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Training Events

Find information about Christian Education training events.

UPDATE: The Pan-Orthodox Continuing Education Conference at Antiochian Village

It’s been almost two years since we made a change to our yearly November event, The Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith. First was the name change (see above), then a scheduling change—the event at Antiochian Village would occur every other year (the odd-numbered years) with regional Pan-Orthodox Continuing Education Conferences for the alternate years.

Indeed, last year we held three regional events, as well as other trainings. However, please note: we will NOT be sponsoring the Antiochian Village Conference this year. Budgetary constraints have made this decision necessary.

We will have money available for the Diocesan Coordinators to come to parishes for trainings. For information on hosting, please contact Leslie Atherholt, Staff Assistant for Special Projects, at the Department: aodce.events@gmail.com

Review of 2016 Pan-Orthodox Continuing Education Conferences

The Department of Christian Education expanded training by taking "the show on the road" this year. Building on the success of "The Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith," the department hosted three major events and several smaller trainings during the year with the goal of making training and spiritual enrichment accessible to those who cannot travel to Antiochian Village.

The first of our Pan-Orthodox Continuing Education Conferences was hosted by St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Ottawa, Ontario, on Friday evening and Saturday, September 23-24. Matushka Jennifer Mosher, a doctoral student in Christian Education, spoke on "Christian Education: Forming the Whole Person." We thank Fr. Ghattas Hajal, Pastor, and Kelly Hamwi, Church School Director, for arranging this event with Fr. Christopher Rigden-Briscall, Department Coordinator. At this conference, 28 teachers completed Teacher Training I, 4 individuals completed the Church School Director courses and 8 completed Mat. Jenny's theme track. Participants came from the Greek, Romanian and Antiochian churches in the area.

Teacher Training in Lakewood, CO + November 4-5, 2016

The Light of Christ Illuminath All: 
Reading The Old Testament in the Light of Christ
A weekend of fellowship and learning sponsored by the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Christian Education
Download brochure (PDF)

Fri.-Sat., November 4-5, 2016
St. John Chrysostom Mission
9300 West Dartmouth Place, Lakewood, CO 80227
V. Rev. Seraphim Gisetti
Phone: 720-938-1302
Email, Fr. Seraphim: vrevsg@comcast.net
Email, Vasiliki Oldziey: vasiliki1@cox.net

Join Dn. Elisha Long and Vasiliki Oldziey for their presentation on Christ in the Old Testament. Dn. Elisha will help you discover how Christ was proclaimed in the stories of the Old Testament. He will also introduce his curriculum "Promise and Preparation." Vasiliki will provide a teacher training workshop on Saturday morning.

2016 Regional Pan-Orthodox Education Conferences

October 8 + BRIER, WA
ORTHODOXY & HETERODOXY
PRESENTED BY: FR. ANDREW STEPHEN DAMICK
CONTACT: Leslie Atherholt (aodce_events@outlook.com)
HOST: ST. PAUL CHURCH
More information

October 14-15 + YORK, PA
LIVING THE FAITH IN THE ORTHODOX HOME
PRESENTED BY: MELISSA TSONGRANIS, Assoc. Dir., Center for Family Care (GOA)
HOST: St. John Chrysostom Church
CONTACT: Rebekah Yergo (orthodoxyorkedu@outlook.com)
More information

Attendance Certificates

Reward your staff and students by recognizing their efforts! There are two attendance certificates, one for older children and one for younger, which simply read "For Exemplary Church School Attendance." In addition, we have a "Recognition Certificate," which allows you to recognize every child for something if you wish— from a bright smile to listening well. Finally, we have an adult Appreciation Certificate. These are available both as a fillable word document and as a PDF. To use the fillable word document, simply click on the line under "presented to" or "awarded to." A gray box will appear in which you can type the name of the individual you would like to recognize. Print, sign and present!

"Expressing our Faith": Interview with Rosemary Shumski About the Festivals

Rosemary Shumski is the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Christian Education. As a part of her duties, she serves as the Departmental Assistant for the Creative Festivals and is responsible for coordinating the Festivals on the Archdiocesan level. Rosemary has also served as the Photography Coordinator for the Eastern Dioceses since 2002. 

