Check out our favorite Christian Education (and related) materials.
Throughout the exploration of our page, we have discovered many valuable archived articles, resources, links, and activities that pertain to Great Lent. These may prove to be quite beneficial to you in the coming weeks and months. These offerings have been gathered and organized below, for you to explore, read and utilize.
- A Summary of Lenten Offerings
- Journey through Holy Week and Pascha
- Meditation on the Prayer of St. Ephraim (PDF)
Crafts and Activities
The following resources coordinate well with our current Creative Festivals theme: 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
In reading these articles and exploring these links, we hope that you will be inspired to use this theme throughout the year and encourage our Orthodox youth to make a lifelong commitment to charitable giving, whether through acts or monetarily.
Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry
Food for Hungry People
IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities)
An Orthodox Christian Worksheet and activity for teens and children on the Nativity and Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Visit www.orthodoxeducation.blogspot.com for more resources.
Little Anastasios was a meek child, thirsting for knowledge. As a young man, he decided to serve God in a Monastery and became a monk. For his love and obedience, he received many gifts from God, among which was the gift of wonderworking. His pure life showed him to people as a great Saint of the church, a protector of children and healer of ailments of all kinds: St. Nectarios of Aegina.
Gigi is a mother of three and an award-winning educator. Her experience includes teaching in public and private schools as well as working as a full-time Orthodox Youth Director. She has been involved in summer church camping programs since 1992 and helped in the founding and formation of three Orthodox summer camps. Gigi is the founder of Music Learn, an educational music company, and has produced four albums including: ”Fruits of the Spirit,” “Celebrate the Feasts,” “Middle School Math Music,” and “The ABCs of Orthodoxy.”
Her music can be purchased here:
Click on link to read more about Gigi Shadid and her work!
You are in the springtime of your life…Lent is the springtime of the Church, bringing new life in nature and renewal to all who follow Christ.
TIME TO REFLECT ON LENT
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? WHAT’S EXPECTED OF ME? WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
Food for thought: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” ( Mark 2:23 – 3:15)
Divine Liturgy and Sunday school – a special time and space in your life during this Lenten season and Holy Week.
On the day of Theophany we learned that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We also learned that when Jesus stepped into the Jordan River, the water was made clean. On the feast day, January 6, we remember that one day all of nature will be made clean and new again. Here is how we celebrate the feast....
See also Why Do We Have Our Homes Blessed by Phyllis Onest
by Shelley Pituch
Glory to God, An Amazing Pilgrimage, and Life in the Shed are three books in a series of The Adventures of a Little Ringtail. The books are adapted from The Amazing Story of a Little Hedgehog, originally written in Russian by Monk Lazar. In the first book, the characters learn a lesson about the importance of prayer and what life is like without it. They discover how God guides and helps them by working together for the “Glory of God” in prayer. The second book, the characters set out on a pilgrimage to an Orthodox monastery. Along the way, they meet obstacles that could tempt them, but they are not worried. Finally, in book three, the characters learn that good deeds and love can turn old enemies into friends. This books series would be appropriate for preschoolers through grade 4. The themes and lessons taught in the stories could be adapted for the multiple age levels and would be excellent for Sunday School, Homeschool, and personal home use.
Feasts of the Orthodox Church: an educational coloring book, covers the 12 major feasts of the Orthodox Liturgical calendar. With each feast, there is a description and information about the feast, as well as a coloring sheet and provided lines for student responses. Sunday school teachers and homeschool teachers are permitted to copy the sheets for non-commercial use, making it a useful resource in instruction. This book would be perfect for Kindergarten through Grade 2.
by Carole Buleza, Chair, Department of Christian Education
Connecting us to Jesus Christ
When I was young, I found a book about the Holy Land; the images of the holy sites fascinated me—Bethlehem, Golgotha, Cana—these were the places where Jesus walked and lived! He was real!
Images of all sorts surround us today. If your children text, tweet, and Facebook, they live in a world of distraction—is Jesus even on their radar? Let’s get back to basics—our faith, and our life itself, rests in a person who lived 2,000 years ago and lives still. Donate a poster to your church school and begin to surround the children with images that remind them of the reality of Jesus!
The Department of Christian Education plans to offer a few posters each summer for homes, classrooms, church hallways, and offices. A limited amount has been printed. They are available for a donation of $5, and come safely to you in a mailing tube. The smaller poster photo prints will be sent in a cardboard mailing envelope. Please print out the order form and send a check to the Antiochian Department of Christian Education. The address is on the form.
Today we interview Amy Mary Ries, the creative force behind Orthodox Christian Craft Supply, the online source for craft kits specifically for Orthodox Christians.
Sullivan: When you became involved in church crafts, can you tell us the setting? Were you in a parish program, or were you home schooling Christian Education for your children?
Amy: I’ve been involved with church crafts my entire life. I enjoyed them as a child and went on to use them as an adult teacher and volunteer. When we came to our parish as converts, I immediately got involved with children’s activities, since it is something I truly enjoy. We have one child in public school and two children who are homeschooled. Whether we school at home or take advantage of public and private school options, all Christian families homeschool, because we all live the Faith at home and teach it to our children. I try, then, to provide materials for all educational needs. Homeschoolers, families, schools, and parishes. Big groups or individuals. There’s something for everyone.
Listen to or read the following podcasts and articles for further illumination on the subject of Creation and our role in it as Orthodox Christians:
- Ecology & God’s Creation, Parts 1 & 2, Fr. John Chryssavgis, Orthodox Christian Network podcasts, http://www.myocn.net/
- The Earth is the Lord’s: Caring for God’s Creation; a 5- part Study Unit from Education & Community Life Ministries; OCA, 1995 (www.orthodoxed.org)
- Animals & Man: A State of Blessedness, Joanne Stefanatos, DVM, Light-n-Life
- Celebrate the Earth; Dorrie Papademetriou; SVS Press
- Keeping the Garden by Fr. John Oliver, http://www.antiochian.org...
