"The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children." Father Porphyrios , Wounded By Love

Monday, February 4, 2019

Presentation of Christ: Churching a Baby

For this week's lesson on Ypapanti : or the Presentation of Christ to the Temple we reflected on our own 40-Day blessing to record that in our "Orthodox Christian Kids Journals."  You can access the free download here:

The handout includes a coloring icon of the Presentation Icon, a prayer for the infant, a True or False about the mother bringing the child, and a quote to trace.

Again, I hope your students enjoy coloring, cutting and pasting these fun boxes into to journals they are decorating
as a keepsake of our Orthodox Christian faith.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Three Hierarchs Lesson & Coloring Icon

Join us to learn more about each individual Saint celebrated during the Three Hierarchs common feastday on January 30th by downloading the handout for free here 
or on Scribd located here

We are coloring, cutting and gluing this lesson along with the many others in our "Orthodox Christian Kids Journals" that can be found at this link:

All files beginning from September have been uploaded for free download!

This method of journaling has created truly beautiful keepsakes for Orthodox youth ages 5 to 18 to help them follow the calendar year of the Church.  Each student has used their God-given gifts in a creative, unique way that has planted the seeds of our faith into their memory.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Holy Unction Orthodox Lesson

We rarely tackle the topic of Holy Unction (Evxalion)
in the Orthodox Church with teenagers and youth, so it is rather taken for granted when Holy Week comes along.

However, holy oil can be used daily in your homes if you obtain a small jar of blessed oil from a kandili (vigil lamp) burning in front of relics or from your own personal icon corner. Each day as your family reads the morning prayers, complete the experience by eating a small piece of antidoro (blessed bread distributed at the end of Liturgy) and by receiving the sign of the cross with oil by a parent. It also is a good habit for children to kiss the hand of the parent who blesses them as this conveys a deeper respect for the hand that nourishes you....ultimately reminding children that to receive the blessing of their parent for the day is crucial....just as we ask the blessing of our parents for college choices, marriage, etc

Download the HOLY UNCTION handout here on Scribd
or here thru GoogleDocs

Here is the link for the ORTHODOX KIDS JOURNALS  if you'd like to participate in the full program!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Presentation of Christ Activities - Ipapanti

As you and your families prepare
to celebrate the Presentation of Christ on February 2
I share with you the following activities.

Page 16 of 39 in this Orthodox coloring book
has the icon  to print & color


Click, Print and Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Theophany Lesson Orthodox Journals

For the feast of Theophany, this free lesson and handout on Scribd or here at GoogleDocs for
Orthodox Christians reaches back to the well known story of the holy Prophet Noah and the ark to understand God's plan for our salvation.

You may ask your students to cut around the components of the icon to glue and create
their own festal icon with the blue Jordan river and barren desert as you read aloud the Gospel text.

The discussion for the lesson should lead to God's revelation of the Holy Trinity, 3-in-1 and 1-in-3. In fact, if our students only learn the Troparion or festal hymn for the feast of Theophany they will see that it encompasses the complete theology of the Church in that the Holy Trinity existed before all time!

Wishing your families and students a blessed illumination for 2019!

Theotokos: Her Life in Mosaics

Did you know that in the history and tradition of the Orthodox Church we have more scenes depicted from the life of the Theotokos than anyone else? You might be surprised to learn that there are over 16 different mosaics to teach us about Panagia's life at the Church of St. Savior in Chora (Kariye Camii) in Constantinople, Turkey.

