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 recognized, however, that not all communities 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.
Additionally, it is generally accepted that the first and possibly most important instruction of the Faith occurs in the home, where foundations are established and teachings provided at church are supported. As well, 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 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.
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 Presvytera Rachel Sinos at: [email protected].
Dn. Paul Zaharas, Chancellor
Metropolis of Denver
Fr. Evan Armatas, Priest
St. Spyridon Parish, Loveland, CO
Metropolis of Denver Office of Youth Ministries