- Christian Ecology: An Orthodox Christian View by Fr. Gregory Lazarus Murphy, The Word Magazine, March 2004, pgs. 5-9, http://www.antiochian.org/node/19464
- The Goodness of God’s Creation, by Fr. Philip LeMasters, Regina Press; podcast on Come Receive the Light, http://www.myocn.net/
- "Green Christianity," vol. 9, no. 1 (Fall 2009): http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/religioused/praxis/Praxis-2009-9-1
1: Journey through Holy Week
Follow Christ and the Church through each stage of Holy Week—from the Saturday of Lazarus to the Agape Vespers service—with this new full-color guide from the Department of Religious Education. In the zine-style booklet, author Stephania Gianulis pinpoints the relevance and meanings of the services, hymns, and scripture readings. Special features on each page illuminate icons, traditions, and history.
Have you ever wanted to read scripture, but didn’t know where to start? Begin with a cup of coffee and your Bible. Go to your computer and log on to Ancient Faith Radio and go to Podcasts where you’ll find the Coffee Cup Commentaries. Fr. John is presently in the book of Acts of the Apostles. Listen and follow along as he reads and upacks a small portion of scripture each weekday with something interesting to be learned each time. Allow about 10 minutes each day to grow closer to God and the Church.
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou, Search the Scriptures
A second choice for Bible Study is offered by Presbytera Eugenia Constantinou. She offers an introduction to the Bible in Search The Scriptures, and is presently in the Old Testament book of Judges. Going back through her archives will allow you to find the books before Judges so that you can access information on the books of the Bible that she has already addressed. She does a fine job of teaching just enough, and clearly, on the Old Testament. Knowing the people and the stories of the Old Testament will open your eyes to why Jesus is indeed the Messiah, or “Christ.”
Don't miss our Online Resources guide for Orthodox Christian Education, available HERE.
Listed are numerous programs from helpful general websites to camping programs to online lesson plans and craft ideas.
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.
In conjunction with Conciliar Press, the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family MInistries has released two much-requested brochures for Orthodox Christians. "Crowned with Glory and Honor," a free, downloadable brochure, presents readers with a set of helpful guidelines for Orthodox marriage preparation, including such concepts as the meaning of crowning, and the purpose of the Betrothal Service. Readers will even learn about the wedding almonds: "The white coating symbolizes purity; the egg shape represents fertility and new life that begins in marriage. The hardness of the almond represents the endurance of marriage, and the sweetness of the sugar encourages the hope of the sweetness of future life together. Giving of three almonds signifies the union is indivisible, just as the bride and groom will remain undivided in their union with each other and with Christ."
The second brochure, "A Guide to Parish Etiquette," lists everything parishioners need to know about respectful and reverent behavior while in liturgy. Department Director Khouria Maggie Hock encourages all parishes, couples and families to make use of these valuable, free resources.
Unwrap the story of Christ’s birth to reveal the fullness of the Incarnation behind the “Christmas story” of pageants. This full-color zine from the Greek Department of Religious Education begins with the Annunciation and then follows the seasonal calendar through the Nativity, Theophany and the Presentation of the Lord. The text unpacks the meaning of the Incarnation through icons, scripture readings and hymns for each feast.
Special features on each page illuminate traditions (such as the Vasilopita and home blessings) and lives of saints involved in the celebration.
Suitable for ages 12 and up—for use in the classroom, during retreats or at home.
The book provides the basic tenets of Orthodoxy from creation to the Church in 58 pages each with a sentence and full-color illustration. The second part of the book gives a fuller analysis of the 58 statements, and is suitable for adult classes. The book is a handy general resource and has been used with children who have had no prior classroom introduction to the faith to help them "catch-up" with their classmates. Available from the Antiochian Bookstore or from ArchangelsBooks.com.
There are 80 cards, 8 1/2" x 11" in size. Each card features a full-color photograph on the front. The text and suggested activities printed on the reverse sides of the cards provide simple explanations of each picture and are meant as guidelines to encourage further study. The cards break up into four clearly defined sets: Sacraments, Feast Days & Services, Great Lent & Pascha, and Divine Liturgy. Packaged in its own colorful storage box, the Teaching Pictures will be useful for all grades of the curriculum. Order from the Antiochian Bookstore or the Orthodox Christian Education Commission.
These are useful for framing when the feastdays are celebrated, and are a valuable supplement to any educational effort. The subjects include Christ, the Mother of God, saints, and major feasts of the Church year. An accompanying instructional booklet includes explanations of the theology of the icons and the spirituality expressed in each icon. The most complete and accessible icon collection for popular use. A bi-lingual edition, Vengan y alaben al Senor, includes a booklet in Spanish with the English commentary printed on the back of the icon prints.
1. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has published the first of three VCS programs: The Twelve Great Feastdays, available only in print. It is designed for five half-day sessions for ages 5-11, but includes suggestions for adapting it to different schedules and ages. It is available for purchase at 800-566-1088.
2. The Hub describes many details, such as choosing a theme, daily schedule, choir rehearsal, and more.
If you are looking for a fun, hands-on way to teach young people about the importance of doing acts of charity, Project Mexico has developed a three-lesson Church School Curriculum that is available at no cost. The three lessons give students an opportunity to examine what it means to be poor, hear what Christ instructed us to do for those in need, learn about Project Mexico's ministry to the poor and orphaned of Mexico.