This Church was once part of a monastery, but is now Museum, and has one of the best-preserved collections of Byzantine mosaics and frescoes. Here are just a few of the scenes depicted:

**A PDF of most of the Mosaics with short descriptions has been posted here on our Scribd Orthodox Group. Please take a look - it is a valuable teaching tool**

1. Joachim's offerings at the Temple
2. Annunciation of Saint Anne (the angel of the Lord announcing to Anne that her prayer for a child has been heard)
3. Meeting of Joachim and Anne
4. Birth of the Virgin Mary
5. First seven steps of the Virgin
6. The Virgin given affection by her parents
7. The Virgin blessed by the priests
8. Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple
9. The Virgin receiving bread from an Angel
10. The Virgin receiving purple wool to weave the curtain for the Temple
11. the High Priest Zechariah praying
12. Zechariah calling widowers together to place their staffs on the altar, praying for a sign showing who the Virgin should be entrusted to
13. The Virgin entrusted to Joseph
14. Joseph taking the Virgin to his house
15. Annunciation of the Virgin
16. Joseph departing the Virgin for a trip; when he returns, she is pregnant

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Orthodox Jeopardy

Gather Orthodox Christians of all ages for a fun and interactive game of Orthodox Jeopardy. Created in Microsoft Powerpoint, you'll sing along to the familiar theme songs of the television gameshow while testing your knowledge of the faith. Create teams or play individually. Even set up a laptop and projector screen to host this game at Youth Night or Retreats with popcorn and sleeping bags!
The questions range in difficulty and topics include: The Saints, Art & Architecture, Music & Hymnology, The Bible, Faith & Traditions, Miracles...plus more!

    Click here to download this file from our Orthodox Scribd Group or better yet please e-mail eleniemarie@gmail.com for the most accurate Powerpoint layout since it's distorting quite a bit thru the web. Best results have been had by downloading and opening it in Powerpoint itself.

    This activity is also very adaptable for local traditions, languages, levels of difficulty, etc. Hope you enjoy it~

    Tuesday, January 1, 2019

    The "Orthodox Kids Journal Project"

    NEW: Introducing a free weekly curriculum to create Orthodox Christian Kids Journals about our  faith! Each week, come back to this website and download the handout to print yourselves.

    The handouts cover a topic from the Church year including quotes, miracle stories, maps, troparions, icons and Orthodox art.

    As we discuss the components of the lesson, students are actively listening while they color, cut, and glue a memorable resource to keep for the rest of their lives! Often, students contribute stories they have heard, or if they have that particular Saints' icon at home, or if they have ever venerated a relic, traveled to that country etc. This method proves to be a wonderful tool to create lasting beauty as students develop a greater understanding for the Orthodox Church year in the midst of open dialogue.

    Join with us and share! CLICK HERE

    Here are the files currently available:

    Monday, December 17, 2018

    Orthodox Handout Lesson for Christmas

    For our 'Orthodox Kids Journals,' (see this post) we will be adding the great feast of Christmas by using this handout. Join with us to study the Prophecies! Cut and glue an Orthodox Jesse Tree icon with the Mother of God bearing "the Light that sprang forth from the Tree of Jesse" along with a few coloring graphics and Bible memory quotes.

    The handouts can be downloaded for free here:
    and on GoogleDocs here

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    Christmas Worksheet

    Here is an Orthodox Christian Worksheet and Lesson on the Nativity that includes a bit of theology we often overlook. Although it might be for older ones, I hope it offers details that the younger ones can comprehend as well.

    Click here for the PDF Lesson available at the Orthodox Christian Scribd Group.

    Wishing you and your families a blessed Nativity ~

    Monday, December 3, 2018

    Candy Cane Hunt

    Try a "Candy Cane Hunt" with your families, friends, or parishes before Christmas this year. You can print out tags to wrap around each cane if you like with a short spiritual poem.

    We usually have adults hide the candy canes off fences, tree branches, under low bushes and parking lot car mirrors then dismiss the youngest kids first, giving them a head start to gather candy for their brown lunch bags!

    It's a great way to get out energy after the Divine Liturgy or during the days home from school!

    Friday, November 30, 2018

    Christmas Movie - The Star

    Every holy-day season it seems Hollywood introduces a film to smear the true Christmas story and our holy Orthodox tradition with jokes, animation, wrongful depiction and false ideas of the persons of Jesus Christ, Mary, the Magi, etc. Last year (2017), the movie was called "The Star." 

