Giving back to the community is something that Father Joseph Purpura cares deeply about. Throughout his career, Father Purpura has focused on training youth to be Orthodox Christian leaders who care about their communities. In addition to training youth, Father Purpura has trained adult youth directors for the Orthodox Christian Church.
Today Joseph Purpura works as the Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parishes Ministries. His duties include developing, organizing, and directing ministries for teenagers in North America and overseas. Additionally, Father Purpura’s holds the following positions:
- Facilitator – the Committee for Youth, Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America
- Co-Founder and Manager – Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth, Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Youth
- Administrator – the NAC Teen Coaches for the Special Olympics Training Camp
Father Purpura has held other positions over the past forty years as well including Spiritual Advisor, Orthodox Camp Director, and Pastoral positions. As part of his work teaching youth, Father Purpura has traveled across North America to train other adult youth workers on best practices and strategies for working with young people.
At the moment Father Purpura teaches as Professor of Youth Ministry for the Antiochian House of Studies. Father Purpura has also taught n Adjunct Professor of Youth Ministry at Holy Cross Orthodox School Of theology and at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. The course that he teaches provides an in-depth look at the different ministries that students will one day be a part of. It also examines best practices of Orthodox Youth Ministry throughout the United States and Canada to help students understand how to relate to youth and aid the Church in forming ministries that attract young people.
Becoming an Orthodox Priest
From the time that he was a child, Father Purpura knew that he wanted to be an Orthodox priest. He enrolled in St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary immediately after graduating high school. During his time in the seminary, he also earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Iona College. After being assigned to work in Connecticut, Father Purpura earned a Master’s Degree in Sacred Theology from Yale University. In 1999 Father Purpura earned his Doctor of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological School. His final Doctoral Project was titled “Moral and Ethical Issues Confronting Orthodox Youth.”
Across the years one of the most important lessons that Father Purpura has learned is that all young people have the ability to become leaders and excel regardless of the mistakes that they may have made. Often young people who are labeled “bad” are in fact suffering in some way. Father Purpura enjoys assisting young people on their path of learning from their mistakes and becoming more involved in the Church.