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The Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education (AODCE) supports church school directors, teachers, parents, and all who participate in the work of Christian education on the local level. Read more. 

Did you know there is a Saint George Church in Burqin?

By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D. 

My last day in the village happened to fall on the holy Feast Day of St. George, though not yet on the old Julian calendar. Everything in Orthodox Christian tradition in the Holy Land happens thirteen days later.

Saint George is the most beloved saint in the whole Middle East and the patron saint of Taybeh in particular and Palestine in general. Thus, how can I depart this very sacred land and not mention besides our own St. George Church in Taybeh? I had the greatest blessing to see the new renovations at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Burqin. We hardly have any Christians left in Burqin yet it has been blessed with many miracles and a deep tradition of oral history about St. George. About seventy Christians who live there are maintaining the Light of Christ; this means a mere ten families or so! (View more photos here.)

Burqin is actually located within five minutes of Jenin City and is two hours north of Jerusalem. It is the place where Jesus healed the ten lepers when he was passing from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Since that first miracle it has inspired Christian pilgrims, especially since the time that St. Helen asked for the first churches to be built in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The bishop’s throne is carved out of stone and is 1600 years old. It is the only one of its kind in the Holy Land. I felt I was visiting one of the great treasures of the land of Christ’s Holy Resurrection.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate has recently renovated the church, which is considered the fifth-oldest Christian holy place and the third-oldest church in the world. What amazed me the most is that during the renovations they discovered three rooms underneath the cave about six meters deep, in which the early Christians would pray in secret. Abu George, the church caretaker, said that fifty people fit in the area directly underneath the current Byzantine Church which is built in the actual cave where the lepers were healed. The church was destroyed during the Persian invasions, and after being rebuilt was again destroyed by an earthquake in 1068. It hosted a school for 120 years.

Father Fisarion from Greece has been in the Holy Land for over twenty-five years as a monk; the last few years he has been helping the Burqin community extend their church hall, also located in a renovated cave like area. It was comforting to know that the Palestinian President’s office donated the furniture for the lovely sitting area. We hope pilgrims might visit isolated locations that have deep rich Christian roots and we ask them not to be afraid to come walk the footsteps of Christ. Christ is Risen!  Truly He is Risen!

Church School Directors, we hope to get a community together who can help one another by sharing their experiences. Check in with our Facebook page,

If you have not registered for the listserv, please email the department, at or Anna-Sarah at with your name and parish.

“Walking the Path of Salvation”

If you are interested in following along with the progress of the Curriculum Project, its website is: You will find the concept paper, the preparatory tasks and updates on the progress! You can also follow the project on Facebook:

Christian Ed Materials Available!

The Christian Ed Materials and Order Form  is now available for download! Download and use this new form to order materials for your parish program! Be sure to see the revised Billing and Shipping/handling sections of the order form. Also, visit the Antiochian Village Bookstore and Giftshop for your gift needs for Sunday School and home.


Teacher Training II Events Planned

The Department of Christian Education will be offering two Teacher Training II courses this fall. Teacher Training II is divided into elementary and middle school/high school sessions, each cover techniques and tools appropriate to the ages you are teaching. Classes include "Enriching the Classroom Experience," "Child Development and the Exceptional Learner," "Creative Expressions, Adolescent Needs and Moral Issues."

Saint Paul Orthodox Church, Brier, WA will host and sponsor a TTII session on Saturday, September 9. Saint Elias Orthodox Cathedral, Ottawa, will host and sponsor a TTII session on Saturday, September 23. If you would like to attend or for more information, please contact Leslie Atherholt at She will put you in touch with the coordinator at each venue.




Original Christmas Pageant for 2017, Available for Download

Now available for download! An original Christmas pageant entitled Light of the World written by Rebekah Yergo (Church School Director at St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in York, PA) and Bonnie Flowers, is available for use in your parish. The writing, stage preparations, and costumes will be a hit with your children, who will feel like they are in a real production!

Additionally, attached is the sheet music that is used in the production.

View the photos of the Light of the World production.


Living Icons

The Orthodox Christian Faith is enriched by icons. We surrounded ourselves with these prayerfully-written images of Christ, the Theotokos, and the saints. Our churches are full of icons, as are our homes. This is as it should be. In our modern self-focused culture, we need visual reminders of God’s work in and through the saints! These reminders in the form of icons challenge us to be strong and live a life accordingly faithful.

There are other icons that enrich our Faith as well. God has surrounded us with His hand-written images of Christ in the form of every person around us. But He has not limited His handwritten icons to the Church. They are all around us. If you are like me, occasionally you may need a reminder that everyone - EVERYONE - is an icon of Christ, written by God Himself, in His image. May this short post remind us of that truth. So, that sweet lady at Church? Yes, she is an icon of Christ. The person who just cut me off when driving? An icon. The persistent child interrupting my phone conversation? An icon. That person who I struggle to love? An icon. The famous person everyone gossips about? An icon. Those people who live far away and very differently from me? They, too, are an icon. My spouse? Also an icon, written in the image of (and by the Hand of) God.


Learning from the Saints: St. Paul

As we prepare for the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul on June 29, let us take time to learn more about each of these saints, and help our children to do the same. This post will focus on St. Paul. (There are so many details of his life that we could not include, so we have tagged scriptural references, so you can read more if you wish to!)

The Holy Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus. He was from the tribe of Benjamin, and was originally named Saul. He was a very intelligent man, who studied under the renowned teacher Gamaliel. He learned to be a tentmaker, and worked as one (at least part time) for much of his life.

He was a very zealous young man, who honored his Judaic faith and did all that he could to protect it. This is why he was present at the stoning of St. Stephen: he considered Christians to be heretics of the Jewish faith, and wanted to do what he could to purify and preserve it. (Acts 7:58)