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Discover programs developed by the Department of Christian Education.

Holy Land Exhibit is Available for Display

By Carole A. Buleza

"Scripture Through the Lens of the Holy Land" is an exhibit is available for rental from the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Christian Education (see below for details). The exhibit is dedicated to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip for his continuing support of Orthodox Christian Education, and to all in the Archdiocese whose roots in the Middle East have given the Antiochian Department of Christian Education the particular privilege of presenting the Holy Land in word and image. Participants at the 2011 Orthodox Institute, "Scripture Through the Lens of the Holy Land" were the first to view the exhibit prepared especially for that event.

Journey through Great Lent

Published by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Department of Religious Education

“The Department of Religious Education has embarked on a new line of resources for teaching junior high and high school students. Called "zines" (from magazine), each one explores one topic of the Orthodox Christian Faith in easy-to-read bites of information and accompanying images, with many interactive elements, such as questions for reflection or things to look up in the Bible.

The zines are not grade-specific, but work at a middle school / junior high (grades 5–9) or senior high (grades 10–12) level. Each zine also has a Teacher Guide for classroom use over several weeks as a unit of study.

The zines are a part of the Department's development of a “menu” of topics, allowing teachers and Church schools to select however many units they need for a Church school year.

In addition, the zines can be sent home, distributed to all parishioners, or placed in the narthex for parishioners or visitors.”

For ordering information, visit the following link:

“Embark on this year’s Lenten journey with junior high students as the Church opens the Triodion on February 24 this year. This nine-week unit spans the Great Fast with clear, vivid introductions to the season’s Scriptures, Traditions, saints and services.

Explanation of the 2012-13 Festivals Theme: The End of History – The Last Judgment

The End of History – The Last Judgment

“I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”  ~Matthew 25: 35-36

This year’s theme reminds our young people to be ready for the last judgment by practicing good works and that the standard of judgment is mercy toward the needy. 

Summary of Lenten Offerings


The Jesus Prayer, by Fr. David Hester: This is a terrific booklet for understanding one of Orthodoxy's treasures--the Jesus Prayer.

Some Thoughts on Fasting, by an Orthodox Priest: Why do we fast? What should we be doing during the fast? How “strict” should we be? This article addresses these questions.

A Lamp to My Feet: An Introduction to the Bible

A Lamp to My Feet

With this zine, students develop the attitudes and confidence needed to light their path with the lamp of Scripture. They can then access God’s message to the world by asking how each reading relates to them: “What does this text say about Christ, and how does it apply to my life?”

The zine explores general motivations for and goals of Bible study. It then suggests study habits and methods, and explains various formats and translations of the Bible. The zine introduces the Old and New Testaments, the kinds of books they contain, and how the books came to be there.

The Tree of Jesse

During the Nativity Fast, your family can put up a Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree represents the family tree, or genealogy of Jesus Christ beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. The tree is named after Jesse, the father of King David. A drawing of a tree or a tabletop tree can be used for this activity. Each day throughout the Nativity Fast, add a new ornament to the tree. The ornament represents a person or a religious symbol and is accompanied by a reading from scripture. Ideally, these ornaments are handmade from various materials: paper, felt, crafts sticks, etc. prior to the Nativity Fast or can be purchased from multiple websites. Gather your children together each day to hang a new ornament and to reflect on the reading.

Advent Reading for the Jesse Tree

This icon is by the hand of Nicholas Papas. It is located at St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church, Souderton, PA.

This icon depicts the many prophecies of the Virgin birth of Christ. There are twelve Old Testament prophets, shown holding things that reveal their identity and the prophecy they foretold of the Theotokos and the virgin birth of Christ.

