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The Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education (AODCE) supports church school directors, teachers, parents, and all who participate in the work of Christian education on the local level. Read more. 

NOTE: Dr. Maria C. Khoury, author of Christina Goes to the Holy Land, will be in Miami from March 19 to March 31 and in the Boston area from approximately April 23 to May 27, 2015. She will be available for book signings and/or discussions about the Christian community in the Holy Land. If your church or organization is interested in hosting a book signing or program, please contact Dr. Khoury directly at khourymaria@hotmail.com. For additional information, go to www.antiochian.org/category/article-topics/letters-holy-land.

 

FEATURED EVENT

Teaching Pictures for Great Lent and Pascha

As we approach Holy Week and Pascha, look into providing the beautiful Great Lent and Pascha Teaching Pics for the use of your teachers. Twenty seasonal cards are included in the resource package published by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC). The 8.5 x 11 inch cards have a photograph on the front, and explanatory text on the back with ideas for lesson activities. Our Lenten and Paschal services are so beautiful and rich in symbolism but often the children cannot see what is occurring, and there is not a way to discuss the action of the priest. The cards allow them to take their time exploring, with your guidance, how the pivotal story of our faith has been passed down to us, not in word alone, but in true Eastern tradition, in symbolism and beauty. Let them be silent with the cards and then recall any memories of the services, and any feelings. It is critical to reflect regularly with the children on how the beauty of Orthodoxy serves as a path to God.

Great Lent and Pascha. "Great and Holy Friday—Vespers—Taking Down the Body of Christ"

 If you already have Teaching Pics in your supply closet, it is time to find them and distribute them to your staff. If you do not, they can be purchased from the OCEC, (800) 464-2744.

For a review of this resource, please visit www.antiochian.org/christianeducation/teachingpics.

 

FEATURED ARTICLE FOR DIRECTORS

On the New Martyrs of the Middle East: An Orthodox Christian View

by His Grace Bishop Thomas (Joseph), Ed.D.

Beloved in Christ,

Last weekend I visited parishes and college students in the Baltimore, MD area. While I was there, Orthodox clergy and faithful asked that I offer a response to what's going on in the Middle East. Attached is my response. Special thanks to Fr Andrew Damick for his contribution to what you'll read here.

To introduce this, I'll simply ask you to pray "for the peace of the whole world, the good estate of the Holy Churches of God, and the union of all men."

In recent months, images and stories of Christians being killed for their faith in the Middle East have flooded our news sources and dominated our social media. We see beheadings and shootings, sometimes available as gruesome videos on the Internet that are intended by their makers to inspire some to join their cause and others to cower in fear. We have seen bishops kidnapped, priests shot in the street as they ministered to the suffering, and innocents lined up and had their heads sawn off with knives.

Christians are not the only ones suffering in the Middle East—Muslims, Druze, Yazidis and others are also being targeted by the armies of takfirism. They are also dying for their faith, and even though we Christians do not share their religion with them, we still suffer with them in solidarity, because Christ still died and rose from the dead for them, even if they do not believe it.

FEATURED ARTICLE FOR TEACHERS 

Missing Out on God

by Kristina Wenger

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal (Mt. 6:19)

In this age in the United States of America (and, indeed, throughout the world), the acquisition of "stuff" is what many people embrace as their goal for life. With the forthcoming holiday season, the fight-to-convince-everyone-to-acquire-more-stuff will be intensifying all around us. But is more stuff really what we or the children in our care (such as our Church School students) need?

FEATURED ARTICLE FOR PARENTS 

Brief Description of Events and Services of Holy Week

© Tudor Antonel Adrian, Dreamstime.com© Tudor Antonel Adrian, Dreamstime.comTo track the events, use Map 6 of the Orthodox Study Bible 
Download PDF version

Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday

Saturday: Jesus was found in Jericho and asked to come to the house of Lazarus who was sick. He traveled to see Lazarus in Bethany, but his sisters told Him it was too late, Lazarus was dead. The shortest, and one of the most poignant verses in the New Testament comes from this episode, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Then He went to the tomb, and said with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”

Sunday: The miraculous resurrection of Lazarus caused crowds to gather for the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem the next day.

The solemn days of Holy Week are preceded by two joyous days. The first commemorates the day Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. On Palm Sunday, Jesus is acknowledged and acclaimed as the Messiah, the King, and Redeemer of Israel. With palm branches in our hands, we identify with the people of Jerusalem. Together with them, we greet Christ and confess Him to be our King.