ORTHODOX EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE FAITH OF OUR FATHERS
In the Orthodox Church, our journey to understanding our faith begins before we learn to read or write. As children, we are taught the unchanging faith handed down to us by Jesus Christ Himself and his Apostles. It’s a lesson we never stop learning, no matter our age. And as we grow older, we pray our deeper understanding will lead to a fullness of the faith within us.
From an early age, Orthodox children are schooled in the ways to worship in our church. They are taught how to bless themselves; how to light candles and venerate Holy Icons that are the windows to Heaven; how to pray and fast, and receive Holy Communion. When they’re old enough to understand, they learn how to confess their sins to seek forgiveness, and how to forgive others. As they mature and deal with issues of peer pressure, ethics, and relationships, they are taught how to confront conformity, challenges, and conflict through the practices of their religious beliefs.
Our children at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church attend Sunday School from 8:50am until Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00. There are classes for every age and grade from pre-school through high school, and instructional material provided by our Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. Each year, the children adopt service projects to help those in need at home and abroad. They are taught how and why to tithe to their church and to give to the poor with a compassionate and cheerful heart.
ADULT SUNDAY CLASS
Our Orthodox Education does not end once a student graduates from high school. It continues with classes for adults. Both Orthodox and Non-Orthodox are always welcome at our Adult Sunday Class. Courses run from 8:50 – 10:00am on Sunday mornings, from September to May, in conjunction with the Church School calendar. Classes are designed to complement the religious education at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church offered by the clergy. Courses are presented in a power-point format.
Past topics have included the writings of the Church Apostolic Fathers, The Book of Revelation, The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus, Orthodox Ethics, Angels and their mission in the Church, Iconography and the Divine Liturgy. Our current topic focuses on asceticism for the Orthodox layperson.
THIS YEAR’S BOOK STUDY:
The Sunday Adult Class is held each Sunday morning in the Saint Joseph of Damascus Chapel at 9:00 AM. Everyone is welcome to attend!
This year we will be studying the book Know the Faith, by Rev. Fr. Michael Shanbour. It is published by Ancient Faith Publishing (2016). Please purchase a copy of the book or have one ordered through the bookstore. If anyone needs financial assistance for the book, please contact Fr. Michael or the Church Office.
BIBLE STUDY/FAMILY NIGHT
Life is so hectic, going in so many directions, it’s difficult for families and our church family to find time to dine together and spend precious moments talking with one another. Wednesday is Family night at church, designed to gather us all around the table for food and fellowship. It’s also the night our priest leads us in the study of the bible. The Orthodox Study Bible is the most comprehensive and faithful translation of the Word of God and it is the bible used at St. Nicholas.
Getting away…mind, body, and soul…in a different surrounding, apart from everyday distractions…that’s the goal of our retreats. We don’t drop out of life and remove ourselves from the living. But we draw inward and quiet ourselves so we can hear the Voice of God. Retreats to the Orthodox Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan, or to the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, to Mt. Athos in Greece, or simply to our St. Joseph Chapel in church…help us ponder, meditate, pray without ceasing like The Way of a Pilgrim.
It’s been said, “You can tell a lot about a person by the books they read.” You can tell a lot about our church by the books and icons you see on the shelves of our St. Haralambos Bookstore.
The Saint doesn’t have a great deal to do with books, but his is a great story to read: A miraculous life unto death, with an unfaltering faith in the face of one tortuous act after another, perpetrated against him by idol worshippers who would not believe in the Triune God. They could not break this holy man. He taunted them to give him their worst. They tried, but despite ripping off his flesh, spearing him and throwing him in a furnace, he was unfazed. He prayed. God saved. And so many came to the Lord when they witnessed the Hand of God on St. Haralambos.
In our bookstore at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, there are many stories of the Saints of the Church, books about the Mother of God, Orthodox Study Bibles with extensive footnotes from the writings of the Early Fathers, books that take you on a Journey to Orthodoxy and the Ancient Faith. There are icons which we call, “Windows to Heaven,” that reflect the Godliness of the people depicted as a reminder of how we should live our lives. There are prayer books and incense holders and crosses.
You’ll like our St. Haralambos Bookstore. Who doesn’t like a bookstore?
In the age of the computer, it was feared libraries would become extinct. But at St. Nicholas, our library is expanding. We’re building up our inventory and making books available to check out by parishioners. Members are also encouraged to donate their books when done reading so others can borrow them.