examination of conscience, aided by the work he is doing through Alcoholics Anonymous.  His life was not one in which he could say with the Pharisee, “‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11).   His had not been a life of indifference toward God but rather one of hostility to the Creator.  And yet, in prison, he found in his godfather a man who had something which created a thirst in him.   So he renounced evil and Satan in order to follow Christ.

The Lord bans you, O Devil: He Who came into the world, and dwelt among men, that He might overthrow your tyranny and deliver men. Upon the Tree, He also triumphed over the adverse powers, when the sun was darkened, and the earth shook, and the graves were opened, and the bodies of the Saints arose. By death He annihilated Death, and overthrew him who exercised the dominion of Death, that is you, the Devil. I charge you by God, Who revealed the Tree of Life, and arrayed in ranks the Cherubim and the flaming sword which turns all ways to guard it: be banned. . . . Fear, begone and depart from this created one, and do not return, nor hide yourself in him (her), nor seek to meet him (her), nor to influence him (her), either by night or by day, either in the morning or at noonday; but depart to your own infernal abyss until the great Day of Judgment which is ordained.

Michael found strength and inspiration in the Holy Martyr Polycarp, whom he chose to be his patron saint.  When he spat upon Satan one could witness his faith, determination and steadfastness.

God, holy, awesome and glorious, Who is unsearchable and inscrutable in all His works and might, has foreordained for you the penalty of eternal punishment, O Devil. The same God, through us, His unworthy servant, commands you, with all your hosts, to depart from him who has been newly sealed in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God. Therefore I charge you, most crafty, impure, vile, loathsome and alien spirit, by the power of Jesus Christ, Who has all power, both in heaven and on earth, Who said to the deaf and dumb demon, “Come out of the man, and do not enter a second time into him:” Depart! Acknowledge the vanity of your might, which does not even have power over swine.

Meanwhile in the large room in which we were standing to do the baptism, the Wiccans and Satanist who have equal access to the same space were engaged, just a short distance away, in their own ceremony, drumming as they did their service.  For the prison is in some ways a microcosm of society, and in some ways it enables and intensifies some who want to defy authority.   It is the haunt of personal demons for many who reside within those dorms.   While some were invoking pagan spirits and demons, Michael was renouncing them in his life.

O Lord and Master, You created man in Your own likeness, and gave him the power of eternal life. You do not despise those who have fallen away through sin, but provide salvation for the world through the incarnation of Your Christ. Likewise, O Lord, deliver this Your created one from the bondage of the enemy, receive him into Your heavenly kingdom. Open the eyes of his understanding, that the illumination of Your Gospel may shine brightly in him.  Assign to his life an Angel of light who shall deliver him from every snare of the adversary, from encounter with evil, from the demon of the noonday, and from evil thoughts.

I don’t remember ever the words of the exorcism having such meaning and power as they did in that chapel, in which gods and demons of all kinds are summoned in prayer.  The entire baptism took on a whole new meaning and power done in the multi-purpose room on the lower floor of a prison building.  No squeaky clean church nave, quiet and full of icons.  Rather people milling about, some curiosity seekers stopping to observe or amuse themselves.     One small icon lost in the vastness of the room’s space.  The Wiccans and Satanists doing a drumming prayer service in an opposite corner of the room.  In the room next door inmates playing rock band instruments for entertainment.  No innocent baby, new born and fresh and innocent of sin.  No doting grandparents cooing at the baby.  True sin, a well experienced sinner, and real repentance.  There were 3 other inmates there for Michael’s baptism, and as they chanted each “Lord, have mercy”, it was not a well tuned choir, but men who each knew why receiving mercy from God is such a gift.

Expel from him every evil and unclean spirit which hides and makes its lair in his heart

“the spirit of deceit, the spirit of evil, the spirit of idolatry and of every covetousness; the spirit of falsehood and of every uncleanness which operates through the prompting of the devil. And make him (her) a reason-endowed sheep in the holy flock of Your Christ, an honorable member of Your Church, a consecrated vessel, a child of the light and an heir of Your kingdom, that having lived in accordance with Your commandments, and preserved inviolate the seal, and kept his garment undefiled, he may receive the blessedness of the Saints in Your kingdom.”

