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Title: Prostration

Subject: Nomenclature for Life in the Church

Age: 3 to 10 years

Liturgical time: Non-specific, but suggested for the start of the year as part of the introduction to the atrium and the church.

Prerequisites: Altar II: Jesus is Present in the Tabernacle and the Word presentation.

Doctrinal Content: We honor Jesus' presence in the tabernacle and we express reverence to His greatness by genuflecting. A metania/prostration is also a way of expressing the reality of the fall and the reality of our salvation and redemption through Christ and His cross

Direct Aim: This lesson intends to demonstrate the gesture of genuflection and to encourage the greater understanding of the gesture's meaning as recognition of the presence of Jesus and the story of our fall and salvation and redemption.

Indirect Aims: This lesson also aims, indirectly, to encourage greater participation from the children in the life of the Church, to foster reverence of the presence of Jesus' presence in the Tabernacle, to foster a greater understanding of the body's place in worship, and to foster a greater understanding of the fall and our redemption and salvation through Christ and His cross.

The Religious Potential of the Child; 1992; Chap. 4, spec. 90-94
The Good Shepherd and the Child 68-69
Jo Ann Padgett and notes from the Level I training at St Catherine Greek Orthodox Church, 2007-08

Materials for the Lesson:
No material needed

The Lesson Plan:
Invite the children to watch and listen. Review Jesus' presence in the Eucharist, and explain/ review that His presence is kept in the tabernacle through the placement of the Eucharist into the tabernacle. A lit candle is kept in front of the tabernacle to signify the presence of Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Explain that we want to say "hello" to Jesus and honor Him. Explain in ways, such as, "We want to show with our body how we feel about Him."

Demonstrate the movement of a metania or prostration. There are two ways to do a prostration or metania, a small and a large prostration.

  • The small metania begins with bowing at the waist touching one's right hand to the ground and then standing up and doing one's cross
  • The large metania begins by kneeling then touching one's forehead to the ground and then standing up and doing one's cross

Encourage the children to reflect by asking questions such as, "What are we saying to Jesus?" and making comments such as, "I might be saying ‘I love you.'"

Invite children to work by saying, "whenever you feel like showing what you feel about Jesus, you can do this movement when you see the tabernacle."

Reflect on the body. Humans are made up of body and soul. The body and soul are connected within ourselves, a person is not complete without both. The body can be used to glorify God. When we use the body to glorify God this has a positive effect on our soul. Encourage the children to reflect on the use of the body in worshiping God and how the body can be used to glorify God.

Reflect on the fall and redemption and salvation. By making a prostration/metania we "act out" with our bodies the fall of man from God when we prostrate ourselves. We then "act out" the raising of our fallen humanity by standing up, when we cross ourselves we remind ourselves that this redemption was made possible through Christ and His cross.

Close with a prayer.

Practice the movement of prostrations
Visit the tabernacle
Art response

Notice: This lesson plan utilizes training and the general philosophy/method of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Materials found in this document, however, have been created specifically to incorporate the theology and dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church. The author of this lesson offers special recognition to Mrs. JoAnne Padget, CGS Instructor, who provided instruction and guidance in the CGS method. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program requires intensive study and strongly recommends that teachers using their program enroll in and complete coursework through an authorized CGS instructor. More information about CGS is available at