(OCA) - The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America (FOCA) recently funded distribution of Orthodox Christian coloring books in Yupik for children in the southwest region of the Diocese of Alaska where, according to His Grace, Bishop David, “Yupik is still very much used in many homes.”
The idea for the project began when an Orthodox teacher, Reader Basil Stuart, approached Archpriest Michael Oleksa about producing the books.
“Dionysios Potamitis, who had produced the original coloring books in English and Greek, was contacted, and the plan for translating two volumes into Yupik was devised,” Bishop David added. “Archpriest Martin Nicolai, an accomplished musician and translator, was tasked with working on the translations of the books, which are available on-line.”
Father Martin completed his work in 2014, but the Diocese lacked funds to publish the books.
“Bishop David had mentioned the project to Marge Kovach and Becky Tesar, the FOCA’s current and past national Presidents, concerning the possibility of funding publication and distribution of the books,” said Archpriest Theodore Boback, FOCA national Spiritual Advisor. “The project was presented to the FOCA Executive Board and Trustees for consideration as part of the ‘Gifts of Love’ project. Delegates to the FOCA’s national convention in Chicago in July 2016 embraced the project, resulting in a total of $10,000.00 in donations.”
“Thanks to the FOCA’s ‘Gifts of Love’ project, the books were printed for distribution throughout the Nushagak, Yukon and Kuskokwim deaneries,” Bishop David explained. “Not only will these books inspire our own youth in their faith, but they will serve as a means of introducing other children to Orthodox Christianity as well.”
A moving video featuring children from the Diocese of Alaska thanking the FOCA for their generosity and stellar example of stewardship is available on Facebook.