"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, March 18, 2019

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.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Lady Sarakosti Poem & Coloring for Great Lent




This year, we painted on food coloring before baking. Give it a try! 
POEM
Lady Sarakosti, is a custom from long ago,
Our yiayias (grandmothers) used to make her,
out of flour and H2O.

She wears a modest nun’s dress, with a cross upon her head,
silently without a mouth she prays,
to fast with fruits, nuts and bread.

Her feet teach us how to count,
the weeks of Lent are seven,
we cut one off each Saturday,
until Pascha and the Resurrection to heaven.




**If you make a better translation of the original Greek poem, please share it! This is also my version of a more Monastic Lady Sarakosti drawing with a prayer rope in hand and head veil**

Lady Sarakosti Recipe
2-2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2-2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon                            
water (as much as needed)        
* Not to be eaten! *

Combine flour, salt and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl and gradually add enough water to form a stiff, but flexible dough. Roll dough out to 1/2" thickness. With a sharp knife cut out the figure as shown above. Cut out two long narrow strips for arms and join at shoulders (wet surface to which arms will be applied). Make slits in dough for fingers.  Mark closed eyelids and noise with pointed object. Wipe entire figure down with a lightly dampened cloth to make shiny. Bake in moderate oven until golden.

Friday, March 8, 2019

St Mary Egypt Craft - Turn Life Around

The powerful story of repentance that we find in the life of Saint Mary of Egypt which was recorded by the monk Zossimos, can be a memorable one for teenagers and college students. For the younger children though that you might be working with, consider this Orthodox craft:

1. Color two images of Saint Mary of Egypt
The first, from her former life possibly with brighter clothing, youthful skin, etc
and the second after her years in the desert as an ascetic. I chose these two images because one depicts the humility needed to bring about repentance, and the second with hope and stronger faith, prepared to meet God at her death.

2. Cut the images out

3. Glue those images, back to back, with a popsicle stick in between

4. Write the word "METANOIA" (or REPENTANCE) on the sticks with the definition "Turn one's life around" on the reverse side.

As I retell the story, I'll ask the children to show me which side of her we're looking at. Then, we will literally, TURN HER LIFE AROUND, but rotating our sticks to see her as a transformed woman of God, one of the most memorable Saints of our Church.

For more inspiration from her story, here is an excellent sermon in video form:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC3tEQlqdGY&feature=youtu.be

Talking Points to Remember:

  • She left home at 12 years old, to a live a life of sinfulness in the city, one which would not bring her happiness, but emptiness and distance from God.
  •  When God prevented her entrance into the Church to venerate the Cross of Christ, it was a BIG WAKE UP CALL, to stop and look at herself as unworthy, and in need of healing.
  • She did not flee to the desert to punish herself, but TO FIND HERSELF, that is, the true self that God created her to be, beautiful in His eyes.
  • She departed for the desert without much, but had one important thing: faith in God that He would provide for her daily food and shelter for 47 years.
  • Lastly, the four miracles show us that she became transformed and pleasing to God: she had the gift of clairvoyance and knew Father Zossimas' name before he told her, she was seen elevated off the ground in prayer, she walked on water to cross the river to receive the Holy Eucharist, and lastly, the lion was sent by God to help bury her.

I suggest ending your lesson by reading together or silently this:



St Ephrem the Syrian, Spiritual Psalter, 120:
'How many times have I promised...'
I am unworthy to ask forgiveness for myself, O Lord, for many times have I promised to repent and proved myself a liar by not fulfilling my promise. Thou hast picked me up many times already, but every time I freely chose to fall again...If a righteous man can barely be saved, then where will I end up, I who am lawless and sinful? If the path that leads to life is strait and narrow, then how can I be vouchsafed such good things, I who live a life of luxury, indulging in my own pleasures and dissipation? But Thou, O Lord, my Saviour, Son of the true God, as Thou knowest and desirest it, by Thy grace alone, freely turn me away from the sin that abides in me and save me from ruin.

St Ephraim the Syrian resources
Quote from 120th 'Psalm' in St Ephraim's Spiritual Psalter by our Holy Father St Ephraim of Edessa, the Syrian; excerpted and arranged by Bishop Theophan the Recluse according to the manner of the psalter of the Old Testament.
 


Thursday, March 7, 2019

BINGO for Great Lent

Introducing a fun way to get your youth involved in service projects. On this BINGO card are listed 20 ideas for Great Lent that will enhance your spiritual journey to Pascha. Mix up the squares and distribute, or have each child draw from a bag to play. There are various ways to adjust this game, but the main idea is to establish 5 goals with your children to accomplish over the period of 40 plus days.

Here is the file posted on Scribd. If you would like the Word document to mix up the squares for different BINGO cards, just email me at eleniemarie@gmail.com.

