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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.


Department of Christian Education to Offer Three Teacher Training II Courses

At the start of this Church School year, the Antiochian Department of Christian Education will be offering three Teacher Training II courses: September 9, 2017 in Brier, Washington; September 23, 2017, in  Ottawa, Ontario; and October 14 in Little Falls, NJ. Teacher Training II is divided into elementary and middle school/high school sessions. Each covers techniques and tools appropriate to the ages you are teaching. Classes include "Enriching the Classroom Experience," "Child Development and the Exceptional Learner," "Creative Expressions," and " Adolescent Needs" and "Moral Issues."

Please contact the host parish for more information or to register. If you are interested in hosting a training session at your parish, please contact the office at or at 717-747-5221.



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.


Back Pocket Ideas for Sunday Church School Games

If your Sunday Church School continues to meet year ‘round and you want some fun ideas for summer classes, this blog post is for you. If you are taking a break from teaching for the summer, but are thinking ahead to next year and how you want to switch things up a bit in your classroom, this blog post is for you. If you just love to collect fun ideas and keep them in your “back pocket” so that you can pull them out and use them with your Sunday Church School class at a moment’s notice, this blog post is for you! (Does that cover everyone? We hope so! We think this blog post can be helpful for you!)


​Finding a Way to Help (Even on a Limited Budget)

Author’s note: We have written in the past about having a family goal for the summer. If your family’s summer goal is to grow in the faith, read on! We’ve also shared some ideas of activities in your back pocket for when your children need some guidance/something to do. Here is another idea  - something that your family can do together that will offer common purpose while also allowing you to actively live your Faith this summer.

There are so many different needs that come to our attention. A local fire or flood, a foreign orphanage, a friend-of- a-friend’s illness with lofty medical costs, hungry homeless in a nearby city, etc. The list goes on, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Because we are Christians, we need to live a life of giving and helping. We become aware of needs, sometimes on a daily basis, and we know that we should be part of the cure for those needs. But where do we start?