History of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America
The Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs (FROC) was founded in 1927 as a national youth and young adult movement, with a goal to organize the faithful, produce English language church materials, and to promote the religious work of the Church. During it's 90 year history, the organization (renamed the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America, or FOCA) has expanded its mission with the goal of witnessing our Orthodox Christian faith by charitable works through fellowship. Our membership a national network of senior (adult) and junior (age 10-18) chapters which, through a variety of religious, educational, cultural, social and athletic activities, provides an ideal way to meet others within the faith, beyond the boundaries of the local parish.
On National and District levels, the FOCA sponsors a number of annual events and activities, including: religious activities and services, outreach and service events and fundraisers, a national convention, youth camping programs, sports tournaments and a youth creative arts contest.
To learn more about the FOCA or to reach a representative of our membership department, e mail us at FOCACommunications@gmail.com
1920's, 1930's & 1940's
In 1927, The Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs are founded by Fr. Vladimir Prislopsky, as a means to assist in the work of the Church and provide an ideal way to meet others within the faith beyond the boundaries of the local parish. By mid-1929, over 44 chapters had been established. In 1943, the William Fekula Scholarship Fund was established (which continues to this day).
1950's & 1960's
An active period in the life of the FROC as athletic competition increased at both the District and National levels. Also, the need for “Sunday School” materials and programs became a priority of the organization. In 1962, with 282 participants, the FROC sponsored the first National Church School Teacher’s Conference.
On September 23, 1970, the beloved founder of the FROC, Fr. Vladimir Prislopsky, fell asleep in the Lord. Soon after, the newly-constructed FROC national headquarters in Wilkes-Barre, PA was named in his blessed memory. In 1976, the 50th Anniversary National Convention was held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, an active FROC member and scholarship recipient, was elected Primate of the OCA in 1977.
The organization established a Mission Hotline whose purpose was to match used liturgical items, donated by established parishes, to small or mission parishes in need. A renewed interest in membership growth by youth and young adults saw increased attendance at annual FROC events such as the National Basketball, Bowling and Summer Sports tournaments, as well as “Junior Olympics”. At the 1988 National Convention in Orlando, Florida more than 1,500 room nights were booked!
In 1994, the convention body of the FROC petitioned the Holy Synod of Bishops to be officially recognized by the Orthodox Church in America. In the spring of 1995, the Holy Synod blessed this request. At the 1999 National Convention in Albany, New York, delagates approved the organization’s name change to “The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America” (FOCA).
2000's & Today
The FOCA strengthened our relationship with St. Vladimir’s and St. Tikhon’s Seminaries; identifying new ways to help serve each of them. Since 2002, the “Adopt a Seminarian” project has been spearheaded by the New Jersey District providing financial assistance to needy married students. From 2010-2015, the FOCA pledged $300,000 towards the “Married Student Housing” project at St. Tikhon’s - the largest pledge in our organization’s history.