Presbytera Renee Ritsi Retires After 3 ½ Decades of Service Through OCMC



In August 1987, a young presbytera traveled to Kenya from California to begin her missionary service along with her husband and two children under the age of two. Recently Pres. Renee Ritsi retired after 10 years of service as a missionary and another 25 years of service at OCMC headquarters.

It is hard to describe the positive impact that Pres. Renee has had on the Mission Center and those we serve,” stated OCMC Development Director Dan Christopulos. “She has been a stellar mother, sister, mentor, and, most importantly, faithful Orthodox Christian example to thousands of people throughout her long tenure at OCMC,” continued Christopulos, who was an OCMC missionary in Kenya and there in 1987 to welcome Pres. Renee, Fr. Martin, and their children when they arrived.

Once on the ground in Kenya, she immediately started her work teaching English and Homiletics at the Makarios III Patriarchal Seminary in Nairobi, working with the Mother’s Unions, and running retreats for women and priests’ wives, all while raising two children who were 2 years and 6 months old, respectively, when they arrived in Kenya.

After two years back in the United States, while Fr. Martin received a ThM in Missiology, the family moved to Albania in 1992 to continue missionary work in that former communist country. In Albania, Pres. Renee once again taught English at the seminary and to women and youth in and around Tirana, as well as continuing to lead retreats for women’s groups and priests’ wives. She also established a program teaching healthcare and catechism among women in hard-to-reach rural mountain villages of the country.

Following six years in Albania and ten years total serving overseas in the mission field, Fr. Martin was appointed Executive Director of OCMC, and Pres. Renee eventually started working at OCMC headquarters in St. Augustine as well. After initially working with the Support a Mission Priest (SAMP) program, she took on responsibilities as the Assistant Director of the Mission Teams program and completed her tenure recently as the Assistant Director of the Missionary Department.

Pres. Renee (front-right) leading a women's retreat in Albania with His Eminence Archbishop ANASTASIOS of Albania.

During her retirement, Pres. Renee will still offer some limited consulting services to OCMC to assist with the transition and impart some of what she has learned throughout her 35 years of service through OCMC to “make disciples of all nations.”

We thank Pres. Renee for her life of unwavering missionary service and pray that God blesses her future endeavors and continues to raise up more missionaries to follow in her footsteps.


Two books written by Pres. Renee that were inspired by experience in the field.