Festal Icon Timeline

Festal Icon Timeline: Click image to enlargeFestal Icon Timeline: Click image to enlarge

By Shelley Pituch


  • Piece of poster board, cut into a 7” wide strip that is the length of the longer edge
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Glue
  • Clothespin
  • Small brown piece of construction paper
  • Pictures of icons portraying Pascha and the 12 Great Feasts of the church year:

Christian Education Department Kicks off Sunday School Year with New Resources

Creative Arts Festivals Logo, 2011-2012Creative Arts Festivals Logo, 2011-2012The Christian Education team of the Antiochian Archdiocese, headed by Director Carole Buleza, is passionate about transmitting the faith to the next generation, and the resource-rich Christian Education section on reflects this. An extensive upgrade to the Christian Education pages launched to coincide with the start of the Sunday School year, includes an entirely new Creative Arts Festivals section developed by Editor Andrew Frishman.

Youth workers who want to integrate the creative festivals into their Christian Education program will find the revamped section useful both for Sunday School as well as SOYO events.

Highlights of the new material available are:

  • Guidance for newcomers in "New to the Festivals?"
  • "Summary of Modifications for the 2012 Festivals"
  • Updated judging rubrics and lesson plans
  • Suggestions for educators in "Using the Theme" and "Job Descriptions"
  • Advice for students on "Inspiring Writing"
  •  Plus an improved sidebar for helpful navigation!

In the main Christian Education section, a book review highlights Christian Education in the Small Membership Church and registration is available for Orthodox Institute 2011, a pan-Orthodox event featuring an interactive Holy Land tour.

Summer Church School

Many of our parishes invent their own vacation church school programs. Some have vacation church school every day, some have three days in a week, others set aside two week nights. Why have Vacation Church School? From the GOA Catalog:

Summer vacation’s slower pace and mild weather make it the best time to schedule a camp-like program. In addition, most Orthodox parishes suspend their church school activities for the summer, so VCS provides a summertime “boost.” VCS is the perfect way to bring together Orthodox children, parents, grandparents, teachers and others in an intensive environment for a total immersion experience in Orthodox faith, learning and fun. It’s also a good way to work with neighboring Orthodox parishes, planning one area-wide VCS program.

Please see pages 24-25 of the GOA catalog (PDF) for vacation church school resources. And check out the new vacation church school program, “Behold the Light” by the authors of “The Ark of Salvation: Feasts of the Theotokos” at

“Let Us Attend” Now Includes a Reader Theatre Page!

New! The Sunday Gospel Program, “Let Us Attend,” now includes a Reader Theatre page! The page provides the gospel as a script for reading aloud the different parts. Taking the parts of Jesus, the disciples, the crowd, the women disciples allows the students to come closer to experiencing the presence of Jesus. The goal is for the students to get to know Jesus Christ through the gospel. Although they hear the gospel in the Divine Liturgy, it is chanted in a continuous rhythm, unlike what occurred in reality.

Here is how to use this resource. 1) Let the children read through it once silently; 2) discuss the various feelings of the characters and how they would have spoken the words they did; 3) assign the parts and read aloud; 4) discuss how they felt about Jesus’ words—did they get a different idea of Jesus from this passage?

No doubt Jesus would have paused before answering certain questions. Those who addressed Jesus undoubtedly were taken aback at some of his responses. For the older students, add three components. 1) talk about where Jesus would have paused before answering, and where the crowd would have been silent in amazement, 2) use the footnotes of the gospel to enhance their understanding of Jesus, and 3) look at the gospel passage just before the reading to find other hints as to why Jesus said/did the words/actions of the day’s gospel.

Touring the New Christian Education Website

Tour Guide: Carole A. Buleza

Thanks to the Internet, we have a twofold blessing: abundant resources, and a community of Orthodox Christians with whom we share our task.


Computer on? Internet connected? You’re ready to roll. Navigate to Welcome to the home page of our new, improved Christian Education website! Find our logo and you will be reading a letter of introduction that includes information about our office and also about the volunteer Diocesan Christian Education Coordinators. Look below and you’ll see several “featured” items—an event, an article, a program, a resource—that are refreshed monthly.


The Department of Christian Education coordinates the Art, Poetry, Creative Writing and Photography festivals.

Tithing Program 2009-2010

The tithing theme for 2009-2010 is To Tithe Is To Show That We Care for the Church. On this web page you will find a set of parish posters, Teacher Notes, Student Booklets, and other materials.

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