Archived News 

Please find archived news, from newest to oldest, below.


May 26, 2022: Parish School Board Applications Welcome!

The Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy (A2OCA) school board is seeking additional volunteers to join the board who are passionate about offering children a quality, Orthodoxy education in the classical education tradition. Our new school building is under construction, and we are currently working towards planning and offering a microschooling program and online program for the 2022-2023, as well as a 5-day program the following school year (2023-2024). We need your help to make this happen! If you are interested in learning more about A2OCA feel free to visit our website at and/or e-mail us at If you are interested in volunteering your time and talents towards this important cause, kindly e-mail us at to let us know by June 15, 2022. Board terms begin in July and run for two years. If you have experience in communications and/or marketing that would be a plus, but not a requirement.

For more information on our school and classical education, we offer the following links for your consideration:

A2OCA's Mission
The mission of Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy is to provide a classical education in an Orthodox Christian environment, allowing our students to grow to their full human and spiritual potential, with the ability to engage society as mature followers of Jesus Christ.

On Classical Christian Education
Dr. Andrew Kern (an Orthodox Christian) talks about what classical education is


May 3, 2022: Meet Orthodox Author Melissa Naasko this Friday!

All are welcome! Melissa's books in print are available for purchase, and promotional materials for her upcoming books will also be available!



April 20, 2022: School BBQ Fund Raiser is April 30!

Please join us for a barbecue fundraiser for the Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy on Bright Saturday! Lent will be over. Join us for a delicious non-Lenten lunch for a great cause! It is time to finish our school! So we’ll kick off a new campaign *to raise the last funds needed* at this fundraiser. Save the date for a great meal for a great cause at St. Vladimir's on April 30, 2022 at noon. Help build your parish school – create a legacy for generations to come!


January 11, 2022: Anna Ramirez: On-Line Education - What You Need to Know



December 1, 2021: Proceeds from Nativity Ball Benefit A2OCA

The annual Nativity Ball at St. Vladimir Church in Ann Arbor will benefit A2OCA! Buy tickets! Tell friends! Make a donation (even if you don't buy tickets)! All at the link below. Join us in support of our school!



October 20, 2021: Classes begin January 2022

We are pleased to announce that we will begin on-line instruction in January 2022. More information will soon be posted here!


October 6, 2021: Meet A2OCA's On-Line Instructor

Visit the link below and scroll down just a bit to read Mrs. Anna's Biography!



September 26, 2021: On-Line Program Available Now!



August 25, 2021: We are ON-LINE this Year!

We will offer Kindergarten through Second Grade instruction this year on line! Due to the pandemic and a shortage of contractors (and materials) the new building won't be finished for this fall - but we'll have classes anyway! The full schedule and information on how to sign up is coming soon. Watch this space!


August 1, 2021: New Logo!

This is our new logo! And we will be reworking our entire web site soon. Stay tuned!


May 1, 2021: Application for Fall 2021 Available!

The application for fall 2021 is available at the link below.


Questions? Please email We welcome your child's application!



March 29, 2021: Update on Application Availability

There is a little delay getting the application up on line. There are a few technical issues we are still working out. Please email us at and we’ll keep you updated!


March 18, 2021: Virtual Information Session Now Available!


Online Q&A Sessions: Saturday, March 20, 2:30-4:00 p.m. and Monday, March 22, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Reserve your place now:!


February 19, 2021: Updates from A2OCA!

Lot of things are happening at our school! The building is going up, we are preparing to open our doors in the fall, and we know that you want to know all about it! If you do, please email us at We'll send you emails from time to time with updates. More to come soon! Make sure you are in the loop! Email us today!


January 17, 2021: Volunteer to Help Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy

Things are really ramping up as we get ready to open our parish day school in September of 2021! Enough, in fact, that we need more than just our board of directors working on the many things that need to be done. Could you help? Maybe one or two hours per month? Maybe a little more? Please send us a note to let us know you’d like to help, and mention the skill sets you’d like to utilize in this volunteer work. Thank you in advance for your willingness to help us start strong as we open the first Orthodox School in Michigan later this year!