“A child of light.”   Those are the words which Michael told me illumined his mind at the moment.  He had never thought of himself as a child of light, but suddenly he realized how good it was to embrace Christ and to receive the light from Him.  He said a joy and peace came over him as he entered into an experience of God’s Kingdom.  He looked forward to entering the baptismal waters – he was in the third day of his fast which he had undertaken for this moment.

But show this water, O Master of all, to be the water of redemption, the water of sanctification, the purification of flesh and spirit, the loosing of bonds, the remission of sins, the illumination of the soul, the washing of regeneration, the renewal of the Spirit, the gift of adoption to sonship, the garment of incorruption, the fountain of life. For You have said, O Lord: “Wash and be clean; put away evil things from your souls.” You have bestowed upon us from on high a new birth through water and the Spirit. Therefore, O Lord, manifest Yourself in this water, and grant that he who is baptized therein may be transformed; that he may put away from himself the old man, which is corrupt through the lusts of the flesh, and that he may, in like manner, be a partaker of Your Resurrection; and having preserved the gift of Your Holy Spirit, and increased the measure of grace committed to him, he may receive the prize of his high calling, and be numbered with the firstborn whose names are written in heaven, in You, our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

If we only do infant baptisms, we can easily miss the power of the words and symbols of baptism – the newness of life replacing the “old man.”  When we baptize an adult, we experience the words in a powerfully transfiguring way.

baptismc

O Lord, through holy Baptism, You have given to Your servant remission of sins, and have bestowed upon him a life of regeneration. Likewise, the same Lord and Master, ever graciously illumine his heart with the light of Your countenance. Maintain the shield of his faith unassailed by the enemy. Preserve pure and unpolluted the garment of incorruption with which You have clothed him, by Your grace, the seal of the Spirit, and showing mercy to him and to us, through the multitude of Your mercies.

The Newly Baptized Michael Polycarp, Fr. Ted, Godfather Daryl
The Newly Baptized Michael Polycarp, Fr. Ted, Godfather Daryl

The garment of incorruption is Christ Himself whom we put on in baptism.  The glorious original garment which Eve and Adam lost when they sinned and were left standing naked before God, and ashamed.  So the candidate for baptism comes before the Lord, exposed in his confession of sin, his soul naked before God, repentant but no longer ashamed.   For God forgives the repentant sinner and joyfully covers him with the best robe, the garment of salvation, as the forgiving father does to the repentant and returning prodigal son (Luke 15:22).

The righteous in white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:13-14).

So we proclaim at the baptism service the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Romans:

Brothers and Sisters,

Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:3-11)

Icon by Daryl

I too was joyfully renewed by the baptism of Michael, seeing the transfiguring might of the Kingdom of God present even in our prisons, even among sinners, even when demons are near.  Christ our Lord said:

“I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

“I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:7,10)

Christopher’s Restaurant Christmas Icon Exhibit and Sale

As they have done for several years, Christopher’s Restaurant, 2318 E. Dorothy Lane, Kettering, OH, 45420 (on the southeast corner of Woodman Dr. and Dorothy Lane)  is holding their annual Christmas Art Exhibit and Sale.

This year they are again featuring the iconography of Daryl Cochran.  Daryl is an inmate in the Ohio Correctional Instution System who several years ago converted to Orthodoxy and began painting icons.



He has about one dozen icons of various sizes in this years exhibit, all of the icons are for sale.   The icons vary in size from 5″x 7″    to 11″x 17″.  The icons are framed and the cost for the icons runs from  $85  to $150 (plus shipping).

You can view all of the icons and take a look at Christopher’s Restaurant at Daryl’s 2010 Christmas Icons  (click on the upper right “slide show” button to see the photos individually).

If you have any questions about any of the icons and purchasing one of them, contact Fr. Ted Bobosh at FrTed@StPDayton.org or Chip Pritchard at chip@christophers.biz

All of the proceeds from the icon sale are split between the YWCA Women’s Shelter  and an Orthodox prison ministry, with 50% going to each.  Christopher’s Restaurant does not make any money from the sale of these icons.

