Eastern Orthodox: Do your children attend religious education?

Many Catholic children attend either Catholic school or religious education classes once a week. Do you have a similar way of educating your children in their faith?

How much of what your children learn comes from home?

I teach religious education and am curious how our Orthodox brothers and sisters pass on their faith to their children.

thank you! :slight_smile:

I think this thread might get moved to the Non-Catholic religions section.

I’m not Eastern Orthodox, but Eastern Catholic. Our very small parish has sporadic classes for the children, but for the most part religious education takes place at home and in less formal settings in the parish. Our classes went on summer hiatus and have yet to resume.

I know that many of the larger Eastern Orthodox churches around here have Sunday School for the children.

Here there is 2 or 3 Orthodox schools and they have a religion subject



Also on Sunday during Divine Liturgy,the children go out to a Sunday school class and then come back in time for Communion

I can’t speak for Orthodox churches, but in our Byzantine Catholic church, children stay for the entire Divine Liturgy.

The children going out during the liturgy is just what i saw happening in the Orthodox parishes in my town ,i dont know if every parish was doing it but thats how they did it in some of the Greek parishes i used to attend

Most parishes decide how they will organize their Church School programs. In my current parish the classes cover Kindergarten age through Jr-Sr high students. The classes start around 9:00 to 9:15 and the kids come in for Divine Liturgy at 10:00 plus a few minutes. The Antiochian Archdiocese has a detailed education program available on the website at antiochian.org if you want to review it. God bless.

Same at my parish.

Orthodox children attend Sunday School during the school year and are dismissed at the beginning of the Homily & come back for Holy Communion - about an hour. And outside of Liturgy, children learn about the Faith during JOY & GOYA - maybe 2 hours.

Probably 95-98% of the Faith is taught through their parents’ example at home.

Yes, Orthodox children here have religious education. After Liturgy on Sundays we have catechism class for children, which I conduct. I also conduct catechism to mission areas every Saturday.

Also many Greek parishes here have a Youth group meeting or bible class on a weeknight ,where the youth are encouraged to go and learn about the faith and ask questions.

We have a Sunday school class, a Saturday school that includes culture and language, and a youth group.

Thank you all for your responses.

Do you find that your youth are struggling with the very basics of their faith? For example, “how do we know that Jesus even existed”?

Or is their faith pretty well intact?

In general, no, but that would depend more from person to person and his upbringing in the home. We only build on what their parents taught them; in the case here in the Philippines, most are converts from the Catholic Church, and most are, sadly, poorly catechized by the Catholic Church (as most Catholics in the Philippines are), so we have to instruct them on the basics of the Faith such as prayer, observance of the liturgical year, feasts, etc.

This is a very important point. Almost all of the cradle Orthodox Christians I know who continue going to Church after reaching adulthood come from pious parents who taught them the faith by example. No Sunday school program can fix parents not leading by example.

Let me just clarify that my answer, in which I said, “In general, no…” has to do with the question, Do you find that your youth are struggling with the very basics of their faith? For example, “how do we know that Jesus even existed”? Sorry if I wasn’t clear as to what I’m answering…

Education is much better organized in the Catholic church. For the most of EO, they couldn’t do anything because of the communism. But on the other hand I considered them unprepared for the postcommunism democracy. Dialectics and evolution theory in schools, modernism, language is so different that many orthodox texts are hard to read and the words do not create anymore the same image in the peoples mind. Some people go to church because of the national traditions, which is a seed for great disaster. EO criticise the catholics for their meticulosity and concern for exact definitions and dogmas, but now, for the catholics, is easier. The magisterium would be really helpful because “learnig from the parents example” is obsolete. There were masive population migrations in every country, sometimes only for 30 km, from rural area to a town, but enough to break a tradition; for many, following the parents example looks like going back to a rustic lifestyle.

Ion, would you please identify what country you speak of? Most of us Orthodox in the U.S.A. do not have a problem with post-communist democracy. Are you in Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, or…? We would be interested in the situation in your country. Thanks! bob.c

Milliardo - thanks for your response!

Are there many people in the Philippines converting from Catholicism to Orthodoxy?

Why are the Catholics poorly catechized, in your opinion?

Cavaradossi - So true! It is hard to overcome the negative attitude some of the children bring to class with them which I believe comes from non-believing parent(s).

Is there much intermarriage with non-Orthodox within Orthodoxy?

Intermarriage with non-Catholics is very common where I live and I believe that it greatly waters down the faith in the home.

Well, yes and no. Yes because in America there are very few other Orthodox, so we practically have to date outside The Faith. I think I know of one couple where after marriage he remained Roman Catholic and she remained Orthodox. Other than that the spouse has always converted or eventually asked for a divorce (not just because of The Church, obviously). The “flirt and convert!” strategy is alive and well in Orthodoxy.

The end result is almost everyone in my parish, if married, is married to another Orthodox, and the same for the other parish in town.

Those who aren’t married to an Orthodox are, however, married to a Christian. There is no amount of ekonomia that can extend to allowing an Orthodox Christian to marry a non-Christian. It’s not done. No dispensation or anything. Can’t take place in The Church and if you leave to get married elsewhere you’ve done just that - left.

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