Email to volunteer:


October 30, 2019: Moving Forward! School Opens in Fall 2021!

Although various factors beyond our control have pushed back construction of the Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy (A2OCA), we see this as providential given that the current worldwide situation would have forced us to make significant changes to the school’s operation during the 2020-2021 academic year. Trusting in God’s Providence, we continued to work hard during this time, and we are happy to announce that WE WILL BEGIN INSTRUCTION IN THE FALL OF 2021, God willing!

Here are some of our accomplishments this year:

In the fall of 2019 the A2OCA Board of Directors was chosen. This pan-Orthodox group has been meeting regularly and working through the many, many detailed tasks that need to be undertaken in order to open the school in the fall of 2021. Please remember the board members in your prayers:

- Deacon Vladimir
- Reader Mark
- John
- Demetrios
- Maria
- Natalia
- Irene

The loan for the construction of the school was finalized in the fall of 2020, with construction slated to commence in mid-November 2020 and wrap up by the end of December 2021. We look forward to an Open House in preparation for the 2021 academic year sometime early in 2020.

Our lawyer is in the process of finalizing the bylaws for our school.

Much, much more will be happening very soon. Please join us as we strive to accomplish our goals!


Here are some ways that you can help us:

- Please pray for our success

- Kindly consider making a donation to the school (small and large gifts are all welcome and no gift is too small!):


- Connect with us if you have any school materials/supplies that you would like to donate

- Consider being our representative in your parish! Parish priests are busy – you can help spread the word about A2OCA (with your priest’s blessing) by being our point of contact for your parish.


- SIGN UP HERE to be kept informed about our progress and events.


Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. We couldn’t do this without you!

A2OCA Board of Directors


On August 28, 2019 – the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos – His Eminence Archbishop Peter presided at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy, located on the campus of St. Vladimir Orthodox Church in Ann Arbor, MI. Following the evening services for the Image of the Lord Not Made by Hands, a special prayer for the founding of a new structure, and the requisite sprinkling of the site of the school with Holy Water, His Eminence took up a shovel and broke the ground at the location of the future day school. His Eminence was joined at the groundbreaking by the Rector of the St. Vladimir parish, Archpriest Gregory Joyce, along with the parish deacons Vladimir Pyrozhenko and Dmitriy Kashchenko. Also participating were visiting clerics Archpriest Victor Trotskyy (Rector of Dormition Cathedral, Ferndale, MI), Archpriest Vasily Kuzmych (Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Milwaukee, WI), and Priest Joshua Genig (Rector of St. Innocent Church, Redford, MI). Also taking part in the ceremonial groundbreaking was Jack (Alexei) Mitchell, Starosta of the St. Vladimir parish, and Gloria Appling, Head of the Academy.

God willing, construction will start on the school building in the next few weeks, with classes beginning in the fall of 2021. The parish and the school Steering Committee ask the prayers of all for the success of this important venture, which is slated to be the only preK-12 Orthodox Christian daily school in Michigan.

To make a donation to support our school project, please visit the school’s Network for Good site:


Pictures of the Groundbreaking can be found at the following link:



Ground Breaking for the New School is August 28!

His Eminence Archbishop Peter will join us on August 28, 2019 for the official ground breaking for the Ann Arbor Orthodox Classical Academy. Please save the date now! Vespers will be held at 6:00 p.m., followed by a festive procession to the building site, the official ground breaking, and a reception. A free will offering will be taken up at the reception.

Please plan to join us on Wednesday evening, August 28!


Big News - Consultant Visit July 27-28!


Bryan Smith has been in education for over thirty years as a teacher and administrator in liberal arts schools in Texas and Arizona. He also taught history and political philosophy at the College of St. Thomas More in Fort Worth, TX and has served on accreditation committees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Independent School Association of the South. He received his MA in Politics from the University of Dallas and has been a teacher, assistant head, headmaster, and curriculum director.

