Monday, January 31, 2022

Education, Freedom and Youth According to the Three Hierarchs

 By Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople

From the Great Fathers we are taught how demanding the work of education, both Classical and Christian, is for the teacher and the student. This is particularly relevant today, when pervasive pedagogical humanism regards educational intervention, guidance and discipline as the abolition of freedom and an obstacle to the happiness of children. The words self-realization, autonomy, self, individual rights, success, satisfaction of needs and the like dominate, while responsibility, offering, duty, the common good and solidarity are absent.

Valuable traditions and humanitarian achievements are shaken. Education does not seem to be interested in the development of man's spiritual nature, it does not turn him towards the crucial and essentials of human life. In this environment, the youth are not shielded against contemporary challenges, nor are they sufficiently prepared to assume in time the responsibilities for the struggle of life, for the defense of freedom, for the protection of creation, for the preservation of our traditions and self-identity.

Our ancient ancestors already wisely emphasized that the primary purpose of education is not to enable the youth to acquire what they desire, but to desire that which they should - the proper, the good.

The Three Hierarchs are preachers of a bound freedom manifested through choice and doing that which is good. Of course, to say "I do what I like" is not genuine freedom, but a sign of spiritual and existential decay.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.