    I am convinced that when we "lighten up" and use humor for holy things the end is not entertainment, but a desensitization to holiness and destruction of true faith. It could be otherwise called blasphemy. They have put words into the onscreen mouths of individuals that never spoke them. And what children see.....children believe...
    The Star

    Alternatively, what children don't see....children will use their imagination to bridge the gap, for example, between what they see in an icon and the story they hear from the Gospel. Who today is explaining that Joseph was an honorable widow of 80 years and not the young strapping boyfriend to the most pure Virgin Theotokos?  (Buy this book here)

    Therefore, here are a few Orthodox Christian videos from Youtube that I do promote, not for language as children look beyond words, but for the Orthodox graphics:




    Lastly, if you do use video playlists to cast quality Orthodox programs to your TV, here is a playlist I have compiled over the years. I welcome you to send me any additions to review. Thanks be to God for all things, and may He bless the diligent workers in His vineyard who try to produce accurate and uplifting videos.

    Sunday, November 18, 2018

    Christmas Bible Verse Craft

    1. God is with us (Matthew 1:23)
    2. All the Earth worships Thee (Psalm 66:4)
    3.  His name shall endure forever (Psalm 72: 17)
    4. He is our God, the God of salvation (Psalm 68:20)
    5. There shall come a Star out of Jacob (Numbers 24:17)
    6. He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:20-21)
    7. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given (Isaiah 9:6)
    8. He said, “Thou art My Son; on this day have I begotten Thee” (Psalm 2:7)
    9. We have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him (Matthew 2:2)
    10. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger (Luke 2:12)
    11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11)
    12. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)
    13. The Angels cried out, Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:14) 
    14. He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
    15.  Amen.

    Print these 15 versus from the Bible out on different colors of paper, or at a minimal on green construction paper. Cut them into strips with a paper cutter, trim the lengths, and ask your children or teens to glue them into the Christmas story tree to white or blue paper. If you have younger ones, you could always number the phrases, but even if the order gets rearranged, it still works. Have fun learning holy scripture! To download the PDF file, click here:

    Wednesday, November 14, 2018

    Root of Jesse Tree: Christmas Activity

    The sayings of the prophets are now fulfilled!

    Use this study to learn the prophecies of the Old Testament with your children and teenagers. (Download the free printable PDF file here, in color or black/white.) All verses are weaved into the hymns of the Orthodox Church and chanted during the Christmas services. The richness and depth of the season is remarkable!
         Complete this "Root of Jesse Tree" by first gluing the Mother of God in place, and adding a prophet as you study them with the verses below. The tradition of this icon can often be found with an image of Jesse reclining at the bottom of the icon as the root - the Mother of God becomes the "rod" who springs forth the "fruit" who is Christ (2nd century Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons, St Ambrose of Milan, and 8th c St Cosmas)

    Here are the memory verses:
    • A shoot will come forth from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. ( Isaiah 11:1)
    • Her womb was foreshadowed by the burning bush that was not consumed  (Exodus 3:2)
    • The Lord has created a new thing upon the earth: A woman shall compass a man (Jeremiah 31:22)
    •  Lord, the God of Israel has entered through the closed gate and it shall remain shut. (Ezekiel 44:2)
    •  Zion is our mother. a man shall say; and such a man was born in her: and the Most High Himself hath established her. (Psalm 87:5 David)
    • For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given (Isaiah 9:6)
    • Therefore my Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the concealed one shall conceive and bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel (Isa 7:14)

    Discuss the symbolism & titles of Mary in the items that each Prophet carries:

    Jacob: the Ladder (Genesis 28:12)
    King David: the Ark of salvation
    Aaron: the Rod/staff that budded fruit
    Isaiah:  the Staff/Whip (10:26, 36:6)
    Daniel: the Mount (2:35, 2:45)
    Gideon: the Rock (Judges 6:20)
    Moses: the Burning bush
    Soloman: the Veil of the Temple 
    Ezekiel: Gate of Life (Ezekiel 44:3) expressed Four Gospels (explained)

    Zachariah: the Lampstand (chapter 4)

    Read more excellent quotes of the Fathers here: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Root_of_Jesse

    Christmas Crossword


    Click on the crossword puzzle
    to the right for a little
    Christmas trivia!
    Located for free download here.