Rosemary is a graduate of Bloomsburg University and was previously employed in business management. Married to Dn. John Shumski and the mother of three grown children, Rosemary is active at St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in York, PA, where she has taught Sunday School for seventeen years. Recently, Antiochian.org asked her to tell us more about our Archdiocese's unique and successful Creative Festivals program.

Tell us about this year's theme for the Festivals: why was it chosen, and what is its significance for the Church today?

The 2016 Creative Festivals theme is “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”(Joshua 24:15) This is the first theme chosen by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.

Report from the 2015 Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education

The 2015 Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith hosted its 14th Annual Conference November 5-8 at Antiochian Village. This year's theme, "Adult Education: Building on the Foundation of Faith" attracted more than ninety participants - both clergy and laity. Together we explored the necessary and sometimes challenging need for adult education in the parish.

Kevin Allen opened the Institute with the keynote address: "Adult Education is Crucial to the Parish." He convincingly made his point with statistics, quotations and personal experience. "Why does the Orthodox Church need continuing adult education ministries across our pan-Orthodox landscape?" he began.

Annual Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education Hosts 14th Annual Conference

Participants in the course, "Basic Principles of Adult Education"Participants in the course, "Basic Principles of Adult Education"The 2015 Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith hosted its 14th Annual Conference from November 5–8 at Antiochian Village. This year’s theme, “Adult Education: Building on the Foundation of Faith” attracted more than ninety participants - both clergy and laity. Participants explored the necessary and sometimes challenging need for adult education in the parish.

Kevin Allen, Christian education and popular Ancient Faith Radio host, opened the Institute with the Keynote Address: “Adult Education is Crucial to the Parish.” He convincingly made his point with statistics, quotations and personal experience. “Why does the Orthodox Church need continuing adult education ministries across our pan-Orthodox landscape?” he began.

Teaching Pictures for Great Lent and Pascha

As we approach Holy Week and Pascha, look into providing the beautiful Great Lent and Pascha Teaching Pics for the use of your teachers. Twenty seasonal cards are included in the resource package published by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC). The 8.5 x 11 inch cards have a photograph on the front, and explanatory text on the back with ideas for lesson activities. Our Lenten and Paschal services are so beautiful and rich in symbolism but often the children cannot see what is occurring, and there is not a way to discuss the action of the priest. The cards allow them to take their time exploring, with your guidance, how the pivotal story of our faith has been passed down to us, not in word alone, but in true Eastern tradition, in symbolism and beauty. Let them be silent with the cards and then recall any memories of the services, and any feelings. It is critical to reflect regularly with the children on how the beauty of Orthodoxy serves as a path to God.

Great Lent and Pascha. "Great and Holy Friday—Vespers—Taking Down the Body of Christ"

 If you already have Teaching Pics in your supply closet, it is time to find them and distribute them to your staff. If you do not, they can be purchased from the OCEC, (800) 464-2744.

For a review of this resource, please visit www.antiochian.org/christianeducation/teachingpics.

The Meaning of Fasting in the Orthodox Church

by Fr. Milan Savich

Fasting is as old as the human race. Fasting was practiced by pagan religions, Judaism and Christianity, and it was generally considered an important element of religious life, although with different practices and understanding. In the ancient religions of the East fasting meant a complete abstention from food for a certain period of time — one day or more. The origin of fasting as a moral discipline, especially among the old pagan religions is very obscure, just as their understanding of God was inadequate and vague.

The monotheistic, God revealed religion of the "Chosen People" knew about fasting. From the Old Testament we learn that God instituted fasting in Paradise when He said: "But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Gen. 2:17) From this is clear that fasting existed before the "original sin" of Adam and Eve, and it was not ordered as a cure for their sin. The fasting in Paradise consisted of abstaining of certain food — namely of "the fruit of the tree." The tree of knowledge of good and evil was created by God as well as all other trees in Paradise and, as such, preceded the Satan and his sinful machinations. God's commandment to Adam and Even not to eat of the particular fruit was issued as a method of man's discipline of self-control and spiritual growth. This means that the first man in Paradise was not perfect, but was good and capable to improve and develop his spiritual and moral personality.

