In 2011, Fr. Angelos Sarkis, the priest at St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Kirkland, Washington started faithfully visiting and serving one inmate at Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC). Upon discovering other Orthodox inmates at the prison, this prison ministry expanded to 3-5 inmates who were interested in attending an Orthodox service. In the seven years since that time, Fr. Angelos performed numerous baptisms. He also conducted a Crowning prayer of an American Convert and one inmate who converted to the Coptic Orthodox Church in the prison visiting room. To our knowledge, this was the first time the Coptic Orthodox Crowning Prayer was celebrated inside a prison.
Each month, up to four church servants celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the prison and hold a monthly Bible Study. Many Protestant inmates also attend a portion of the Divine Liturgical service and express their joy in observing the Orthodox reverence and smelling the incense. The inmates hold their own Bible Study each day during the week.
On January 1, 2018 H.G. Bishop Kyrillos ordained five inmates as Chanters (Psaltos) during the monthly Divine Liturgy, which is another first in the Coptic Orthodox Church in America. H.G. has since then returned to present a lecture in Dogmatics, as part of a series to prepare them for ordination as Readers (Anagnostos).
Many of the inmates read faithfully and have started a library of Orthodox books; and some plan to enroll in St. Athanasius and St. Cyril Coptic Orthodox Theological School headed by H.G. Bishop Kyrillos in the future.
HG Bishop Kyrillos with Fr. Angelos Sarkis, Chaplain Henri Fischer, newly-consecrated chanters, and blessed inmates after celebration of Divine Liturgy on January 1, 2018 at Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC).