On January 29, 2023 His Eminence Archbishop Mark gave out the first rank and elective pins earned in the Heavenly Host program. At the presentation 14 ranks and 15 elective pins were awarded to five of the youths. The participants were given a blue sash, representing the “Breastplate of Righteousness.” (See Ephesians 6)
The Heavenly Host is an extracurricular, achievement-based program which recognizes the accomplishments of Orthodox youth as they complete a variety of tasks. The program has been under design since September by Mark Linnehan and his Jr. High and High School church school students. Once some of the rank and elective requirements were written, the students began to complete the necessary tasks to earn the recognition awards.
The ranks are based on the nine ranks of Angels, and three higher-level awards, the highest being the Whole Armor of God award. Each rank also requires the completion of one or more electives, which are generally selected by the participant. There are 47 electives planned, 23 of which are already completed.
The program is designed to be started at about the age of 8 and completed before the age of 18. Earlier ranks are age-appropriate, with tasks becoming more difficult as the participant gets older.
The program’s motto is: Be Holy, for God is Holy (Lev. 11:45), the slogan is Do Good to all (Gal 6:10), and the Oath is the Nicene Creed.