Orthodox Institute Features Noted Speakers

The premier weekend for Orthodox Christian educators, the Orthodox Institute, took place at Antiochian Village from October 30 to November 1, 2014. Roberta Sardell, a Sunday School administrator and teacher from St. Stephen Antiochian Orthodox Church in Campbell, CA, submitted the following recap. (Eight of the presentations are available on Ancient Faith Radio.)

When asked why we attended this year's Orthodox Institute, I answered, "Star Power!" This year's conference featured some of the finest speakers and writers of today's Orthodox world. I also relish meeting other Orthodox; those attending represented various jurisdictions, some participating in the Christian Education strand, others seeking adult education, personal inspiration. Two young ladies were so inspired as to begin organizing a network of Orthodox women, intergenerational, for mutual support and spiritual growth.

Orthodox Institute 2014

2014 Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith
Theosis: Your Life With God

A Weekend of Spiritual Renewal
October 30—November 2, 2014, at Antiochian Village
Contact: orthodoxinstitute2014@gmail.com, (717) 747-5221
Intro to Event
Four-Page Event Flyer (PDF)
Event Poster
Course Descriptions: PDF | Word
Course Schedule: PDF | Word
Event Schedule: PDF | Word
Download Registration Form: PDF | Word

PLEASE NOTE: ALL LODGING AND MEAL RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE SEPARATELY WITH THE ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE. CALL (724) 238-3677 ext. 404.
Download Antiochian Village Lodging/Meals Registration Form: PDF | Word

Since last year our Orthodox Institute topic was the Church, with "Blessed is the Kingdom," as the theme, it seemed fitting to then address the spirituality and "renewing" of the persons who make up this Kingdom. We welcome you to join us as our presenters help us explore the meaning of Theosis. Through discussion of such topics as the Jesus Prayer and fasting, we will strive to acquire the proper tools to achieve our greatest potential as Christians: Communion with God.

Retrospect: The Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith

Carole Buleza, Director of the Department of Christian Education for the Antiochian Archdiocese, reflected on the Orthodox Institute 2013 in the December, 2013 edition of The Word magazine.

Beloved in Christ,

I write these words just after the 2013 Orthodox Institute at Antiochian Village. The fellowship and book-signings were a chance to get to know and speak with some of the prominent people in the Orthodox Church. The presentations were truly educational and inspirational. An eight-panel display of "Art and Symbols of the Catacombs" shed light on the images that were most important to the early Christians. All together it was a memorable and valuable weekend.

Almost a hundred people participated in The Orthodox Institute at Antiochian Village, October 31 – November 3, 2013. The theme was "Blessed is the Kingdom: Acts 2:42 and Today," and the goal was to answer the question, "Can we revive the spirit of giving for which the early church was known?"

2013 Orthodox Institute Coming October 31

Registration is open for this year's Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith, convening at Antiochian Village on October 31—November 3. The Institute is co-sponsored by the Antiochian Archdiocese, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Orthodox Church of America (OCA), and the Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC), and has become the premier conference for Orthodox educators and parents. His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh is the Keynote Speaker, and the theme is "Blessed is the Kingdom: Acts 2:42 and Today."

Please note that the official registration deadline is October 14th, although registrations will be accepted beyond the due date.

Teacher Training and Church School Director Workshops in Leavittown, NY

Educating Ourselves and Our Children in Godliness

St. John Orthodox Church
80 Water Lane North
Levittown, NY 11756
Saturday, August 10, 2013
8:30am-4:30pm (lunch provided)
Pre-Registration Required by August 4

Download brochure (PDF)
Download Flyer (PDF)

The Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC) and St. John Orthodox Church are proud to present an exciting workshop that will enhance the quality of teaching in our church schools.

