Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura

Sessional Assistant Professor of Youth Ministry

Chairman of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Department of Youth and Parish Ministries since July 1989, The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura has been training adult youth directors since the late 1980s, creating and implementing youth training programs across the United States and Canada. Father Joseph has held numerous appointments over the past 30 years, including: Spiritual Advisor to parish teen groups, Spiritual Advisor of Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) in both the Eastern Region and New England Region, Spiritual Advisor for the North American Council of SOYO from 1985-1991, Campus Ministry Director, Antiochian Village Camp Director, Administrator to the NAC Teen Coaches for the Special Olympics Training Camp, and currently as Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, where he manages a number of ministries for teens across North America, and oversees the North American and Diocesan Youth Directors, Spiritual Advisors, and teen leaders.  

Father Joseph began developing future church leaders as founder of the SOYO Leadership Training Program, now in its sixth year. He is also the first and current Facilitator of the Committee for Youth of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.  

Father earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Iona College, New Rochelle, NY, while living and studying at St. Vladimir's, where he graduated with the Class of 1979. Later, he earned a D.Min. from Pittsburgh Theological School, and his doctoral project was titled "Moral and Ethical Issues Confronting Orthodox Youth across North America." He also holds a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University School of Divinity, with a concentration in ministering to the bereaved. As an instructor, Fr. Joseph teaches in both the St. Stephen's regular and residency programs in the Antiochian House of Studies, and directs the youth ministry concentration for the St. Stephens Program.

Father's wife, Kathleen (Nackel) Purpura, is a graduate of Holy Cross Theological Seminary, and a leading authority in youth ministry, a founder of the Youth Potential Advisory Group for the Greater Boston area, a substance-prevention specialist, and the Executive Director of the Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth. They have four children.

Recent Courses You've Taught at SVOTS: 
  • Antiochian House of Studies, St. Stephen’s Program, Antiochian Village, Bolivar, PA, Faculty, 2009-present
  • Antiochian House of Studies, St. Stephen’s Youth Ministry Concentration, Bolivar, PA, Academic Administrator, 2009-present
  • Antiochian House of Studies Residency Program, Bolivar, PA, Faculty, 2005-present
  • Inter-Orthodox Bible Studies Seminar, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Instructor, 1979 - 1982
Selected Publications: 
  • Purpura, Joseph F. 2002. Moral and Ethical Issues Confronting Orthodox Youth. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
  • Regular contributor to The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America Website. , , 1995-present 
  • Creator and regular contributor to The North American Council of SOYO website. 2012 to present.
  • 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. “SOYO Leadership Manual” An annual Leadership manual for Teen Leaders (unpublished worked distributed to Youth Leaders at the Annual SOYO Leadership Conferences 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007
  • SOYO, Teen. Sing Praises.CD. Producer Joseph F. Purpura 2004
  • Antiochian Village Camp Music CD. CD. Producer, Joseph F. Purpura 1996
Recent Conference Presentations and Activities: 
  • “Making Good Choices”, presented to Teens and Young Adults, Halifax Nova Scotia, February 9, 2012
  • “What Stands in the Way of Keeping Our Children in the Church”, Presentation to Parents in Halifax Nova Scotia February 8, 2012 
  • “Living an Orthodox Life on Campus”, Purdue OCF, Purdue University Orthodox OCF House, West Lafayette IN February 5, 2013
  • “What Stands in the Way of Keeping our Teens in the Church”, January 26, 2013 Orthodox Christian Youth Worker Conference, Austin Texas 
  • “Youth Ministry – Keeping our Kids in the Church and What Gets in the Way:  Substance Abuse”, Paper and Presentation Delivered Christian Education Conference Bolivar PA, November 2 2012
  • “Issues Confronting Orthodox Christian Youth”, Presented to the Youth of St James Loveland OH October 19, 2012
  • “Issues Confronting Orthodox Christian Youth”, Presented to the parents of St. James Orthodox Church Loveland OH, October 20, 2012
  • “The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth”, St. George Church, Boston, MA, Sept. 2012
  •  “Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and other Substance Use Amongst Orthodox Teens”, Clergy Symposium, Antiochian Village Bolivar, PA July 16, 2012
  • Invocation, 21st NATIONAL Awards Luncheon for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum (1,600 Federal and Coalition Leaders present) , 16:28
  •  “The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth”, St. George Church, Indianapolis, IN, Nov. 2010
  • “The Healthy Youth Initiative”, Holy Resurrection Church, Tucson, AZ, Sept. 2010
  • “Substance Abuse Prevention in our Orthodox Teen Communities”, St. George Church, Cicero, IL, August 2010
  • “Healthy Youth Coalition Building”, St. Michael Church, Louisville, KY, August 2010 
  • “Substance Abuse Prevention”, St. George Church, Cleveland, OH, July 2010
  • “Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Building” St. Michael Church, Greenburg, PA, July 2010
  • “Christian Marriage and Family”, presented at St. Tikhons Seminary, November 25, 2008, November 2008
  • Numerous other Presentations, workshops and retreats across North America over the past twenty-three years.