"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

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Orthodox Africa



This brings me so much joy! It doesn't matter what language you speak, the Truth of our Lord is joyously proclaimed in Africa and it convicts our souls to ALWAYS REJOICE in HIM!

In times such as this COVID-19 let us Orthodox Christians embrace what we have with much gratitude. I hope your families and the children  in your parishes and communities enjoy this as much as we did +

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rU7E2prKf8

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Ascension Orthodox Worksheet

Download and print this worksheet for the upcoming feast of the Ascension of Christ.
We will discuss how Christ appeared for the forty day period after Pascha, but at different times in different ways. It is a great opportunity to also identify the Apostles with their names and countries to which they preached. This of course, if the post-Pascha story, where the disciples go out into the world as the WITNESSES of Christ and His Resurrection.

This worksheet is our 27th entry in our Orthodox Journal Project which can be found here along with all of the documents needed to participate!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

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!

Friday, May 1, 2020

Preparing for Pentecost


Christ is Risen! But then what?
The story continues of course, with more exciting details and events to engage our young listeners. Christ spends the next 40 days displaying His physical Resurrection. He appears in the upper room to the Apostles twice when the doors are sealed shut, granting them peace. He is seen along the road to Emmaus, but unrecognizable to Luke and Cleopa, until He breaks bread with them and is known essentially in the Eucharist (see the lesson plan here). Then at the fortieth day on Mt Olivet the disciples with the Mother of God, stand in awe as Christ is taken up before their own very eyes into the sky with the angels at His side on His return to the Father (The Ascension). What could possibly come next for the followers of Christ.....they must wait ten more days!

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you”

Click this link for the printable lesson: Pentecost Worksheet & Kneeling Prayers

The great feast of Holy Pentecost- "peninta" or 50 days after the Resurrection

Be sure to connect for your young people the Old Testament story of the Tower of Babel. They'll probably remember well that God "mixed up" the languages to stop the wicked plans of the people. Now, in the story of Pentecost, God is doing the opposite. He sent the gift of languages, for this one time purpose, to spread the good plan of His salvation to the whole world.

..."Grant to my thoughts the Spirit of your wisdom, to my folly the Spirit of understanding, with the Spirit of your fear overshadow my deeds. Renew a right Spirit within my inward parts and make firm the instability of my mind with the sovereign Spirit, so that guided each day by your good Spirit to what is profitable, I may be found worthy to do your commandments and always keep in mind your Coming, which searches out all that we have done..."

*** Print the kneeling prayers with you on Pentecost Sunday  ***

Pentecost Coloring Icon

The 12 disciples are seen in the icon of Pentecost gathered together waiting for the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit. The hymns of the Orthodox Church remind us that the Apostles are anticipating this moment with joy and gladness.  "I am with you, no one can be against you." (Kontakion of the feast of the holy Ascension)
Often, kids ask who is this man depicted in a crown, and what is he holding? He is the figure of the whole world, "O Kosmos"and he bears the twelve scrolls signifying the message of God's salvation that will go to all the lands through the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ. Some of the Apostles will write the Gospel account. Find them with your children Sts Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the icon as they hold Gospel books. The other Apostles will write letters to be sent to the first Christian Churches, thereby holding scrolls in the icon.
Lastly, identify the symbolism of the Holy Spirit which descends as tongues of fire upon each head, granting the disciples the ability to speak in a language unknown to them for the benefit of those who heard the teaching. Remember, in Scripture we read how the sound came in like a rushing wind from heaven, uniting both what is above and what is on Earth!

The miracle of the feast of Pentecost was for a designated purpose. The Orthodox Christian Church does not believe in the belief of "speaking of tongues" in an unintelligible babbling that is practiced today in some communities, and sees this as possible demonic activity with another spirit, but not the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Pascha Poem & Orthodox Craft Idea

How does one sum up the great feast of Pascha easily for kids?

With a long white piece of paper, we made three folds and created our very own accordion Pascha card with original poem to accompany the Passion and Resurrection of Christ icons cut out from Orthodox catalogs. This simple craft turned out to be a nice way to reinforce the meaning behind each day for young and old. Especially for godchildren and penpals far away, it helps us stay in touch spiritually since we will not be able to celebrate together. Here are the words to our poem:

  1. To Christ our God, Who raised Lazarus from the dead...
  2. You traveled to Jerusalem with the people you led...
  3. Teaching all to be servants rather than trying to get ahead...
  4. Your Body and Blood for eternity us you fed...
  5. Then nailed to the Cross, You conquered death for three days dead...
  6. As we wait to proclaim with our eggs dyed red...
  7. "I am the Resurrection and the Life,
      he who believes in me shall never die." Jesus said.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Pascha and Covid-19

A wise Gerontissa today passes on this wisdom for our times...