    Hopefully, it will be challenging
    for parents and kids of all ages.

    "Make ready, O Bethlehem:
    let the manger be prepared,
    let the cave show its welcome. The truth has come, the shadow has passed away..."

    Sticheron at the Royal Hours
    by St Sophronius of Jerusalem

    Friday, November 9, 2018

    Teen Lesson for Christmas - Scavenger Hunt

    In response to those of you who asked for more teen resources, here is a lesson that I believe our teens are capable of grasping. Often, we don't give them enough substance - so get ready to challenge them!

    Using the text "On the Incarnation" by Saint Athanasios, you can lead your group to a deeper understanding of why God needed to come in what we celebrate as the feast of the Nativity. By drawing out important quotes and asking the right questions, we can essentially tackle the messages of creation, salvation, and theosis with them.

    If you so choose,
    make a scavenger hunt of these hidden quotes from the lesson plan alone to lead them through the lesson!  Cut in strips, and hide them around your Church - taking them from places like where we enter our spiritual journey (the door) to where we find refreshing drink (the water fountain) to a reflection in the mirror to better see mankind's position to God. Regroup at the end to compile and discuss the quotes by gluing them in order to a larger poster.

    I've broken this down into three possible sections for the month of December.
    This can be used at a retreat or over three consecutive Sundays.

    • Did God need to become man?  (CREATION)
    • How could God act to save us?  (SALVATION)
    • Why can man now become god or god-like? (THEOSIS)
    To read and print this Lesson Plan "On the Incarnation" in a PDF format  click here: or visit http://www.scribd.com/doc/74236030.

    If you have feedback, additions, corrections or comments, feel free to send them. As always, my work is in progress with room for improvement. As you teach this lesson, you may find other topics arise which will be helpful to share.

    Also, don't forget about the previously posted "WHY CHRISTMAS" worksheet located at this link.

    "May it be blessed"

    Thursday, November 1, 2018

    40 Days of Christmas Craft

    Each year, we begin decorating our home on November 15, as we begin the 40 day fast for Christmas. It's beneficial for all to begin seeing the transformation around us and within us. 
    Here are the 40 days in icons. We're aiming to cut them out, and create an ornament for each day until Christmas. If you follow the old calendar, I can post January as well.

    Enhance this activity by chanting the troparion for each day, or paste a short story from the Saints' life on the backside of each ornament.

    At this link, many Orthodox ornaments are sold, and you can get a few ideas: http://www.easterngiftshop.com/Category/CO

    Paste each icon in the center of a star or snowflake if you wish!  gold star

    After you're finished, that's forty ornaments! Plenty to fill a tree!

    Wednesday, September 5, 2018

    Orthodox APP Android

    There are a lot of apps available today, but none has proved to be more helpful for the souls in our family that this one: ORTHODOX SYNAXARION   (click the link to the left ) I somehow found it while searching GREEK APPS and it has become our custom to drive to school, or conclude our morning prayers by listening to the chanted troparions with icons of the Saints celebrated each day. The story of the Saint of the day is included, and words of the troparion as well. You can easily change the date, find extensive collection of prayers. There are even audio files of the PSALMS to play and texts from the Canons for many popular Saints. You simply download this app, and press play! It's that easy!

    We have used this app to look up dates for feastdays, we also have played AGNE PARTHENE (the popular hymn by St Nektarios) that is an audio file to put our 4th child to sleep since he was born two years ago! It has been an invaluable resource to us !!!

