Fr. Joseph is available to speak on: Youth, Youth Ministry, Ethics and Youth. Learn more »
The Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, Fr. Joseph Purpura has been training adult youth directors since the late 1980s for the North American Archdiocese of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, creating and implementing youth training programs across the United States and Canada.
Fr. Joseph has held numerous appointments over the past 30 years, including: Chairman of the Pastoral Advisory Council of St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Bridgeport, CT, Chairman of the Francis Maria Foundation for Justice and Peace, Director of Campus Ministry, and Antiochian Village Camp Director.
Fr. Joseph began developing future Church leaders as founder and creator of the SOYO Leadership Training program, now in its fifth year, and has been a Spiritual Advisor for the North American Council of SOYO, the New England Region SOYO and the Eastern Region SOYO. He currently serves as Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, where he organizes and manages a number of ministries for the teens across North America, as well as directly overseeing the North American and Diocesan Youth Directors, Spiritual Advisors and Teen leaders of SOYO. Fr Joseph has been a repeated guest speaker at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, repeated guest speaker for Holy Cross Orthodox Theological School, and keynote speaker at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary as well as for various other conferences, organizations, banquets and events. Fr. Joseph’s most requested topics are: Moral and Ethical Issues among Christian Youth, Family Issues and Youth Development, Youth Church Leadership Development, Christian Time Management, and Christian Youth Director Training.
Fr. Joseph earned a BA in Philosophy from Iona College, New Rochelle, NY while living and studying at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. He holds a Master of Divinity from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY and a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University School of Divinity with a concentration in Ministering to the Bereaved. He also holds a Doctor of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological School with a concentration in Youth Training. His Doctoral Project is titled, “Moral and Ethical Issues Confronting Orthodox Youth across North America.”
He holds the rank of Archpriest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. He served as pastor of St. George Church in South Glens Falls, New York, St. Nicholas Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and St. John of Damascus Church in Dedham, Massachusetts. He has been serving the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries since July 1989. In addition, he is a Youth Ministry Consultant for other Christian jurisdictions and denominations.
Married to Kathleen (Nackel) Purpura since 1976, a graduate of Holy Cross Theological Seminary, also a leading authority in Youth Ministry and currently a Youth Consultant for the Greater Boston area. They have four children, two married sons both PhD candidates; Michael graduated from Emory University, holds a Master of Education from Boston College and is completing his terminal degree in the History and Philosophy of Education, and David graduated from Purdue University, received a Master of Science and Clinical Psychology from FSU and is completing a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Fr. Joseph and Kathy have two daughters; Christina graduated from the University of Rochester, earned an MPH from Brown University and is currently a Health Policy Consultant, and Jennifer is a classical pianist studying music and anthropology with an interest in expressive and creative therapy within holistic counseling for graduate school.
- “The Evening Divine Liturgy,” St Vladimir’s Seminary
- “Ministering to the Bereaved,” Yale University
- “Moral and Ethical Issues Confronting Orthodox Youth,” Pittsburgh Theological and Authorhouse
- Quarterly Youth Ministry section of The WORD magazine for several years
- Numerous articles concerning family and youth issues published on www.antiochian.org
- “SOYO Leadership Manual” An annual Leadership manual for Teen leaders
- Two teen music CDs “Antiochian Village Camp Music CD” and “Sing Praises: teen SOYO Music CD”
- Moral and Ethical Issues Confronting Orthodox Youth
- Raising Children in the Church
- Keeping Children in the Church
- Relational Ministry — a model for Youth Ministry
- Equipping teens to make good decisions
Fr. Joseph is also available to do youth ministry consulting for parishes and dioceses to help them improve, maintain, or start a youth ministry program — parish or diocese wide.