"This Pascha will be the same as the Pascha of 33 AD. Christ alone prayed in Gethsemane (we slept), alone He experienced the sufferings and slanders (we denied Him), alone He ascended Golgotha ​​and the Cross (we watched from afar), He was resurrected behind closed doors with the "Police" outside the sealed tomb (we were scattered), he visited us in our house Resurrected behind closed doors (out of fear) and brought us the hope of the Resurrection! Anyone who doubts that the same thing will happen this year is "mistakenly mistaken" .... Blessed Holy Week and Blessed Resurrection !!!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Songs for Lazarus Kalanta in English

In many parts of Orthodox Christian Greece- the highly anticipated Saturday of Lazarus is celebrated with great joy. There are festivities of songs, costumes, and fish as the Church heralds the Resurrection of Lazarus as a foretaste of Pascha and our very own Resurrection after death. For those that doubt life after death and who dismiss this reality by saying it happened to Christ because He is God but will not to us since we are man...our Lord gives this miracle...what better way to concretely display Christ's power over death and His will for all of us "Lazaruses"...join in below....  


"Lazarus has come, and so have the palms,
Sunday of the Palms, and Holy week has come!
Wake up Lazarus and do not sleep,
Your day has come and your joy now to reap!

Where o Lazarus?
Where were you hiding?
Down with the deceased,
Like one who is dying?"........


 (Sung to this melody
https://youtu.be/oSYKJvWabbc)

+ + +

Καλή Ανάσταση!  A good Resurrection to all!
Ήρθε ο Λάζαρος, ήρθαν τα Βάγια,
ήρθε των Βαγιών η εβδομάδα.
Ξύπνα Λάζαρε και μην κοιμάσαι,
ήρθε η μέρα σου και η χαρά σου.






Πού ήσουν Λάζαρε; Πού ήσουν κρυμμένος;
Κάτω στους νεκρούς, σαν πεθαμένος.
Δε μου φέρνετε, λίγο νεράκι,
που 'ν' το στόμα μου πικρό φαρμάκι.
Δε μου φέρνετε λίγο λεμόνι,
Που 'ν' το στόμα μου, σαν περιβόλι.

Πηγή: https://www.sansimera.gr/articles/584/174

© SanSimera.gr

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A Soul Healed through Sickness

A tremendous Orthodox Christian resource on illness in English is available now at www.newromepress.com

"Today, despite the remarkable progress of medical science, the number of people who are ill is increasing and new diseases and illnesses continue to make their appearance. Almost every family has previously experienced or is currently going through the pain and ordeal of an illness and therefore it can be helpful to examine the causes of illness and how they may be faced spiritually so that those who so suffer may reap some benefit for their souls. As we shall see, illness, whether it is due to sin or to some other cause, is a means by which the soul can be healed and purified."

Canon for a Sick Child & Understanding Sickness

As parents and youth workers, this small Orthodox Canon empowers us 
by giving us the words to offer to our Lord during trials of sickness. I wish I could make the whole things available online for free, especially during recent viruses. Here's a sample, and I encourage you to purchase it from any of the several vendors online. (It is published by St. Paisios Monastery in Arizona with the blessing of the Serbian Hierarch.) 

++++++++   Canticle One  +++++++++

O Lord, show the power of Thy mercy!

O Lord, Thou Who arranges all for the salvation of mankind, receive my humble prayer for this child (name) who is being tried by illness and heal him (her), for Thou dost know his (her) sufferings. Permit him (her) not to suffer, O Lord, but raise him (her) quickly from this illness,
for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind.


O Lord, show the power of Thy mercy!


O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, how great is the multitude of those whom Thou hast healed. The blind have obtained their sight, the deaf have received their hearing, the dumb have begun to speak, the lame have walked. Who has run to Thy help and not received healing?
We pray unto Thee: O Lord, heal this child who is suffering.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Orthodox Jeopardy

This season of Lent 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~

    Thursday, March 19, 2020

    Pascha Handwriting



    Give a try at writing a new language! Ask your students to write "Christ is Risen" with the appropriate responses. Print the letters inside the white spaces of the following foreign languages inside this beautiful illustration: Greek at the top, then Arabic, English and Slavonic. It's also a fantastic design for your Pascha basket covers if you know how to cross stitch or screenprint.


    Kalo Pascha to your families!

    Wednesday, March 18, 2020

    Pascha Basket

    If you are looking for ways to keep "Christ" in your celebration of Easter, consider making an Orthodox Pascha Basket instead of the typical egg & candy overload! Each of the following traditional foods has a symbolic and spiritual significance.

    We focus on saying "Pascha" which encompasses our spiritual journey
    to the Resurrection of Christ, and is our "passage" from the Hebrew "pesche, or passover from death to life." 

     Each year, the Church follows the same sequence of events - and one can't happen without the next. I encourage you not to skip right to the Resurrection without going thru the Cross. Living each component in correct Orthodox theology is truly "Orthobiosi"  

    ...Christ raising Lazarus, Christ's Entry to Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), Christ's arrival to those anticipating Him (Bridegroom) the Passover (Christ's Mystical Last Supper on Holy Thursday and His washing of the disciples feet) His betrayal by Judas arrest and judgement, the Crucifixion, burial and tomb, all culminating at the glorious Resurrection of our Lord.