Orthodox Institute 2013

Orthodox Institute 2013
“Blessed is the Kingdom: Acts 2:42 and Today”


Keynote Speaker: His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh
Keynote Address: The Spirit of Giving in the Early Church

October 31 - November 3
Antiochian Village + Ligonier, PA

Download Flyer (PDF)
Visit the 2013 Orthodox Institute Facebook page
Contact: orthodoxinstitute2013@yahoo.com(717) 747-5221

For schedules, course descriptions and registration forms, please see attachments at the bottom of this page.
Please note: the price for room and board listed in the flyer is incorrect; the correct figure is $277.20 based on triple occupancy.

 

Eucharistic meal - an image from the catacombsEucharistic meal - an image from the catacombsFeatured Presenters:

2013 Creative Arts Festival

by Rosemary Shumski

This year’s Creative Arts Festival theme is “The End of History…The Last Judgment.” The Scripture quotation that accompanies the theme is “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)

Because this is a very tangible theme, there are many ways in which students can express themselves in art, photography, creative writing, and poetry. The most natural way to inspire creative expression relating to this theme would be to get the students involved in service projects in your parish or community. Suggestions for service projects can be found on the Creative Festivals webpage. Another way to inspire students is to use the theme throughout the church school year. Use the logo and symbols on room signs, letterhead and bulletin board displays. The Department of Christian Education also has posters available for downloading that can be displayed in classrooms.

Prior to having the students create their entries, the theme should be discussed in depth. Lesson plans are provided for various grade levels on the Creative Festivals webpage. After the lesson is taught, it’s usually helpful to have a brainstorming session in which the students explore various ways they might interpret the theme.

Orthodox Institute 2012 Convenes at Antiochian Village

Orthodox Institute speakers, 2012Orthodox Institute speakers, 2012Despite the appearance of Hurricane Sandy on the eastern seaboard days earlier, the Orthodox Institute 2012, themed "Culture, Morality, Spirituality," successfully convened at Antiochian Village from November 1-4, 2012. The Institute, a project of the Archdiocese Department of Christian Education, focused on surveying current cultural viewpoints, beliefs of the Church, and the moral challenges facing today's youth.

One hundred people attended the conference, which hosted eleven courses related to the theme. Dr. Peter Bouteneff, associate professor of Systematic Theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary, offered the keynote address, "Postmodernism," in which he emphasized that modern man is touched and changed by beauty, rather than by polemics. "It was a a great introduction to postmodernism and religious relativism," noted one attendee. "I feel like I can explain these now."

Register Now for Orthodox Institute 2012

Registrations will be accepted until October 30, but PLEASE HELP US OUT BY REGISTERING TODAY!
Please download and send in your form so we can make class handouts. See you soon!

Now is the time to register for the Orthodox Institute 2012: Culture. Morality. Spirituality. Held at Antiochian Village, Ligonier, PA, on November 1–4, this year's conference will survey current cultural views, beliefs of the church, and the challenges facing young people. Registration is open until October 14. Keynote Speaker Dr. Peter Bouteneff of St. Vladimir's Seminary will be joined by Featured Presenters Dr. Vigen Guroian (University of Virginia) and Dr. Philip Mamalakis (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology). The conference offers panel discussions, lectures, and fellowship for Orthodox educators, parents and clergy.

Changes for the Creative Festivals!

We invite church school directors, teachers, and parents to read over the new information for this year's Creative Festivals. There are many improvements, so be sure to browse through the entire Creative Festivals site!

"An Event Like No Other:" 2011 Institute is a Pan-Orthodox Success

Fr. Thomas Speaks to Institute ParticipantsFr. Thomas Speaks to Institute ParticipantsReport and Photos by Shelley Pituch

View Photo Gallery

The 2011 Orthodox Institute, held at Antiochian Village, near Ligonier, PA, over the weekend of November 3 – 6, was advertised as “an event like no other” and it proved to live up to its claim in more than one way. The theme was “Scripture through the Lens of the Holy Land” and this was the first time that the Orthodox Institute was a multi-jurisdictional collaboration between the host of the event, the Antiochian Department of Christian Education, and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Orthodox Church in America Department of Christian Education, and the Orthodox Christian Education Commission.