He was the founding headmaster of three classical schools- one with a decidedly Orthodox Christian identity. He was also the co-founder of the Orthodox Christian School Association. He currently lives in Wayne, Pa and serves as a consultant to several school projects as well as working with the OCSA.




We continue to move forward towards the ground breaking for our parish school. We have received all requisite approvals from the State of Michigan. We have received tentative approval from Washtenaw County (assuming the ground perks where we have already had a septic system for 30 years, which is extraordinarily likely). We have received several bids on the building of the school and have chosen a contractor. Our School Steering Committee continues to work diligently towards the opening of the school, which is set for the fall of 2020. The Steering Committee has invited a special consultant to join us for St. Vladimir’s Day weekend this year to help form our School Board and provide more detailed information to the parish about Orthodox Christian Classical Education. Barring any extraordinarily unexpected circumstances the school will be built this construction season.

BUT – we still have work to do. First – it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL that we continue to entreat the Lord that He bless this work. There is much spiritual resistance in such an endeavor, and your prayers are very important in this regard. Second – it is important that parishioners follow through on the pledges they made to support the school. We have no doubt that everyone who pledged intends to do this. We also are certain that many people will pledge as the work gets underway. But we often forget to follow through on such things. Not because we don’t want to, but because life happens and it distracts us from our good intentions. From a tactical point of view you may want to consider establishing a recurring payment to fulfill your pledge, either by visiting the link below to do that via credit card or debit card:


OR if you would prefer to set up an automatic transfer from your bank account to the school account to fulfill your pledge please contact our Treasurer, Mikhail Fisenkov, at If you have not made a pledge yet please considering doing so! Thank you for your spiritual and material support as we move forward to create the ONLY Orthodox School in Michigan!


NEW LOGO - 6/12/19

We've got a new logo! Here it is. We needed to put the right date there since we plan to start courses in 2020. Enjoy!


THANK YOU! - 10/8/18

Many thanks to all who worked so hard to make our building fund raising efforts successful! We made it! Now we ask your prayers that we will be able to get the building up before winter sets in. If you haven’t had a chance to make a gift to the school don’t worry – you can still do that. Please visit the link below. We are thankful to the Lord for His mercy. And to all our benefactors as well. May the Lord reward you in this life and the next for your efforts!



Still Time to Pledge - Fund Raising Extended - 10/4/18

There is still time to help us build our building! We are over $800/month in pledges and that is SUPER! We have a special parish meeting set for Sunday, October 7 to discuss our options. Help us cancel this meeting by making a pledge at the link below today! If we get to $1200/month in pledges we will cancel!

Four people at $100 each, or ten people at $40 each, or forty people at $10 each. We can do it - but we need you!

This is a great challenge but a completely attainable one if we all pitch in and help just a bit. Please join our school team and help us surpass our goal!



Great Article - Must Read! - 10/3/18

The Three Weight-Bearing Pillars of Education: The Church, Home and School
By Father Patrick Tishel, Headmaster of St. Herman of Alaska, Allston, MA

Years ago I lived in a house that was undergoing renovations. As one of the workers bounded up the stairs to the second floor, the house began to sway back and forth. It so happened that they had taken down certain walls that bore the weight of the structure. It is clear in all “construction” projects that all of the finish work must be done after that house has been furnished with strong, weight-bearing pillars.

The same must be true in a child’s formation. If the educational foundation is not in place, then all of the knowledge gained in specialized disciplines will be for naught. Often parents assume that such a foundation is simply found in school – in any school. Yet just as a literal foundation upholds and affects the entire house and not merely certain rooms, it is clear that the educational foundation must also include all areas of life. For this reason, the three weight-bearing pillars of a child’s education are primarily the Church, the Home and the School. If we begin to see these divinely ordained institutions as rich fountains of wisdom and grace, flowing with the living water of Truth, then we will expect of them unity and cooperation in the midst of their particular functions. Instead, given the secularization of curricula in schools, busy home lives and minimal church attendance, we are left with weakened relationships amongst the three and, therefore, an unstable foundation. While it is possible to presume that Church exists for Sundays, home-life is for evenings, and school is for weekdays, they actually deeply affect each other and the overall education of our children.