    FAMILY BASKET INGREDIENTS: 

    Many parishes will bless the baskets all together after the Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning. Ask your local priest to try this custom!
    • a yeast bread,
    • a bitter herb
    • wine, 
    • cheese, meat, butter, salt, and a red egg. 
    • Sweet bread is always included, leavened with yeast. This is a symbol of the New Covenant; the Jews made unleavened bread, and we, the children of the new covenant, make leavened bread. Kulich is the traditional Russian bread, and Tsourekia is the traditional Greek braided bread. The braided form of this bread is a display of the Trinity  - 3 in 1. 
    • The bitter herb, often horseradish or garlic, serves as a reminder of the first Passover (horseradish is eaten as a traditional part of the original Passover meal) and of the bitter sufferings which Christ endured for our sake. Sometimes the herb is colored red with beets, symbolizing the Blood of Christ. The bitter herb is also to bring to mind the Jews’ 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, or our 40 days of the fast. 
    • Wine, cheese, and butter are figurative of all the good things of life, and remind us of the earthly gifts that come from God. Meat is included in remembrance of the sacrifice of the Old Testament Passover, which has been replaced by Christ, the New Passover and Lamb of God. (slim jims, beef jerky, salami can be fun finger food) 
    • Salt serves as a reminder to us that we are “the salt of the earth.” 
    • The red egg, which we crack,  is likened to the tomb from which Christ arose. This is because of the miracle of new life which comes from the egg, just as Christ miraculously came forth from the tomb, shattering the bonds of sin. Of course, red for His blood shed for us, and the miracle from St Maria Magdalane when the egg in her hand miraculously turned red as she proclaimed "Christ is Risen" to the non-believing Emperor.

    Many Orthodox Christians also cover their basket with a Pascha basket cover.

    Here and here  are some more links on Pascha Baskets.

    Read here for information concerning how the Orthodox Christian tradition of  Pascha baskets got started.http://www.iarelative.com/easter/bcover.htm


    Holy Week Kids Orthodox Chart

    Download for free and print this helpful lesson in chart format HERE to remind your students about each day of Holy Week in the Orthodox Church. The PDF file is filled with icons and a short description that is easily understood to enrich your experience to Pascha!

    The second page includes my original Pascha Poem, along with
    the Greek text to Xristos Anesti.

    Holy Monday- Joseph
    Holy Tuesday- Ten Virgins
    Holy Weds - Betrayal of Judas
    Holy Thurs - Mystical Supper
    Holy Friday- Crucifixion
    Holy Saturday- Empty Tomb
    Holy Sunday - Resurrection of Christ

    Join our Orthodox Kids Journal Project. All files are located here.

    Wishing you and your families a blessed Pascha 2019!



    Friday, March 13, 2020

    Great Lent Curriculum

    Here is a lesson plan chart for Orthodox Great Lent. The lessons are designed for each Sunday leading up to Holy Week.
        
    Each session will include either a craft, coloring page, memory words, activity or hymn to chant. Every child will create necklace name tags on the first day, and decorate folders with fasteners inside that will become their workbooks. They only take home their craft each Sunday, as I will hold on to their folders until the end and add pages for Holy Week with Pascha.
         
    So far, I'm really looking forward to creating the "Family Icon Tree's" and Mummy Wraps with toilet paper for the raising of Saint Lazarus! If you have other ideas I can include, please pass them along! I'll be converting this whole chart to Greek as well if anyone needs that.

    Stay tuned for a follow-up PDF and SCRIBD link to download the workbook pages. Workbook Here

    UPDATE: I've recently added a sentence scramble activity for the older ones in the group. Basically, seal envelopes with words from at least two memory phrases and ask the kids to work in groups to put the phrase together. This will work well on the Sunday of St John Climacus.

    Sunday, March 8, 2020

    Great Lent for Kids Worksheets

    Download these two curriculum worksheets here for your students to learn more about Great Lent in the Orthodox Christian Church. The graphics in this lesson include Lady Sarakosti with her poem in Greek and English as well as a Lenten word search and calendar of the weeks to follow the main themes towards Pascha. Kids will be engaged to color, cut and glue as they grow in their faith.

    These files are also recommended for our Orthodox Kids Journal Project located here.
    This is a free ongoing activity that follows the Church year. A description of the project and photos can be found here

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me.

    Thursday, February 27, 2020

    Great Lent Menu - Vegan Fasting

    For the 40 day fast this year as Orthodox Christians, we'll try following a pre-planned menu to make life a bit more organized. This also allows someone else to do the grocery shopping for the week! I've included vegan lunch ideas that hopefully your kids will like as much as ours do! Please share your ideas in the comments. To follow a stricter budget, we make a large pot of soup for several days.


    Fasting in the Orthodox Church for us means having foods on hand that are quick & vegan so we fill the pantry with only these options!

    The 2nd and 4th weeks can be similar with fish added for the feast of the Annunciation. We'll trade out a few weeknight meals with Falafel, Green Beans Greek Style, Lentil Meat Loaf and Grilled Portabella Burgers.



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