Registration Open for Orthodox Institute 2011: "Scripture through the Lens of the Holy Land"

A new brochure and updated registration form are now available for the 2011 Orthodox Institute: "Scripture through the Lens of the Holy Land." For further information and to download brochures and forms, please visit www.antiochian.org/christianeducation/oi2011.

An Event Like No Other! “Scripture through the Lens of the Holy Land”

Everyone I have spoken to about the 2011 Orthodox Institute at Antiochian Village is very excited about this “event like no other!” Mark your calendars now for November 3-6, 2011 at Antiochian Village, outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. NOW is the time to approach your parish council about setting aside funds.

More information

Download Brochure (PDF)

Download Flyer (PDF)

Download Registration Form (PDF, Revised 9.3.11)

Download Complete Description of Course Schedule and Events

 

Here are some highlights:

Tenth Orthodox Institute Season Concludes

Orthodox Institute SessionOrthodox Institute SessionA successful season for the Orthodox Institute, an innovative and highly regarded Christian Education training program pioneered by Antiochian Christian Education Director Carole Buleza, concluded with a three day Institute at Antiochian Village in November. Institutes took place in cities both in Canada and the U.S. St. Michael's Church in Van Nuys, California was the site for the first Institute on September 18; subsequent Institutes were hosted in Edmonton on October 2, then Harrisburg on October 9, Ontario on October 23, and finally at Antiochian Village on November 4-7. Noted iconographers and speakers taught sessions that fit into one of three tracks: Church School Director, Teacher Training, or Orthodoxy. Participants came from all regions and jurisdictions.

Besides racking up the miles, Director Carole Buleza also met with many teachers across the country, and she commented on the spirit of pan-Orthodox cooperation present this year, enabling her to reflect afterwards that this year's Institute "was a decisive event for Orthodox Christian Education." (See an Institute photo gallery here.)

Attendees offered these retrospectives:

This past November the halls, meeting rooms and dining hall at the Antiochian Village were alive with the language of iconography. At this year’s Orthodox Institute, the 10th anniversary, the theme was icononography; the history of icons; the stories they tell; praying with icons and using them as a tool for teaching. The three-day institute began with a keynote address by Frederica Mathewes-Green, who spoke of her personal experience with icons and her journey to Orthodoxy; this was followed by two days of workshops on icons, which included presentations by the well-known iconographer/illustrator, Niko Chochelli, iconographer, Cheryl Pituch and authors, Anton Vram and Chrissie Hart and the staff of the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education.

Orthodox Institute for Christian Education 2010

 

2010 ORTHODOX INSTITUTE

Update: Oct. 5, 2010

November 4-7, 2010
Antiochian Village

Download Brochure (PDF)
Download Flyer (PDF)
Download Registration Form (PDF)
Registration Deadline: October 8
Please note: We will accept registrations beyond the deadline date


The Orthodox Institute welcomes all Christians who love icons to join us the first weekend in November. The event offers 15 courses for teachers, directors and those interested in the faith in an enjoyable atmosphere of fellowship and learning. The Institute is held at the Antiochian Village Conference Center which sits nestled in the beautiful Laurel Mountain region, near Ligonier, Pennsylvania, an hour from Pittsburgh. Plan to arrive before 5:00 for dinner on Thursday evening. The first program will be the keynote address at 7:00 that evening. The keynote address is by Frederica Mathewes-Green, based on her book, The Open Door, Entering the Sanctuary of Icons and Prayer. The event ends Sunday afternoon, around 1:00, after the brunch that follows Divine Liturgy.

We are pleased to offer a spectacular event for our 10th Anniversary Institute: “Icons: Windows to Heaven,” with iconographers Niko Chocheli and Cheryl Ann Pituch. Read interviews with both iconographers here. We are also pleased that Dr. Anton Vrame, Director of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Religious Education, will be with us to present a course on his work, The Educating Icon. The books noted above will be available at the Conference Center bookstore. Book-signings will be scheduled during the weekend. The schedule allows you to take three classes on Friday, and three on Saturday. The courses marked with an asterisk will be offered both days. The course listing is as follows:

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