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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 In the Archdiocese - Upcoming Teacher Training II Event in NJ

The Antiochian Department of Christian Education has had a full schedule of events this fall. Our trainers have traveled to St. Mary Orthodox Church, Chicago, IL; St. George, Flint, MI; St. James Orthodox Church, Loveland, Ohio; St. George, Cicero, IL; St. Elijah Orthodox Church, Oklahoma City, OK; St. Elias, Denver, CO; St. James Orthodox Church, Brier, WA, and St. Elias Cathedral, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Our trainers presented Teacher Training II workshops or customized material to assist teachers and parents.

On October 14, St. George Orthodox Church, Little Falls, NJ will host a Teacher Training II workshop. Carole Buleza and Fr. George Alberts will lead participants through training tracks for elementary or middle school/high school teachers. The day will begin at 9 and end at 3:30. Claire Levash is the contact at St. George. Please see attachments below for an event flyer and registration form.

If you are interested in hosting a training in your parish, please contact Leslie at 717-747-5221 or at

Host: St. George Orthodox Church, Little Falls, NJ
Date: October 14, 2017
For more information, email:



Interview with Church School Director Rebekah Yergo: My Overwhelming "Yes!"

Rebekah Yergo is entering her fifth year as the Church School Director at St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, PA. The church school enrolls an average of 80 students, with classes organized by groups of 2-3 grade levels and high school students together in one class. Many thanks to Rebekah for being willing to share her experience with other directors. 

How were you called to this role/what led you to this role?

An opening became available and our parish priest approached me and asked me if I would serve. There are moments in time that you just know it’s a ‘God moment’. This was one of them for me because I said yes, just as he completed the initial question and without any elaborating. I felt this bubbling up, overwhelming yes come out of my mouth before it even registered in my brain what the question was. There are only a couple of other times I’ve felt this way about a path I’ve followed, and I’ve got to say, I like it when God makes it that obvious. It has been a fantastic journey so far.

Which curricula do you use for Sunday classes?

We have an eclectic mix; a couple of our seasoned teachers have created their own that best fits their classroom needs. We have a couple of classes that use the Greek courses and some that use varying OCEC offerings. Every third year we offer The Way, The Truth, The Life for grades 7-9. We have not found a consistent plan that works for all our teachers and all our students.


On the Liturgical Year for Teachers: The Time of Advent

This series of blog posts will offer basic information and resources regarding the liturgical year. It is our hope that Sunday Church School teachers will find this series helpful as they live the liturgical year with their students. The series will follow the church year in sections, as divided in the book “The Year of Grace of the Lord: A Scriptural and Liturgical Commentary on the Calendar of the Orthodox Church” by a monk of the Eastern Church. May God bless His Church throughout this year!

Beginning on November 15 (or 28), Orthodox Christians around the world begin to prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ at Christmas. This time of preparation and fasting is 40 days long and leads right to the Feast of the Nativity. (It is the same length as Great Lent, which leads to Holy Week and Pascha; but there are different restrictions in each fast.) The Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple takes place during the Nativity Fast.


Time to Go to Church… A Time to Fear and Dread?

Author’s note: The Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education is blessed to be able to share the wisdom of others. Parents, find out how others are keeping their kids engaged in the service by exploring this compilation of advice shared by Fr. John Peck on his website Journey to Orthodoxy. You can explore the original article and also view our handout on church behavior.

Let the Little Children Come
by Presbytera Marilisse I. Mars

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:14

It's Sunday morning. The church bulletin says that church starts at 10:00am. It's now 10:30am. You're walking to the car to take yourself and the kids to church. You're arriving at communion. You're embarrassed to come in that late, but you're less embarrassed (after all, half the parish comes to church late) than you would be by your children's behavior if you stayed for the whole service. You walk in during the Lord's Prayer. A few minutes later, thank God, communion. Now you can go. Lunchtime!   Read More...

Helping Children Worship
From St. Luke the Evangelist Orthodox Church

Dear St. Luke Family,
We are on a quest to train our children to love the Lord's Day! We want them to love the Divine Liturgy, to actively engage in it, and to understand it.