Title: Wondrous in Thy Saints
Age: 5 – 18 years
Liturgical Time: Various, Specific to Saint Feast Days
Duration: September through May (one Church School year)
Direct Aims: The goal of this series is to familiarize students from 5 to 18 years of age with the lives of various Saints of the Orthodox Christian Church. The students are to understand the importance of getting to know the Saints so that they may be their role models for living a life in Christ.
Materials: Power Point Presentation, "Wondrous in Thy Saints"
The goal of the lesson series, Wondrous in Thy Saints, is to familiarize students from 5 to 18 years of age with the lives of many Saints of the Orthodox Christian Church. The students are to understand the importance of getting to know the Saints so that they may be their role models for living a life in Christ. One to two relevant Saints for each month will be presented each Sunday. Various eras will be represented, that is, Saints from the earliest centuries to the modern day are discussed, in addition to the various types of saints (martyrs, priests, virgins, soldiers, physicians, young children, married couples, monastic). Studying the lives of twentieth century Saints, those who were youths in their age groups, and those who experienced similar life experiences to their own today will make these holy people more real for the students.
The suggested method of implementation of this curriculum will include placing the students, or the selected audience of this project, into the following teams represented by a different class of Saints:
The Martyrs, ages 5-8
The Apostles, ages 9-12
The Healers, ages 13-18
Signs with representative icons of each class of Saints should be placed in each team's classroom. Each church school teacher will become familiar with the Saint to be covered each week prior to class. Each Church School teacher will customize his or her presentation of the Saint's life based on their students' ages and abilities.
For each lesson, each student should receive an Icon Card. The Icon Card contains the name of the Saint and his or her day of commemoration with a colored Icon on the front cover, printed on sturdy card stock paper. The other side of the Icon Card will have bullet points of the highlights of the Saint's biography and the Troparion hymn for the feast (see the accompanying power point presentation, Wondrous in Thy Saints). It is suggested that these cards be placed in the student's customized binder provided for them. The binder should have an icon card of their own patron Saint and his or her name on the front. The Icon Cards will be placed in a clear sheet protector sleeve each Sunday and kept in the binder at Church. By the end of the year, the student will be able to take this binder and have it as a keepsake and mini-Synaxarion sample for them to read on their own. In addition to this, a dedicated wall of the Church School wing could display an icon of each Saint studied and will be added each Sunday to the wall. The students will see their progress of the number of Saints they have learned by gradually seeing the wall being filled with icons, all surrounding the icon of Christ at the top.
A suggested method of evaluation might include two presentations to the parish on what students have learned, one per semester. The children will choose at least one Saint from the recent months (either fall or spring) to portray in a creative way to the parish. Another method of evaluation would include encouraging the parents of the children to have informal conversation about what they learned each Sunday.
Directing Pastor: Very Reverend Father Robert C. Holet, Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Adapted from the curriculum prepared by Demetra Perlegas, Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Click on the title below to obtain each lesson currently available within the series.