Ask the students to complete their BINGO boards through activities outside of church, in daily life, and return their completed sheet to you for a "spiritual prize" I like to give Orthodox CD's, books, magnets, etc

Have fun, and please share other ideas for the squares by posting a comment.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

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 3, 2019

Canon of St Andrew for Kids


If you are feeling that the Great Fast snuck up on you this year, and you are hoping to get into the "zone" rather quickly give the Canon of St Andrew of Crete a try this week! Over the course of the first four days of the Great Fast, Great Compline is read in the evenings with a portion of the Great Penitential Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.  


The Canon is also read in its entirety on Wednesday evening of the 5th week so that we may approach the conclusion of the Great Fast again with a proper spirit.

You can access and download an overview handout on The Canon of St Andrew of Crete here  or for each days portion visit this link.

St. Andrew of Crete (c. 660-740) was born in Damascus. He became a monk at Mar Saba and served later at the Holy Sepulchre. Around 685, he was ordained a deacon at Hagia Sophia. He also ran a refuge that took in orphans and cared for the elderly. He ended his days as Archbishop of Gortyna, a position to which he was elevated in 692, on the island of Crete. He wrote homilies that display great oratorical skill, as well as formal public speeches later used in written form of the saints.


Wishing you and your loved ones the true spirit of repentance and forgiveness. 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Lent Word Search Activity



Click on the image to view and print this month's activity
Search horizontal, vertical, and diagonal to find all the words related to Great Lent and Holy Pascha. ~ Enjoy ~

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

4th Sunday of Great Lent Curriculum


This is an example of how I will compile our lessons from the Sundays of Great Lent. I regret not doing it sooner, but so many ideas came forth from actually teaching.
Click here to download the PDF for free: 4th Sunday of Great Lent Curriculum
May it be of some assistance to you next year! 

Please see the corresponding Great Lent Curriculum Chart and Great Lent Workbook containing the coloring icons.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome,
E-mail me if you prefer.

Monday, February 25, 2019

St Photini Samaritan Woman at the Well

Here you will find a worksheet to download for our Orthodox Christian Journal Project on a beloved Saint, Photini, the Samaritan Woman at the well whom the Orthodox Church commemorates on February 26th.

Remember, as you read the Gospel account, her story is
most important because it records Jesus Christ confessing Himself to be the Messiah for a Gentile, in particular.

Often, people outside the faith ask, "Well, where exactly does Christ say that He is God?" We can point to Matthew 11:11.

In her life, we find fertile ground to receive Christ and where the ground is ready, the seed will be planted to bear much fruit! She went on to be Equal-to-the-Apostles in her courage to proclaim Him to the world, as well as, ultimately a Great Martyr around the year 66 A.D.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

St John Baptist Journal Worksheet

Download and print this free worksheet to discuss the greatest and last prophet who walked on Earth! St John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus Christ our Lord and God, called out in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Messiah to come. As an infant, he narrowly escaped the rage of King Herod who slaughtered the babies in search for Jesus by fleeing to the desert with his mother, Elizabeth. His father, as we know, Zacharias was martyred in the Temple at the same time.

Often asked, why is St John the Baptist depicted with wings? Of course, as fully man, he was not an angel. However, his life was lived in imitation of the angels, with limited need for food in his strict fasting and full devotion to God's service. He heralded a great message to the people, which often is the role of the Angels as well as messengers.

Lastly, remember, the humility in which he stated, "That joy is mine, and it is now complete.  He must become greater; I must become less.” from the Gospel of St John 3:30.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Confession & Kite Day


Clean Monday is the very first Monday which begins Great Lent, and it is a quite somber day on the spiritual calendar. In Greece, it is customary for young and old to fly kites. Let's bring this wonderful custom here in America, possibly the day or two beforehand, with the following activity.

On the Sunday evening before we begin Great Lent, there is always held the Vespers of Forgiveness where each parishioner asks the priest and one another for forgiveness. It marks the beginning of a great journey in which we embark to clean our souls of the darkness built up from our sins. Consider gathering your youth (ages 2-18) and even their parents earlier that day, or the day before to set aside for Confession and Kite Flying!

The younger children can prepare and experience Confession as a group with the priest, who can speak with them openly about the topic of sin and all can kneel under the "epitrahelion" for the final absolution to conclude, whereas the older kids can prepare their confession ahead of time and meet with the priest one on one. As each group finishes, we all meet outside to hand out free kites and experience the "joy" of a soul released to soar, free and lightened from the burden of sin!

Here is my simplified Top 10 Preparation List http://orthodoxeducation.blogspot.de/2008/06/weight-of-our-sins.html 

Additional Resources :
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/pr_confession.aspx

Pamphlet with Questions for Preparation for Confession:
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/guide-to-confession.aspx

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

https://www.scribd.com/document/398416381/Page-16-ThreeHierarchs
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

https://www.scribd.com/doc/14024263/Orthodox-Christian-Icon-Coloring-Book

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:

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