Monday, December 23, 2019

O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi"

The Gift of the Magi is a short story by O. Henry first published in 1905. The story tells of a young husband and wife and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money. As a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift-giving, it has been popular for adaptation, especially for presentation at Christmas time. The plot and its twist ending are well-known, and the ending is generally considered an example of comic irony. It was allegedly written at Pete's Tavern on Irving Place in New York City.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Charles Dickens' "The Cricket on the Hearth"

The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home is a novella by Charles Dickens, published by Bradbury and Evans, and released 20 December 1845. Dickens described the novella as "quiet and domestic ... innocent and pretty." It is subdivided into chapters called "Chirps", similar to the "Quarters" of The Chimes or the "Staves" of A Christmas Carol. It is the third of Dickens's five Christmas books, preceded by A Christmas Carol (1843) and The Chimes (1844), and followed by The Battle of Life (1846) and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848).

Friday, December 20, 2019

Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl"

The Little Match Girl is a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. The story, about a dying child's dreams and hope, was first published in 1845. It takes place on New Year's Eve and is considered a holiday tale. It has been adapted in various films. Below are a few versions, along with a translation of the tale.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Saint Nicholas, Patron of Children

There are many patron saints for children, but perhaps the most popular is Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas is a patron of many things, including entire countries, but he is especially esteemed as a patron of children, which was greatly enhanced in the 19th century when he came to be identified with the gift-giving Santa Claus of Christmas. However, with the rise of the mythical Santa Claus, there was a decline of devotion towards the real Saint Nicholas.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Saint Stylianos, the Protector of Children

By Archimandrite Haralambos D. Vasilopoulos

A Saint From His Mother's Womb

Saint Stylianos was born in Paphlagonia, Asia Minor, between 400 and 500. He was blessed even from his mother’s womb. As he grew up, by the grace of God he increasingly became a dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit. From childhood he displayed the rare qualities of his blessed life. When he was young and still an adolescent, although, of course, he was of the flesh, he never allowed desires to pollute his spirit and soul. He was very pure. Nor did he allow any earthly passion to dominate him. He would not permit riches and the love of wealth to permeate his soul and subject him to corruption and perdition.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince"

Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince" may perhaps be my favorite short story for children. I was first introduced to it in elementary school, where it was shown to us on film every year, and even as a child I would be moved to tears and inspired by it.

It tells the story of a beautiful statue of a prince standing on a high pedestal. He is covered head to toe in gold leaf and for his all seeing eyes he has two beautiful saphires. All is not well with the Happy Prince, for he stands over a city that is steeped in abject poverty and here he is trapped on his pedestal unable to help the very people whom he loves with all his heart. Until along flies a swallow bound for the lands of Egypt for the winter and the swallow remains behind to help

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.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sick Catechists: A Concern In Catechism

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In the recent gathering of Hierarchs of the Church of Greece (02/21/2013), His Eminence Metropolitan Paul of Sisanion and Siatista suggested the theme "Concerns In Catechism" with knowledge and arguments, in a lovely and nice way.

Catechism is an important work of the Church that takes place prior to Baptism as well as after. It is an initiation into the life of the Church and pursues the development of the spiritual life, so that a person reaches "unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13), ie deification. The work of Catechism deals with all ages, young and old, men and women, the wise and the illiterate. Essentially Catechism is the pastoring of the Church.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Saint Marina As A Role Model For Young Women

Saint Marina the Great Martyr (Feast Day - July 17)

Marina was born in Southern Anatolia, specifically from Pisidia in Antioch, at the end of the third century during the reign of Claudius II (268-270). She was the only daughter of noble pagan parents.

When she was five years old her mother died (some sources say she died shortly after childbirth), and since her father, Aidesios, was too busy carrying out his duties as a pagan priest to care for her properly, he turned her care over to a woman who happened to be a Christian.

This nanny lived in a small town about fifteen miles from where Marina was born. Away from her father’s idols and blasphemous practices her nanny taught her about the Christian Faith. As Marina increased in age, more so did she advance in knowledge, understanding, and compassion. Her faith in the Living God was so great that she desired the difficult path of Martyrdom. She told her father that she wished to become a Christian and to never marry so as to live a life of virginity. Her father despised her for her faith and disowned her as his daughter.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Youth and the Parish

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

Within the Church and in the space of the Parish, the youth, even if they have been let down by society and their family, are able to find an authentic community in Christ, and the interest of a real father. Of course, in the Church there can also be errors and fall short of what should be expected, but ultimately that which has value is that the Church is not an organization, but a divine-human organism, since it is the Body of Christ. We know very well that the wounds of the Cross on the resurrected Body of Christ are signs of its glory. By these wounds the Apostle Thomas beheld the Divinity of Christ, according to Saint Gregory Palamas.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Counsels in the Spiritual Life for Orthodox Youth (Elder Daniel Katounakiotis)

The following letter of Elder Daniel Katounakiotis, who reposed on September 21st 1929, is a reply to a letter written by two young brothers who sought from this holy man of Mount Athos some guidance in the spiritual life. Elder Daniel's primary aim is to encourage the two brothers to stay away from vice and to love God-pleasing virtue. The letter was written in 1902.

To the beloved brothers Constantine and John, I pray from my soul.

With great joy, I recently received your two letters, which I read with great zeal and diligence. It is my duty that I answer and guide you accordingly. I will, however, address my response to both of you, since the two of you are God-loving brothers, and both of you have equal need of spiritual guidance and education. You are therefore obligated not only to ask, but to listen to what the Fathers have said.

Monday, June 10, 2019

A Prayer for Children (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

A Prayer for Children

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

O All-plenteous Lord Jesus Christ, who wast once even Thyself a child and who used to love and bless children, have mercy upon the children of our time and save them — so that unbaptized children may be baptized, and so that baptized children may be strengthened in their faith in Thee, who art Truth eternal, and in their love for Thee, who art Love ineffable.

Save, O Lord, those children whom unbelieving parents corrupt with atheism and turn away from Thee, their only Savior and salvation.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Welcome to Orthodox Youth Resources!

Dear Readers:

Do you work in some aspect of youth ministry and are looking for resources?

Have you ever searched online for such resources only to come away from such a search empty?

Do you want to expand the online presence of your youth ministry but don't know what to post or how to go about doing so?

If these and other such questions relate to your situation, then welcome to Orthodox Youth Resources, an online ministry dedicated to our Orthodox Christian youth that is part of the Mystagogy Resource Center, an international Orthodox Christian ministry.

I get asked about Orthodox resources aimed towards youth workers and the youth quite often. I've posted a few things here and there online that I am able to share, but knowing there is a desperate need for such resources, I decided to devote an entire webpage to providing them.

I am no stranger to youth ministry. I have some experience in pretty much every form of youth ministry. First of all, I was an Orthodox Christian youth. I have also taught Sunday School at all age levels, taught Greek to beginners, worked with different ages at an Orthodox Christian summer and winter camp, and for a short time was even a Youth Director at a large parish. I will speak of my own personal experiences in more detail on this website.

Don't think that this website is here to provide lesson plans. No. This website is meant to provide resources for your lesson plans. But this website isn't merely aimed towards providing information for lessons either. What will be posted here will inspire and inform, and many things you will want to share. Some things you will want to share with adults who have a passion in working with youth, while other things you will want to share with young people themselves.

It's difficult to describe what will be provided here. There will be a great variety of things. My only recommendation is that you follow this page and wait for its updates.

Keep in mind also that even though this site focuses on the youth, it is a supplement to the other resources of the Mystagogy Resource Center, which also contain many things of interest to youth and youth workers.


With love in Christ,

John Sanidopoulos