Christian Education is very important for the life of the Orthodox Church. Orthodoxy focuses education toward the the entire Person – body, mind (nous) and soul. Our experiences within the Church and on our journey of faith can be just as informative and transformative as any good book or lecture from the Scriptures. Personal development as an Orthodox Christian involves more than just learning doctrine or dogma – it involves a development of one’s own Spirituality and a participation in the Life of the Church; in the Life of Christ.
Education before becoming an Orthodox Christian is known as catechesis. Catechesis for the catechumen (that is, someone who is on a journey to become an Orthodox Christian) is primarily done through the attending of divine services, learning to pray, reading Orthodox books and studying Orthodox doctrine, and developing a relationship with a parish priest – one’s Father-Confessor or spiritual father. As the parish priest of St. Nicholas Church, Fr. Paul Fuller leads catechumens through their education in the Orthodox faith. If you are interested in becoming a catechumen, please contact Fr. Paul to let him know.
Catechesis also applies to children who are “born into” Orthodoxy (that is, their parents are Orthodox Christians), as they should be taught and reared in a solidly Orthodox lifestyle and world-view by their parents (the education of children is primarily a responsibility of the parents – not a school and not the local parish).
Since everyone is on a different journey towards the one, true Faith, there is no “one size fits all” catechesis process. Therefore, the relationship with a local parish priest is of the utmost importance.
Our parish has a church school for children that currently meets every other Sunday during the school year. Classes begin at the conclusion of The Divine Liturgy and are held in the blue house next to the church. Elizabeth Baclig is the Church School Director at St. Nicholas Church. If you are interested in assisting with Church School please talk to either Elizabeth or Fr. Paul.
Additional Orthodox Education Resources for Children
- Let Us Attend: Sunday’s Gospel for Children
- Crafts, Games, and Activities
- More Resources @ Antiochian.org
- Resources Especially for Home Schools
- Homeschooling: The Encouragement and Challenge of St Emmelia
Education after becoming an Orthodox Christian is referred to as mystagogy. This is the continual development and education of a person after they have been received by the Church through Her Sacred Mysteries (Holy Baptism, Chrismation, Holy Confession, the Eucharist, Marriage, etc.) or “sacraments” as you might know them.
A large portion of mystagogy is done through one’s >continual participation in the Life of the Church; that is, by participation in divine services (especially the 12 Great Feasts and Pascha), fasting disciplines, daily prayer (including both private and family worship), the reading of Scripture and other sacred/edifying writings of the Church, Holy Confession and the frequent reception of the Eucharist, almsgiving and other charitable works, righteous living (crucifying the passions), and tithing.
Besides these things, an Orthodox Christian that is capable of both studying and learning more about the Faith should commit themselves to do so whenever and wherever possible.
In addition to the reading of Scripture and other sacred/edifying works of the Church, adult education classes (“Bible study” or “Sunday School”) and discussion groups – even casual discussion with Orthodox friends about the Faith – are a great way to delve deeper into the vast ocean that is the Orthodox Tradition.
Adult Education at St Nicholas Orthodox Church
For our parish community, we currently have 2 community groups that meet monthly and include a structured program with Orthodox educational material. Please see “Community Groups” under the Ministries menu for more information. Fr. Paul also offers catechism classes periodically and anyone is welcome to attend these when they occur.