Monday, October 21, 2019

How a Fifteen Year Old Child Martyr Shows Us the Right Path

By Fr. Elias Makos

The New Martyr John who was from Gouves in Monemvasia was a child, just fifteen years old, and his memory is celebrated on October 21st. He was made worthy to be martyred for his faith in God, and in a very tragic way.

His father was an Orthodox priest from Geraki who served with much reverence in the parish of the village of his wife called Gouves, and this is where John was born.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

How To Explain Halloween to Christian Youth

By John Sanidopoulos

When I was an eighteen year old seminarian, I was asked by a local parish to do a youth seminar on Halloween about a week before October 31st. Though I never personally had any issues with Halloween, and in fact I enjoyed it, I felt like the parish wanted me to teach the normal anti-Halloween propaganda most Christians teach about it, and I decided to use that to explain what Halloween was all about from a Christian perspective. I basically prepared the material for other youth counselors, and about fifty young people were broken up into five groups of ten and discussed the material. One of these groups was led by me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Mothers and the Upbringing of Children (St. Nektarios of Aegina)

Photo of St. Nektarios in Evia from 1893

The following article titled "Mothers and the Upbringing of Children" was written in 1895 by St. Nektarios when he was the director of the Rizarios Ecclesiastical School in Athens, and it was published in the periodical Ieros Syndesmos.

The education of children must begin from infancy, so that the child’s mental faculties may, from their very first appearance, be directed right from the beginning toward the good, the gentle, the true, and may be removed from the evil, the obscene, and the false. This age can be regarded as a most immovable foundation upon which the child’s moral and intellectual formation will be built. This is why Phocylides says, "You must while he is yet a child instruct him in good works," for it is from childhood, as from a starting line, that a man sets off on the race he is to run in life. And Basil the Great declares, “The soul, while it is still easily molded and soft, while it is still like wax that is easily melted and that easily receives the impression of the shapes that are pressed upon it, must straightway and from the beginning be urged on to every exercise of virtues; so that, when the faculty of reason has come and the habit of discrimination has appeared, the soul’s course may proceed from first principles and from the impressions of piety that have been handed down to it, with the faculty of reason suggesting that which is useful and the moral character producing an ease of accomplishing it.” And who, indeed, does not acknowledge that those first impressions that have come during childhood prove indelible? Who doubts that in early childhood influences are so powerfully impressed on the child’s tender soul, that they remain vivid throughout his whole life?

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Orthodox Hierarchs Address the Youth at the Beginning of the New School Year

Orthodox Hierarchs around the world have been addressing the youth with pastoral advice at the beginning of the new school year. Among the most interesting are the following three examples with a universal message to youth:

Patriarch Daniel of Romania pointed out in a sermon that “spiritual and intellectual formation is the greatest wealth of person, a treasure no one can take away from us.”

He went on to state: "What we gather in our soul through prayer, culture, education and good deeds remains eternally in our soul."

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Education of Children (St. Sebastian Dabovich)

The Education of Children

By St. Sebastian Dabovich

A Homily Delivered in San Francisco in 1899

We desire to tell you of some thing, which is of the utmost importance. We find it necessary, unfortunately, to repeat in a measure what has been told you several times. We speak plainly, without a flourish of words, because we feel our responsibility before God - if we be misunderstood. We desire to remind you of our parish or church-school. To learn to read and write you send your children to school. You know that you must do it. But how many of you think of the serious obligation of rightly and thoroughly preparing your children for the life which they must live after only a few years? Some, indeed, give their attention to what they call a decent education for their children, for which and for whom they would not fall back of any one, but be as good and as nice as other people in town. If you send your children to school to study grammar and arithmetic, (the future mainstay of the "home" are often compelled to leave their homes to learn even cooking and dancing), why will you not be just as eager to send them to school where they will study religion? If you are truly interested in the welfare of your children, why do you not watch as strictly, but once a week, how they attend to their lessons in the study of the Law of God, as you do in some home-work, which the children seemed to be forced to have prepared within the next twelve hours for their public school? You must obey God, above the public and all other masters, or lose your souls for the responsibility which rests upon you for the present and future welfare of your children.