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Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco

Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center

Michael Pappas

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Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center is a ministry of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco.  The primary mission of the Ranch is to serve the needs of Orthodox Christians by hosting camps, retreats and seminars promoting Orthodox religious education and spiritual formation.  In addition, St. Nicholas Ranch also opens their facilities to host a broad range of other programs, conferences and retreats for other denominations, corporate groups and educational institutions.

Perhaps the best summation of the mission of St. Nicholas Ranch is to be found hanging on the mantle in the dining hall:  the icon of the Hospitality of Abraham and Sarah.  According to the story found in Genesis 18, Abraham and Sarah received three strangers into their tent, offering them food, shelter and companionship.  These three unknown visitors proved to be angelic beings, and constitute an Old Testament prefiguration of the Holy Trinity.

In the same way, St. Nicholas Ranch believes hospitality to be a sacred obligation. Whenever the Ranch welcomes another human being, we receive someone who is created in the image of God.  The mission at St. Nicholas Ranch is therefore one of hospitality and service in the name of Christ, who said “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).