    It doesn't matter which language you pray in because the actual soul doesn't have a language! One can be praying without understanding! The soul worships God without words!

    I pray that those who created it will be blessed abundantly!

    Tuesday, June 26, 2018

    Icon Coloring Booklet

    I have been meaning for some time to share this excellent
    resourse for you and your parishes or families available on AMAZON here. The format is a small black and white coloring booklet that can be used for quiet sit-still reflection time, or even a daily challenge to remember the quotes. Sometimes, we even test each other by playing "Name that Quote" as in, who said it?

    Many thanks to the very talented individuals , C. Gann (Author), A. Holt (Author), M. Adams who have collaborated to offer this resource to others.  

    May God bless you!

    Sunday, June 3, 2018

    12 Apostles Activity

    For the 'Apostles fast' in the Orthodox Church, and here's an activity to assemble the icon day by day until the feast on June 29/30. On the first day, the children will cut out and glue the icon of Christ in the center of the Tree, learning the memory verse, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." from John 15:5. Each day(s) to follow, focus on one Apostle at a time, reading their life, learning their experiences and placing them on the icon. Each has a troparion as well to chant!

    Click here to download the smaller icons

    Click here for the tree document. 

    Once the tree is colored by the children, it can be laminated, along with the icons.  We have placed velcro on the backsides, and the children re-attach the icons each year during the fasting period. 

    Saints Peter & Paul celebrated on June 29 (fast ends)

    Synaxis of the Twelve Holy Apostles, celebrated June 30: Peter, Andrew, James & John the sons of Zebedee, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Jude(Thaddaeus) the brother of James, Simon & Matthias

    Purchase the book "The Lives of the Holy Apostles" here from the Holy Apostles Convent in Colorado

    Teaching Points:
    1. The "Apostle" - The term "apostle" ("apostolos" in Greek; a derivative from "apostellein", meaning "to send") signifies a special mission or "one who is sent."
    2. Why Christ chose 12? We read from Mark 3: 14,15
    "He ordained twelve that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach and to have power to heal sickness and to cast out devils." Twelve was the number of the twelve sons of Jacob who later became the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel.  After Pentecost, Christ’s 12 disciples became the leaders of the “new Israel.” The number 12 was considered so important that very shortly after the falling of Judas Iscariot, the remaining 11 voted in a new Apostle by the name Matthias, so that there would be 12 once again

    3. Why are they men? A symbol of the ordained priesthood of men and of Christ's own gender, however, remembering that later on the Church honors other female Saints with the title "Equal-to-the Apostles," without showing any discrimination in gender, rather only designated roles.

    4. What they each hold? Notice the scrolls from the icon of Pentecost, which the figure "Kosmas" holds representing the people of the world living in darkness and sin, and involved in pagan worship. The scrolls represent the teaching of the Apostles of the Holy Gospel which they carried as a message  to all parts of the world. Try to find the Evangelists, who hold an open Gospel book, or Saint Paul who holds a collection of letters.

    5. How the Tree extends? The Apostles organized the converts and formed what we know today to be the One, Holy, Apostolic Orthodox Church, who has kept the Holy Tradition of Apostolic succession. In other words, each and every ordained priest of the Orthodox Church can trace his authority back to one of the Apostles, through each Bishop and Patriarch. This continuation is nothing short of a miracle of the Holy Spirit and of Christ's promise. 

    Today, every baptized Orthodox Christian has been grafted into this Tree, as Saint Paul spoke of in
    the book of Romans, chapter 11, " If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,..."
    Gigi Baba Shadid | Fruits of the Spirit

    SONG activity:  If you are able, try learning the Troparion for the feast. Another fun idea to help learn the names of the disciples by heart, is from the CD by Khouria Gigi   TRACK 9. It's a family favorite of ours!
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