"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

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Calling All Witnesses

“Therefore I will be brought to trial before you again, says the Lord; and I will be brought to trial before your children's children." (Jeremiah)

An excellent activity to introduce our children and teenagers to the lives of the Orthodox Christian Martyrs is through a mock trial. This activity is one they'll never forget! Read together a few examples, like the story of the 40Martyrs of Sebaste, the stoning of St Stephen the first-martyr, or the fierce persecutions initiated by the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, where eyewitnesses describe the trial of a group of Christians in a town in North Africa. Of particular interest in this final example are the testimonies of two Christian martyrs, Saturninus and his son Felix, who defend their participation in readings from Holy Scripture and the Eucharist. (A.D. 304)

Assign Characters
• Judge (parent or adult)
• The Accused
• Defense Lawyers
• Prosecutors
• Witnesses to be called to stand
• Jurors (3-4)
• Court Reporter to announce case
• Audience

One of your friends/siblings is on trial and is accused of being a Christian during a time when Christianity was illegal. What evidence will prove that he/she is a believer, what evidence will be used against her/him? For example, has someone witnessed this person serve in the altar, make the sign of the cross, or light a candle? How can you help to defend your friend? What could be the consequences if your friend is convicted? Who makes the ultimate decision? Is there another chance?

Outline of Trial
1. Bring Session to order
2. Opening argument from both sides
3. Call first witness to stand
4. First questioning, Cross Examination, Rebuttal
5. Call next witness, repeat…
6. Presentation of evidence
7. Final witness & questioning
8. Call “The Accused” to the stand
9. Closing argument
10. Jury is dismissed
11. Judge’s deliberation
12. Sentencing

Wrap up the activity by discussing the trial. How did the different characters feel?What was most difficult? Was the final ruling just? (As the judge, you can make explain that often clients ask for justice - but what they really want is mercy. However, mercy is something a court has no right to give them. The only One who has the right to give mercy is God.) Lastly, discuss the miracles that our Lord has worked through the faith of the Christian Martyrs and through their relics. Look together at various icons that contain smaller martyrdom scenes.

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