Icon Sale to Profit Charity

Archangel Michael

Christopher’s Restaurant and Catering in Kettering, Ohio, is having their annual Christmas art sale.  Proceeds from the sale of the art is being donated to the YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter in Dayton, and to an Orthodox prison ministry. 

This year’s featured artist is Daryl Cochran, who is himself an Orthodox Christian, and currently is an inmate at the London Correctional Institute in London, OH.  Daryl converted to Orthodoxy a few years ago while in prison and is a talented artist and iconographer.

Daryl produced several icons related to the nativity season, as well as some traditional Orthodox iconographer and other Christmas art.

Daryl’s art and icons are on display at the restaurant, and some of them can be viewed in this blog.  They were photographed with a ruler to give some sense of the size of the icons.

Most of the icons are now framed – the framing was donated by the Patterson Chase Company, 460 Patterson Road, in Dayton.  Patterson Chase is not receiving any reimbursement for the framing.

Holy Family

Some of the icons are done with gold leaf.

You can purchase one of the icons, depending on their availability by contacting Chip Pritchard, owner of Christopher’s Restaurant at 937-299-0089 or at  chip@christophers.biz.   Please note some of the icons may have already been sold at the restaurant.

Most of the icons are priced at $90 which includes any framing, and shipping and handling, and are available to be shipped immediately after Christmas when the art display is finished.  You will be making your check to Christopher’s Restaurant.   The restaurant is donating all of the proceeds to the above mentioned charities.

St. Nicholas

Chip Pritchard is an Orthodox Christian and member of St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church in Dayton, OH.

Christopher’s Restaurant and Catering

 is located at

2318 East Dorothy Lane

Kettering, OH   45420.

These icons are representative samples of Daryl Cochran’s work.  If you would like to commission Daryl to paint an icon for you, you can contact Fr. Ted Bobosh at FrTed@stpdayton.org.

You can view more of the icons and paintings of Daryl that are on display at Christopher’s by visiting my flickr page:   http://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/sets/72157622908968892/

If you would like to view other examples of Daryl’s iconography, you can go to :

my flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/sets/72157621794996182/

This last set of icon photos are of icons that are privately owned and currently not for sale, but are representative of Daryl’s iconography in case you would like to commission him to paint an icon for you.

If you want to order one of the icons in the art show at Christopher’s Restaurant, contact Chip Pritchard directlyat chip@christophers.biz.

Contact Fr. Ted if you want to commission Daryl to paint an icon for you.

Need an Icon Painted?

There is a man whom I visit in prison, a convicted murderer, who about a year ago converted to Orthodoxy while in prison.   I wrote one previous blog about my somewhat miraculous experience with Daryl (see my blog  Must Have Been an Angel).

It turns out that Daryl is a talented artist and has begun painting small icons in prison.   As with all us in the fallen world, there is great beauty in his soul as well as the capacity to sin.  

Daryl has to use the materials he has available in prison.  Somewhat “funny” story- he had to use dental floss to cut a board to shape for an icon he made for me.   Daryl has provided a few icons to our parish and to some parishioners.     If you are interested in having him paint an icon, you can send me a letter with the icon you would be interested in having him paint.   Size limit is probably between about 3″x4″ up to 8″x12″ (but remember he may not be able to do exact size as he has to use available materials).   He asks $30-$50 for an icon (he has to pay for all the materials he uses).   He does give part of what he earns to the church and to charity.  He also needs the money to buy toiletries and tennis shoes (which the prison does not supply for free).     It helps if you can send a photocopy of the icon you want him to paint so that he can copy the style.    If you are interested in an icon, you can contact me through this blog or at FrTed@stpdayton.org or at

St. Paul Orthodox Church

4451 Wagner Road

Dayton, OH  45440

Below are a couple of examples of his iconography.  (Some of these are available for purchase as well).

 

Anthony

christ

christ4

crucifixion2