The Church is the most prominent and foundational of the three pillars. St. Timothy calls it the pillar and ground of the truth (I Timothy 3:15). It is upon this ground and under this umbrella that the home and school must operate. When we are baptized in Christ, we become part of His Body – the Church – and are replanted into new soil. The children (and parents) need to know the fullness of the Faith. Our life in Christ is founded upon a living faith – a revelation from God delivered to us by the Son of God Himself. The Divine Services express the ineffable wonder of living in the fearsome, awesome presence of the Living God. The prayers of the Hours and the celebration of the Feasts lead us to understand Christ’s life. When the Gospel is preached, the heart and mind are given wings to soar to the throne of God. When various church traditions are practiced (such as lighting candles and making the sign of the cross) the spiritual reality is realized more fully. We must teach and encourage the children to inhale the air of the Church – to stand boldly upon its foundation clad with the full armor of Christ.

The Home and the family are close to the heart of the Church – the Little Church. This is where the heart of a child is formed, the feeling for prayer, the zeal for the commandments, and the love of God and neighbor, all within the child’s heart. The obedience of the children to the parents is the precursor to the obedience to God and the Church. The love of God is nourished within the children while they stand before the icons during morning and evening prayers. The bridge between the home and the church (and the servant of both) is the third pillar – the school. During the Turkish enslavement of Greece, St. Cosmas of Aitolia, an apostle and martyr from Mt. Athos, dedicated his entire life to establishing schools throughout Greece. Ignorance, he feared, was a greater yoke of enslavement than political totalitarianism. St. Cosmas claimed that schools would build the church and fill the monasteries. By his tireless efforts, he left a legacy behind that resounded throughout the centuries. Our schools should also build up the churches and monasteries.

The School is a workshop for servants of Christ to enter into human society and make a difference. They have to learn to think, to discern, and to speak intelligently and convincingly in the context of the world – in a language that non-Christians can also understand. Just as a brain surgeon’s training must be thorough in his vital work, so too our children must know their faith thoroughly and possess a right understanding of the world. We should all be concerned about our schools, not only because of Columbine-type tragedies, but also because of the more insidious precursors of this type of bloodshed – apostasy and ignorance and coldness towards God and neighbor.

We must uphold these three pillars of education – The Church, the Home and the School – in order to fulfill our Lord’s command to suffer the little children to come unto Me. This means that parents, godparents, educators and pastors need to labor to ensure that all three pillars are in order and ready to support the edifice. Sports and social events have their rightful place, but if we sacrificed as much to make it to the Feasts and vigils as we do to go to soccer games and violin recitals (even on Sundays during Divine Liturgy), the children would see in living color the hierarchy of what we valued on their behalf.


Help us Reach our Goal - Time is of the Essence! - 9/11/18

By September 23, 2018 we will need to have $1200/month in pledges set for five years OR $70,000 in our Parish School bank account. So we have lots of work to do! Please help! This is a time sensitive situation – if we push further out than September 23 it is virtually certain that we will miss this year’s construction season, and that will make it impossible to begin instruction in 2019.

1. Please establish a pledge or make a donation today. Visit the fund raising page below or reach out to Fr. Gregory or any of our Steering Committee members with questions

2. Talk to your friends. We can easily reach that $1200/month if we all chip in just a little! And if we add like-minded friends and loved ones who support Orthodox Christian education we can far surpass that goal!

3. Ask questions! Would you like to learn more about the Ann Arbor Orthodox Christian Academy? Send an email to Fr. Gregory, call him, or see him in church. He or any member of the School Steering Committee can answer your questions.

4. Volunteer! Join the School Steering Committee! We need lots of hands to help with this pleasant and much needed work.

This is a great challenge but a completely attainable one if we all pitch in and help just a bit. Please join our school team and help us surpass our goal!