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Discover programs developed by the Department of Christian Education.

"My Orthodox Church," a New Program for Middle School Students

"My Orthodox Church" is a middle school program of frequently asked questions that Orthodox Christians encounter. It provides a platform for students and teachers to engage with our faith and bring knowledge and understanding of the faith to the task of identity-building. The materials used for researching the answers are from both The Orthodox Study Bible and from pamphlets from Ancient Faith Publishing that are available at most parishes.

Instructor's Manual

Student Book

Password Cards

Interview with Sammye Fuller: Supporting Sunday School as a Teacher, Then as Director

Sammye Fuller is in her seventh year as Sunday School Director at Holy Trinity Antiochian Orthodox Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. The parish has 25 students enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year.

Please share with us a little about yourself.

Technically, I have been the Sunday School Director for about seven years. However, since we did not have a Director before that, and I was the only Sunday School teacher in the beginning, perhaps it has been longer.

We have four classes. The preschool class is for 2-ish to 5 years old, with one teacher and one or more helpers when available. Parents often stay if needed. The elementary class is 6-9 years old.

Introducing The Great Feasts Program

The Great Feasts: The Life of Our Lord

By Carole Buleza

The Twelve Great Feasts and Pascha, taken together, are an overview of the life of our Lord. While it is important for our children to know about His miracles and teachings, it is just as important for them to know the main events of His life story. Our salvation resides in His life. Furthermore, just as we are baptized into Him, our own story—our life—must rest on His. Jesus’ life comprises the “foundational story” for Christians. A foundational story answers the ultimate questions of life, death and why we are here, and guides our thoughts, values, and actions. The Christian story provides answers to all these questions and gives us the virtues of faith, hope, and love that, even if not recognized as such, influence our attitudes and actions and curb the anxiety that comes from unexpected events and uncertain times. It is a strong foundation.

Summer Church School

Many of our parishes invent their own vacation church school programs. Some have vacation church school every day, some have three days in a week, others set aside two week nights. Why have Vacation Church School? From the GOA Catalog:

Summer vacation’s slower pace and mild weather make it the best time to schedule a camp-like program. In addition, most Orthodox parishes suspend their church school activities for the summer, so VCS provides a summertime “boost.” VCS is the perfect way to bring together Orthodox children, parents, grandparents, teachers and others in an intensive environment for a total immersion experience in Orthodox faith, learning and fun. It’s also a good way to work with neighboring Orthodox parishes, planning one area-wide VCS program.

Please see pages 24-25 of the GOA catalog (PDF) for vacation church school resources. And check out the new vacation church school program, “Behold the Light” by the authors of “The Ark of Salvation: Feasts of the Theotokos” at

Festal Icon Timeline

Festal Icon Timeline: Click image to enlargeFestal Icon Timeline: Click image to enlarge

By Shelley Pituch


  • Piece of poster board, cut into a 7” wide strip that is the length of the longer edge
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Glue
  • Clothespin
  • Small brown piece of construction paper
  • Pictures of icons portraying Pascha and the 12 Great Feasts of the church year:

Journey through Great Lent

Published by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Department of Religious Education

“The Department of Religious Education has embarked on a new line of resources for teaching junior high and high school students. Called "zines" (from magazine), each one explores one topic of the Orthodox Christian Faith in easy-to-read bites of information and accompanying images, with many interactive elements, such as questions for reflection or things to look up in the Bible.

The zines are not grade-specific, but work at a middle school / junior high (grades 5–9) or senior high (grades 10–12) level. Each zine also has a Teacher Guide for classroom use over several weeks as a unit of study.

The zines are a part of the Department's development of a “menu” of topics, allowing teachers and Church schools to select however many units they need for a Church school year.

In addition, the zines can be sent home, distributed to all parishioners, or placed in the narthex for parishioners or visitors.”

For ordering information, visit the following link:

“Embark on this year’s Lenten journey with junior high students as the Church opens the Triodion on February 24 this year. This nine-week unit spans the Great Fast with clear, vivid introductions to the season’s Scriptures, Traditions, saints and services.

A Lamp to My Feet: An Introduction to the Bible

A Lamp to My Feet (Purchasing info)

With this zine, students develop the attitudes and confidence needed to light their path with the lamp of Scripture. They can then access God’s message to the world by asking how each reading relates to them: “What does this text say about Christ, and how does it apply to my life?”

The zine explores general motivations for and goals of Bible study. It then suggests study habits and methods, and explains various formats and translations of the Bible. The zine introduces the Old and New Testaments, the kinds of books they contain, and how the books came to be there.

The Tree of Jesse

During the Nativity Fast, your family can put up a Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree represents the family tree, or genealogy of Jesus Christ beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. The tree is named after Jesse, the father of King David. A drawing of a tree or a tabletop tree can be used for this activity. Each day throughout the Nativity Fast, add a new ornament to the tree. The ornament represents a person or a religious symbol and is accompanied by a reading from scripture. Ideally, these ornaments are handmade from various materials: paper, felt, crafts sticks, etc. prior to the Nativity Fast or can be purchased from multiple websites. Gather your children together each day to hang a new ornament and to reflect on the reading.

Advent Reading for the Jesse Tree

This icon is by the hand of Nicholas Papas. It is located at St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church, Souderton, PA.

This icon depicts the many prophecies of the Virgin birth of Christ. There are twelve Old Testament prophets, shown holding things that reveal their identity and the prophecy they foretold of the Theotokos and the virgin birth of Christ.

“Let Us Attend” Now Includes a Reader Theatre Page!

New! The Sunday Gospel Program, “Let Us Attend,” now includes a Reader Theatre page! The page provides the gospel as a script for reading aloud the different parts. Taking the parts of Jesus, the disciples, the crowd, the women disciples allows the students to come closer to experiencing the presence of Jesus. The goal is for the students to get to know Jesus Christ through the gospel. Although they hear the gospel in the Divine Liturgy, it is chanted in a continuous rhythm, unlike what occurred in reality.

Here is how to use this resource. 1) Let the children read through it once silently; 2) discuss the various feelings of the characters and how they would have spoken the words they did; 3) assign the parts and read aloud; 4) discuss how they felt about Jesus’ words—did they get a different idea of Jesus from this passage?

No doubt Jesus would have paused before answering certain questions. Those who addressed Jesus undoubtedly were taken aback at some of his responses. For the older students, add three components. 1) talk about where Jesus would have paused before answering, and where the crowd would have been silent in amazement, 2) use the footnotes of the gospel to enhance their understanding of Jesus, and 3) look at the gospel passage just before the reading to find other hints as to why Jesus said/did the words/actions of the day’s gospel.

Tithing Program

On this web page you will find a set of parish posters, Teacher Notes, Student Booklets, and other materials on the theme of To Tithe Is To Show That We Care for the Church

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