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Welcome to the Orthodox Catechism Project, a resource focused on Orthodox Christian education and formation.

Throughout the history of Christianity, it has been the practice of the Church and individual families to pass down the teachings and saving message of Jesus Christ to each generation. In the United States and other parts of the world, part of this task has been formalized in the form of Sunday schools or church catechism classes. These organized efforts have often come to share a common methodology and approach within individual jurisdictions and traditions.

It has been generally recognized, that the first and possibly most important instruction of the faith occurs in the home by the parents or guardians, where foundations are established and teachings provided at church are supported. If the parents do not support what is taught at church, or do not show any interest, then as the saying goes, "It goes in one ear and out of the other" of the child. If the parents not only support what is being taught, but if the parents practice the faith with their children then the children learn the faith and grow up in Christ. If a parent is going to practice the piano or violin, to get their money's worth, then they should also practice the faith with their children so as to receive, along with their children, the heavenly inheritance which is "... Incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away..." (1 peter 1:3-5). The purpose of Sunday School is then to tutor the Faith and not to teach it. For this reason, there needs to exist catechism lessons which parents can teach their children at home.

Additionally, in extreme cases which are perhaps seldom noticed, some Orthodox Christians live in remote areas where they do not have access to a local parish. For these reasons a need also exists for catechism resources which can be used in a family setting. Such resources assist families in introducing or reinforcing basic teachings of our Orthodox Christian tradition. Whether strengthening lessons learned in an established parish program or sharing aspects of the Faith for the first time, it is important that individual families have ready access to necessary tools for use in their own homes.

Furthermore, not all parishes fit easily into established models of parish catechism programs. Specifically, in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver which covers nearly 1/3 of the continental United States, many parishes are isolated from one another by great geographic distances and are relatively small in size. These factors create the necessity for "one classroom school house" catechism programs, which have children of varying ages grouped together because there simply are not enough youth in the parish to form full classes for each individual grade. Subsequently, it is difficult for such parishes to utilize available curricula that are developed for a traditional K-12 structure. This situation obviously is not unique to the Metropolis of Denver.

The Orthodox Catechism Project was developed to address these needs, as well as to offer supplemental materials that can be incorporated into larger catechism programs. On the navigation bar above, you will find links that will lead to a complete listing of all lesson plans and a listing of lessons by general topic. This will be useful for those who are looking for materials on issues pertinent to their classes, but not covered in previously adopted curricula. Additionally, there are links to listings that correspond to an age/grade appropriate Scope and Sequence adapted and used with the permission of its creator, Phyllis Onest. With the ability to choose from the sessions included for each grade a teacher or director, in consultation with the parish priest, can create a full year curriculum that addresses recommended subjects for that particular age group. Lesson plans written as part of a series are found in their original context in the indicated links and, finally, all sessions are found in general age ranges for those who are interested in locating individual sessions for various groups. Each lesson plan can be printed directly from your web browser in an "as is" form. Alternatively, utilizing the link found at the top of each session, the lesson can be downloaded as a PDF or in an editable text document so that changes can be made to suit a particular teaching style or audience.

It is the aim of the site's creators that this resource be as helpful and easy to use as possible. For this reason, comments regarding the site are certainly welcome. Also, it is hoped that the resource will continue to expand in order to offer an even greater supply of materials for the education and edification of members of the Body of Christ. If you have comments to offer or materials that you would like to contribute to the Orthodox Catechism Project, please contact the Metropolis of Denver at [email protected]