In honor of its Centennial Anniversary, Archangel Michael Orthodox Church hosted the second of three educational lectures planned for this year on Saturday, April 2, entitled Living an Orthodox Life in the 21st Century. The event was held at Woodside Event Center and featured guest speaker Fr. Joshua Makoul, dean of St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh. To begin the day, Fr. Makoul stated that in order to live an Orthodox life in the 21st century, we first need to know what an Orthodox life is—striving to become through Grace what God is by nature. He noted that a life of spiritual paralysis or stagnation is not the Orthodox life and our participation in our own spiritual growth determines our response to everything that goes on around us.
As the conversation continued, Fr. Makoul spent significant time walking the attendees through the idea of finding balance in the post-pandemic world and examining some of the potential trauma we face as we emerge from over two years of isolation and stress. To find our balance, we must seek an internal locus of control rather than external, and then recognize that as Christians, our ultimate locus of control is Christ and the Gospel. Adjacent topics included finding and maintaining a level of peace while engaging (or NOT engaging) on Social Media, treating others with love and patience even when they are different from us, and having compassion and imitating Christ’s mercy on ourselves, citing that our necessary course of action, at all times, is to do what is best spiritually for ourselves and our brothers and sisters.
Attendee response to the topics covered throughout the day was overwhelmingly positive.
Fr. Joshua Makoul worked in the counseling field for sixteen years in family-based, school-based, and outpatient settings and has served as the dean of St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh since 2012. He received training in family therapy at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center and in cognitive behavior therapy at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Fr. Joshua earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, his master’s in counseling psychology from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, and his M.Div. from Holy Cross Seminary in Boston. He is licensed in the state of Pennsylvania for counseling.