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."

He highlighted the link between the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos and the beginning of the new school year, speaking about the nine years spent by the Virgin Mary in the girls’ education school at the Temple in Jerusalem.

Attending the Divine Liturgy at the Nativity of the Theotokos Church in Bucharest’s Drumul Taberei neighborhood, the Romanian Patriarch offered a set of recommendations to students, but also to their parents and teachers.

“We need to take care not only of material things for children. These are also necessary. But let us form a noble soul, an enlightened soul, a heart full of merciful love for people and full of gratitude to God.”

The Patriarch conveyed congratulations and his appreciation to parents and teachers “because children’s education is a great missionary work.”

“It is a sacred work that is often less rewarded in this world, but blessed and rewarded by God in eternal life,” the Patriarch said.

Recalling the words of the Savior that “those who keep His commandments and teach others to fulfill them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven,” Patriarch Daniel said:

“Great will be called in the kingdom of heaven all male and female educators, teachers, and professors, and their greatness will increase as all children and young people instructed by them will become people with a lot of culture, faith and spiritual kindness, and will bring at the same time joy to the Church and the Romanian people.”

Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, during the inauguration ceremony of the new premises of the elementary school under the auspices of the Transfiguration Church in Vrilissia, Varympompi, said to the children: "The Church creates and educates the personalities we all need."

In another instant, the Archbishop emphasized that the wisdom of God should be combined with the wisdom of letters, in order to create talented people, while calling on the attendant crowd to cultivate their talents and not keep them for themselves, because this is a heresy, but instead to offer them to other people.

At the sanctification service at the 39th-141st primary schools and 97th Kindergarten in Athens, Archbishop Ieronymos addressed the students as follows: "Dear children, we are here with you today at this celebration, in this good beginning. We have come to celebrate the beginning of your school year and to officiate the sanctification service."

He went on to say: "There is not only human wisdom but also the wisdom coming from the communication between humans and God. We want you to receive both the human wisdom that comes out of these schools and the wisdom that comes from above. This is what our school, our state, our family and our church is striving for. We want you to be gifted and enlightened, to lead your life with those gifts."

The Archbishop added: "“We want you to give your best, as the most important word is effort.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople gave his best wishes and blessings to the students and teachers in Constantinople and Imbros.

On the start of the new school year, the Ecumenical Patriarch sent a message to the heads of educational institutions, stressing that teachers “carry out humanitarian work, transmitting knowledge, values, and adherence to tradition to the students.”

The Ecumenical Patriarch said that the students should regard school as a sacred place of education and humanity. “Our tradition says that education is what makes somebody righteous with faith in God and love for one’s neighbor.”

He added that education is not about what we are, but mainly about what we should be.

He also stressed that the biggest part in education is not only the teacher and the student, but also the parents who wholeheartedly support the children in the difficult struggle of education.